Anyone who has paid any attention to the advertising space knows that there has been a ton of consolidation in the biz: Big clients moving their ad agencies in-house, ad agencies moving video production in-house, big holding companies buying everything, lots of churn and change.
The answer perhaps is best articulated by Bruce Lee, who famously said:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
For the creatives out there, this is all about adaptation. It used to be you could specialize heavily in one area: editing maybe. Or copywriting, or Photoshop. But just as there is consolidation in an industry searching for efficiencies, we must also consolidate our own skill-sets and become well versed in multiple talents. People who are strong writers, artists, content producers, even project managers, will have the world on a string.
This is the new reality.
The people that are going to win are those that are actually doing. Who are talking less and taking action more. The true creators of the next wave won’t be waiting for permission. They won’t be waiting on someone else to fix a pixel or bring it into focus. Instead, they’ll be out taking chances, pushing on the edges, and experimenting with many types of media. Leonardo Da Vinci did this pretty well, and what is old is new again.
So become really good at more than a few things. Be able to speak, to write, to present yourself as someone who owns more than just a small niche of excellence. Paint yourself – and become – something bigger and better. Be someone who can solve hairier problems.
Become like water, my friend. That’s my goal.
The following is a 6:00 video from Ted Leonhardt (check him out) who has a lot of insightful things to say about the changing biz. He’s helped me a lot in my thinking and will for you too.