As many of us are prone, I welled up with the holiday spirit, thankful for so much and wanting to give as much as I could to my mother, girlfriend, brother, my two sisters and my children, my client managers, my staff, the doormen, valets and porters in my building, the security people and super at my office, tutor, caretaker, housekeeper, dog walker… there seemed no end. I was determined to give and “share.” My company even donated over a hundred pounds of canned food to City Harvest.
For many of us, 2011 has been another year of constricted budgets, of doing more with less. Speaking as an agency owner, I see now that our client managers have been just as challenged as we were in delivering at the standards to which we all aspire — and yet, together we have all collectively managed to achieve some very impressive brand and marketing products! The commitment to rise above has truly been an inspiration to witness, a defining spirit of the times.
When I began IridiumGroup 17 years ago, I aimed for business success; I never imagined that I would also meet so many important friends and professional peers who would add to the richness of my life. Whether it has been professionals employed at our firm, vendors, partners, or client managers, I am truly fortunate to have the experiences that I have had in 2011. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s taken me 50 years to understand that human relationships are all we ever really have. The rest — the material, the money, homes or land, equity in anything at all — just passes through the generations. As they say, you can’t take it with you. More to the point, nothing helps us navigate our exceptionally difficult lives so much as human companionship. As it turns out, “people” are not all that bad.
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I have two children, 19 and about to be 16. They live predominantly in the new media world. Truth be told, they rarely ever leave it. My son doesn’t want to leave his computer for the sake of conversation or human contact. On a whim, I considered that we should all take a trip to Barnes & Noble to discover, to buy — gasp! — a book. What a great way to introduce my son to other forms of interest and entertainment!
The impetus was pure and it looked productive for some time. I steered my son to a section of teen fiction where, 2-3 years ago, he devoured spy/thriller novels. My daughter, driven on a mission, located the entertainment section of literature with little distraction. Neither cold war submarines, nor new age drones could navigate as well as this. In my own pursuit, I dallied about with David Carr’s new book, meandered through the DVD section of films (as I am inclined), having very little attention generally, and having even less time.
We reconvened in 30-40 minutes. What had they selected? What Hemingway epic or classic novel had they picked? What ideas most captured, enraptured and engaged them?
True to form, my son had studiously, carefully considered and selected a book entitled, “How to learn Java in 24 hours.” O.K., not what I had envisioned. My daughter chose the new autobiography by Jay-Z, “Decoded.” Later, she would call the rapper a “great philosopher” and declare that she burned through this book at light speed, even as she has spent 3 weeks trying to read 4 chapters of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
So my daughter wants to decode; my son wants to learn how to code. We are an entertainment society, and there’s really no surprise in their picks. My mother and father never understood the Rolling Stones. For me, the only surprise is the depth and speed at which it all happened. In the words of Kanye and Jay-Z, “dat shit cray.”
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As we consider another year of prospective business, as well as uncertainty in the markets, I’m considering all that I value and ways that I can personally improve in 2012. I want to take a moment to thank you, and to wish you and your family an incredibly successful year. Please stay safe in your travels and celebrations, and know that I am very grateful for the privilege of knowing and working with you.
Have a glorious, inspired holiday weekend and a dedicated, sustainable commitment to your new plans for 2012.