Nick Cummins: Hurry up and get patient

SXSW_NIckCummins_pic (1).jpgFresh from SXSW, The Royals creative partner Nick Cummins is inspired to be more patient. For the sake of the work.

This was one of the messages that came through to me personally at SXSW this year. As a creative partner in an independent agency, I have a voice inside my head constantly telling me the work isn't happening quickly enough and the agency isn't growing as fast as that voice would like.

My good friend Michael Nieling from Ocupop even has a name for his voice. To clarify, I have only met him twice so I can't really say he is a good friend, but after hearing him speak three times in five years, I somehow feel like he is.

Michael wasn't the only one talking about patience and balance at SXSW last week. Gary Vaynerchuk, who owns an agency along with a wine company and a cult following, is frenetic but also talked about how the problem we have today is the expectation of instant success. We live in a world where it is all about how quickly you can reach a million followers or whether you will be able to sell your company to Google in the next two years.
Film maker Casey Niestat, who actually has over six and a half million YouTube followers, talked about how long it took him to get to where he is today and about being weary of purely focusing on success. He attributes his success to what he calls the Tarzan method - know where you would like to get to and grab any vine that may get you slightly closer to your destination.

Don't get me wrong, all of these people are hustling. They're not sitting around waiting for success - they are driven and action-orientated, but they aren't obsessed with the end result and the time it may take them to get there.

It feels to me like patience has almost become a dirty word. If you are being patient you aren't working hard enough, you don't care enough, you're old fashioned and will get left behind.

And I think this is creating a big problem for agencies and their clients. People aren't thinking before they act or respond. We all feel like we need the answer now, right now and creatively that is dangerous. It leads to ill-formed answers and expected solutions.

Isn't it more exciting when you ask someone, how are we going to fix this? And they say, I'm not sure, let me give it some thought and get back to you, rather than making a solution up on the spot.

If someone has the solution straight away it is likely to be a first thought and predictable; it may even be wrong. Instant solutions, brought about by our collective impatience, put clever well thought out, unexpected, well-crafted work at risk.

So whether you are an agency leader or a client, be patient. Because the work will always be better if you focus and spend the time doing it right.

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hotpies said:

Yep. Good thinking. I'm always mystified how much we're in so much of a hurry in this business. It's not like we're driving ambulances, but for many I've worked with, the deadlines and quick solutions obsession elevate their shoddy work as something more important than that.

Or in another way...

about time said:

like any trend, the tide eventually turns. it's good to see people are rightly recognising that great ideas often take time. agencies have become faster and cheaper for years now. it would be interesting to know if consultancies and brand agencies have also been working this way, or whether it's just agencies that have allowed themselves to work like this.

Ann Ominous said:

Preach! I think it's because everyone has become scared of clients and their own cowardly, greedy, bullying, lazy short-termist ways?

Andrew Pegler said:

Yes patience is truly a virtue Nick. Thanks for the great piece. It actually gave me a moment to contemplate notion of patience. Purpose served.


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