Sunday, December 30, 2012

What Are You, Stupid?

Now they say I boast.
Jale - Olamide

2012, the Year of Stupid.

Talking about me now, not Nigeria. This was the year where rational thinking got put aside and full-on stupidity was boldly embraced.

Allow me to elucidate.
This blog started back in 2007, the exact same year I started working in the meat grinder called Lagos. Just getting into advertising I was, like most n00bs - idealistic.

I had a firm understanding of what was wrong with advertising in Nigeria and I was going to fix it. Hard not to think so. I had the imagination, I had the crazy ideas...neither of which survived the first collision with this little thing I like to call reality.

Over the next five years such stupid thinking got left behind as I focused on marginally more important things like oh, I don't know - earning a salary, meeting deadlines and so on. And to be fair, I did build a sturdy little career in a nice little place and all was well.

Then 2012 came along. I had this niggling feeling since the beginning of the year I couldn't shake. It wasn't so much a feeling of discontent as it was one of mounting boredom.

And from out of the blue, the Stupid ideas came back. Dreams of massive global campaigns. Tim Burtonesque type TV spots. World Domination.
I remembered why I had entered this gig in the first place.

Stupidity is like a fire; it catches. I was talking to one or two people and they had some pretty ri-diculous ideas of their own. Iron sharpeneth iron. Amen, somebody.

As of June, I had been promoted three times in about four years with the usual array of commendations and back-clapping harrumphing from management.

Like they always liked to remind me, I had a bright future in this place.
Being fortunate enough to have all that, I did the only thing that came to me at the time.

I resigned.

There was no back up counter offer, no safety net. There was only this stupid idea. So I followed it.
Few people know I never owned a car in Lagos. Back in youth service I had this jalopy that was held together by sheer willpower. I sold it for roughly the same price as lunch at Yellow Chilli back in 2006 before moving towns. But here in Lagos, two things quickly became clear. One, if your car breaks down in traffic you're finished. And Two, if you wanted peace of mind, you needed to buy a new car... And I couldn't afford that.

Now, to batter my pride, my girlfriend had a car. Naturally, it was an SUV. You don't want to know what going out on dates was like. I give her a lot of kudos cos she MARRIED A MAN WITHOUT A CAR.

I can see typical Lagos girls gasping and snatching off their Brazilian weave in horror. Lol.

I tell you this to so I can tell you I had started planning buying a car just about the point I resigned. So, there was no job, no salary, and an impending car plan.

Like I said, pretty Stupid.

That was in June. The company started in August. I resumed as Head of the creative department on the first of that month.

As I type this, we have clients for every finger on both hands. The company has a hundred per cent success rate - no pitches lost. The stupid idea I had six years ago about redefining advertising has now become the job I drive to every day.

Oh, and the car thing. So I finally bought the car in August right? Was totally loving the trip computers and the push-to-start...and then I got ANOTHER brand new car last week. Official car, you see.

So husband and wife got upgraded.

So, this is how 2012 ends.

There are so many ideas people have that the world calls stupid. Leaving a safe job. Starting a business in a recession. Following the most improbable dream in the world. All ridiculous.

But as my CEO and I were discussing the other day, the best ideas are sometimes the stupid ones.

I think it's important to write these candid posts every once in a while so it all serves as a reminder. Where you're coming from, and where you're headed.

Happy New Year, guys. Go ahead and do something stupid in 2013.

Evolve or Die.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


bumight said...

For old times' sake: FIRSTTTTTT!!!!
Pretty cool 2012. May 2013 be better!

Joiedevivre said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this.

rethots said...


T.Notes said...

Admittedly...still one of the only pages i actually grab a drink and do a proper read thru....
Good stuff...and hey, here's toasting to more STUPIDs in 2013!

ibiluv said...

wide grin

mizchif said...

Happy X3M new year Mr & brave Mrs Freaksho :)

CaramelD said...

Ahh the bliss of a post from you.