I am a mad woman, but not in the way you think I am.

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Some months ago during a telephone interview, the Marketing Director of a high-flying start-up in Toronto stated that [ad] agency people aren’t doers. We plan, we push paper and we hand off execution to everyone else. We just don’t make a difference to anything; we don’t physically impact on the world.

Perhaps apart from showcasing your flaws and flogging you stuff to fix everything….

At a tech meetup earlier this week, primarily pitched at start-ups, upon admitting I worked account-side at an ad agency, the speaker casually dismissed myself and other non-startup/dev folk as “impostors”. The remark was made in jest, but it still hurt.

The fact is that as an agency Account Manager and now Account Director, it means/matters EVEN MORE that I attend events to which I’m not overtly invited. This is why:

1) There is no direct value for me. I nearly always attend out of curiosity

2) Typically “accounts” people work late or go home (often to work). I’ve never worked for any company that encourages me to attend community events and have even been openly challenged on such participation in interviews. This isn’t to say they disapprove (and it does distinguish me from the crowd), but often they regard my investment in this space as a rather alien orientation… 

3) Have always offered marketing advice free of charge for startups just because I think they’re awesome. I also never preach strategy, prefering to listen and softly suggest options to explore, as opposed to a tick-box mantra.

4) I don’t think it matters a damn whether you contribute to the world through your own business or someone else’s. I work hard at connecting people, connecting to people and connecting knowledge to people. It’s not about ownership, it’s about value.

5) The term “entrepreneur’ is dead. Look around! We all have to be entrepreneurial, fight for our place in the world and earn the right to keep it

6) F*ck these stupid lines and boundaries. I’m an Account Director + Designer + Developer + Community Player + Scientist + Engineer + Girl + Geek + angry apparently!

7) We need mixing up. Academia, Start-Up, Agency, SME/SMB, Corporate – leak knowledge, be uncomfortable, talk to someone who has a job you don’t understand. We’re going to live a long time in a chaotic environment, so we need to find a way of thinking young and keeping fit.

 

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