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Friday, 29 February 2008

Stark terror, a spot of chaos and the chance to save several thousand dollars - all during breakfast

Well, I did my breakfast talk a few hours ago in the Westin in Sydney, which used to be the grand central post office.

The trouble with this speaking game is that it’s just terrifying. I was so frightened that I never even tried till I was 40 – and I still find it scary.

The only good news is that the quality of the result varies in inverse proportion to the quantity of terror.

So last night I slept very badly indeed – to be honest I haven’t slept too well since I arrived here, because I had to do a speech soon after arriving, then three more, plus the odd bit of copy to write or review.

But in the end thugs morning went well, except for the usual technical cock-up. I’d gone to the trouble of interviewing Clayton Makepeace, the world’s highest-paid copywriter, on the phone to get the odd pearl of wisdom.

He said some very perceptive things, and I tested the sound both before going to the venue and before I spoke. But when I pressed the button – nothing. Then the technician came up to the platform. Still nothing. Aaaargh!

Happily this sort of embarrassment always amuses the audience, and they feel sorry for the speaker. Eventually I paraphrased Clayton’s wit and wisdom, and finished with a quiz and some advice.

It was all videoed and I think it turned out very well.

You know, the most valuable thing in the world is good people. There are very few, which I suspect is why the best command such amazing sums. The trouble is, they're hard to spot.

I have achieved little in my life, but I have trained or helped some very good people, and one of the great rewards is that I keep meeting them. Quite a few turned up this morning - in fact one flew in from Melbourne.

But there was one there this morning whose ability I have nothing to do with. She is called Gail Brennan, and is one of the best marketers in Australia – or anywhere else for that matter.

She's not glamorous, she's not trendy, she's not young (but MUCH younger than me) but my goodness, she is GOOD.

She’s worked in the US (she’s a New Yorker) in Italy (speaks Italian), Hong Kong, France and here in Oz. She was our client in Amex at Ogilvy – terrorised us and was so good we hired her. So, later did our competitors, Wunderman.

She did a great job on the IBM account in Europe and she was about to work for Ogilvy on the Dell business in Japan – then they suddenly changed their minds and hired a Japanese.

They’ll regret it.

I don’t know many people who’ve worked internationally at a high level for such demanding clients and agencies and really understand databases. Somebody should snap her up – which is what I said to the audience here.

She was astounded, as she never knew it was coming.

If you need a really good experienced marketer who can work anywhere, just contact me and I'll put you in touch (I don't even know her email address, which shows you what a chance encounter this was, but good people really are like gold dust).

Goodness alone knows how much it would cost to find someone that good through a headhunter. Many thousands.

That’s the end of the commercial for an excellent product.

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