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Diary of an Adman

My living is made through advertising. I have worked in the business for almost 20 years and, in that time, have had the opportunity to work on many interesting accounts. A copywriter by trade, I later became a creative director (while always continuing to write lots of copy.) While I've created (and help create) what I consider to be some effective TV and print campaigns, radio will always be my favorite medium. (And where I think I've excelled the most.)

Generally speaking, I cannot imagine a more stimulating, fun, or rewarding industry to be a part of than advertising.

So... until last year, I was a Senior Vice President/Creative Director at a mid-sized Southern California agency (where I'd been working for three years.)

And one day, after much reflection and deliberation... I decided it was time for a change.

Something about it no longer felt right. It might have been changes at the agency, changes in me, or a combination of both. But either way, I was ready for something that felt better.

As luck would have it, at this point in time I had a wonderful opportunity with an outside client. This would allow me to do what I'd always dreamed of doing: to start an advertising business of my own. (I am forever indebted to them.)

So with that, on the brink of turning 40, I did it. I gave notice. I freed myself. And in November, 2001, I started The Surf City Advertising Company. Entering this new life, I decided to document the first year in the form of a book… a diary, to be exact. In it, I’d record what it’s like to
"start over" in a sense; the liberation, the exhilaration, the fear, the focus, the strain, the fun. I’d write my observations, thoughts on advertising, stories, theories, ideas, musings, advice, etc. And of course, a week by week account for 12 months of just what it’s like. What you go through, both good and bad. (Though I’m still waiting for the bad.)

It all starts with the thrill of the first day on your own and continues through the new routines, patterns, relationships... the strange, turbulent politics that can occur as a result of your decision to leave a place... the challenge of creating your own brand... the wonder of putting to work all of the things you've learned...

It's a work in progress (I'll finish writing in November) and the book will be published next spring. It's called "Diary of an Adman" (A play, of course, on the title of the famous book by Lu Xun, "Diary of a Madman"). I’ll be including a few excerpts here soon. If you have any feedback (good or bad), I’d love to hear it.

It’s an indulgent project, I know. If nothing else, I’ll have a record for myself to learn from as the years go on. But maybe, just maybe, this could be a tool for others in the business. A collection of ideas and ideals. More perspectives, newer angles; evidence of what makes this business so unique.

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