I was talking to a former colleague and friend the other day. We've both been working in the advertising / marketing industry for a long time. While reminiscing about the past and current state of the industry, I realized something. I came through about 10 years too early. What does that mean exactly? It means that the stuff I was proposing to people at the time was just too new for them to understand. Here's the perfect illustration...
I'm not sure of the exact year, but it was a while ago. Facebook was in it's infancy and limited to only a couple colleges in the North East. I was dating a girl who went to NYU so she had an account and showed it to me. My mind was blown. The amount of information people put out there was crazy. I immediately got a meeting on the calendar with the head of strategy at the agency I was working at. McDonald's was our main client and I saw an incredible opportunity here. I put together my notes, borrowed my girlfriend's log in, and went into the meeting. Laid it all out about how we had to get in on the ground floor here and just from a data standpoint alone there was a lot our clients could do with it. But if they were one of the first brands on there it'd be incredible for them. I saw the potential for huge growth.
The "senior management" person I was talking to looked at me. Looked at the screen. Looked back and me and said something along the lines of "I guess it's interesting, but I don't see a future here. I don't see anything we can do with it." I left the meeting feeling a little dejected. I was a super junior level person who just loved technology. Maybe he was right and I was wrong.
Obviously, that wasn't the case. But when I think back, I learned a lesson. Trust your gut. I KNEW Facebook would be huge, but I just filed it away in my notebook as an inspired thought not acted upon. Now a days, I'd say screw that guy and find someone who could have done something cool with it. That's one of the reasons why I left the agency life and started AV Collective. I can control my own future, and act on great ideas.