© Kian Bakhtiari 2018

9 Lessons from nine months in Advertising

August 27, 2017

As I was walking home from work, it suddenly dawned on me that i have now spent 9 months in Adland. That’s just as long as it takes to bring a baby to life!!!

 

Here are my 9 learnings from the rollercoaster ride so far:

 

1.Resilience is Key: Being smart and able is pointless if you are unable to endure the hard times. In advertising you need the skin of a rhino, the work ethic of a squirrel and the patience of a tortoise. Many of the people that have shaped the world as we know it; have one thing in common. They persisted when everyone else gave up. Michael Jordan missed over 9000 shots at goal, whilst Thomas Edison did not accept failure on his 9,999th attempt at the light bulb.

 

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” - Confucius

 

2. Use Failure as a Datapoint: There is no point of complaining about things not going our way. We should instead analyse our failures like we do with all other sets of data. If you knock on enough doors, one will eventually open, so long as we stop knocking on the same doors and expecting a reply. Through the process of deductive reasoning we can often arrive at a logical conclusion. If you don’t believe me just ask Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

“I never lose. I either win or learn.” -Nelson Mandela

 

3.Done is better than perfect: When I first started at fortysix, I was obsessed with doing things “perfectly”. My attention to detail was accompanied by my obsession for complete information. I often took too long thinking, planning and theorising projects rather than getting stuck in. There is no point of internalising perfect. My advice to anyone would be to get started, receive continuous feedback and iterate.

 

 

4.Ask dumb questions: Before starting my new job, i made a promise to myself. Kian: Never be afraid of asking questions. I had just entered a completely new industry and had much to learn (I still do). However, my lack of industry knowledge has actually worked to my advantage in many cases. It has meant that I often view the “obvious” as not so obvious.

 

 

 

5.Be yourself: Very early on, I was told to just be myself. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Am I not always myself? However, staying true to myself has become more pertinent with everyday that passes in advertising. It can be very easy to conform to what you think others expect of you.

 

Dr Seuss can explain this much better than i can!

 

 

 

6.People Power: Every organisation, irrespective of its size, consists of individuals. One of the most important skills in life is the ability to communicate and understand human behaviour. Because if you strip away the systems, structures, processes and technology all you have left is people. If you understand people, you understand advertising.

 

 

 

7.Creativity needs structure: When I first started I thought that creativity is coming up with whacky ideas without any structure or process . However, advertising is applied creativity, this means that our approach to creativity needs to be more scientific. Without the guiding direction of set process and an exciting brief. We will continue to exacerbate the same old avenues. Without constraints everything is possible which is the same as saying nothing is possible.

 

 

8.There is a world outside: Creativity is a process that involves the discovery of new ideas. It is fuelled by a conscious or unconscious insight. I would encourage everyone to try new things and break old routines. If you want to be inspired leave the office, visit a gallery, walk through the park and take a different route to and from work. Creativity occurs when we are exposed to new experiences.

 

 

 

9.Curiosity is King: There is nothing more important than being curious. Curiosity fuels development. As long as we are curious we will continue to explore and discover new things. Curiosity is the mother of innovation. The reason children learn so much in a short period of time is because they keep asking “Why?”.

 

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

 

 

Finally, reflection is the most important part of the learning process. I would encourage everyone to have a look back at their individual journeys so far and note down their learnings.

 

 

 

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