How I Ended up Here… a more creative biography
I often… no not often, sometimes, yes that’s it… sometimes wondered what it would be like to live without a soul. It’s such a pesky thing really, dragging you into good samaritan acts with no warning. Giving you a sense of purpose; causing you to think, debate the merits of this act or that. Just a theoretical exercise really; I mean, could you actually rid yourself of your soul?
I could work for the DMV, or run for the Senate, maybe even start a Cult, probably the least abhorrent option, but unfortunately being the Guru of a Cult comes with Cult Followers. And seriously, people with no self-esteem just give me the creeps.
I know what you’re thinking. I thought about that as well. But the further I contemplated becoming a lawyer I thought to myself that half of the time, the lawyers are actually on the right side fighting for justice. A little too much soul there I think. And then, wondering if I would have to go through life burdened with the weight of sentience I found it… Advertising.
For 10 years I worked in advertising as a copywriter, account director and digital strategist. At one point, while working on a website for Miller, a print ad for Playboy, and a pitch for Winston, I realized… I was there. No soul. Surprisingly you don’t miss it as much as you think. The emptiness of apathy had been replaced with the pleasure of sin. I had not only satisfied my curiosity, I had accomplished it with aplomb.
However, I was now empty. Realizing that this was not positively contributing to society, nor was it actually providing me with an opportunity for happiness, I wondered if I had made a mistake. I no longer knew who I was. I had lost touch with other people; I could not feel them. And so, realizing the utter irrationality of my actions I started the arduous process of soul reclamation. I mean, sin is great and all, but it comes with a lot of headaches, and names I can’t remember. Seriously, what good is all the sex if you cannot remember it?
Unfortunately, once you’ve rid yourself of that pesky soul, it’s rather hard to get it back. You have to take small steps. My next job was a very small step; a side step really.
For the next three years I managed the external marketing of American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise Financial.) Yes, I know, this was not the best karmic exercise. The plodding pace of a large scale financial corporation is roughly akin to sticking needles in yours eyes slowly, repeatedly, and without pause.
I was now without a soul, blind, and in pain. This, for lack of a better word… sucked.
I found myself longing for a more dynamic environment. One in which the karmic penalty was not so high. Having lived through one too many midwest winters, and not being able to feels parts of my body for months on end, I moved to California and joined a Search startup in the Bay Area. Not only was I going to be rich, but I was going to do it without having to peddle alcohol, cigarettes, porn, or financial advice. Alas, after working many 100 hour weeks, several relationships failing, and being so sleep deprived that I did not realize that someone named Katrina had wiped an entire U.S. city off the map, the startup imploded.
Truly this Soul reclamation project was going to be a much more difficult task than I imagined.
Let us try again. I joined Ask.com, Search is about as harmless as I could get… right? I’m just helping people get access to information… well that and oodles of porn. But I was not actually peddling porn, just access to it. Yes yes, a fine karmic line but soul reclamation is a long-tail strategy. Alas, after 3 years running marketing and helping grow Ask.com 30% a year, the infinite wisdom of Barry Diller replaced our CEO. The new CEO lasted 7 months and implemented the decisions that almost drove the company into the ground. I decided I had had enough.
It was at this exact moment that I recovered my soul.
I founded an Internet advertising and marketing consultancy, sxc marketing, where I advise clients, agencies, and vendors in thought-leadership on digital strategies for brand expansion, partnership identification, social-media influence, and most importantly social responsibility.
In addition, I write on a broad range of topics for various publications, from neural aspects of branding, and the agency/client dynamic, to the societal impact of virtual group-think behaviors and the internet’s effect on society. I know, sounds kinda bullshitty, and to be honest, sometimes it is. Karmic redemption is not a straight path you know.
When not hermetically sealed in the digital world I can be found making words, traveling to places with government warnings for tourists, or working on motorcycles. I currently live in San Francisco where I have access to sunshine, parks, and fresh air. Life, is good.