- A successful local concrete contractor, frustrated with the lack of “original thinking” in established political parties, and seeking to show his children how democracy operates, decides to run as an independent candidate in the current Canadian election. Then, he falls straight into the cliches and complaints of independent candidates who argue they cannot get a hearing or attention for their ideas — and the one photo he can provide me is a black and white “head shot” which shows nothing of his political or business creativity.
- I volunteer on a Google help forum, specializing in working with small vendors who are turfed by Google for allegedly failing to follow the rules. I’m the only person who has managed to receive the dreaded “account disabled email” to re-emerge with a viable vendor account, an “account manager” and a modest Christmas gift from Google for my contributions. I earn about $130 a month for my efforts. Am I wasting my time? Well, I’m certainly doing better than the disabled publishers who threaten law suits, scream and yell that they have been unjustly treated, and wonder why Google can’t provide them with proper customer service (a rather strange reversal of logic, because in this context, Google is paying for services, not selling stuff.)
In some respects, these two situations describe completely different things, but they outline some of the wonderful complexities of business, marketing and life. In both examples, we live in a space where we are traveling different paths yet we run into some common ground; the conflicts between cliche, convention and creativity. The concrete contractor is creative, undoubtedly, in running for election, but he quickly falls trap in the cliches of “expected behaviour” of independent candidates. In my other world with Google, I work for virtually free — not entirely rationally — trying to help non-business people understand the conventions of business (like the difference between supplier and client relationships) because, ironically, I know if they discover these conventions, they can (like me) obtain “second chances” with Google’s program.
I suppose I would make a great campaign manager for the independent concrete contractor. I would urge him to reframe his objectives and focus on key messages which would teach his kids their civic lessons while helping him sell some concrete services. As for Google, maybe some day I’ll earn more than $135 a month from online advertising; in the meantime, I’ll stretch my understanding and hopefully apply the lessons I teach to my own enterprise. Now, I must move from this blog to rewriting a freelancer’s work. She doesn’t follow writing conventions, but certainly knows how to use the cliches. Hopefully I’ll help find the creativity under the surface (and the client will accept the results).