Live…From The Intersection Of Determination And Despair…

– by Albert Berkshire

I could write an article for just about every conversation I have each day. I could. Not everything would be relevant – to you or me – but I could. And since I have a lot of, sadly, irrelevant conversations in the course of my business day, I like to stick to writing about the conversations that inspire, or on the other end of the pendulum’s swing – infuriate.

Today, my morning being relatively devoid of colloquial spam, I’m happy to write about business, and the ideas spawned from a conversation this morning.

Damn. This already smells of self-help for the budding CEO. It is what it is. Oh wait, I hate the grossly redundant expression. Mostly because I have something valuable to add (I suppose, otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this article, blog, post, update, material, or whatever you prefer to call this electronic invasion into your psyche), and that expression is akin to throwing in the conversational towel and calling it a grade-eight day. I feel like I should, instead, for ratings, hits, or notoriety, talk about Katie and Tom. Scratch that. I’m better educated and far more interesting, and just a little more confident – in case you didn’t notice that personality trait.

Back on the dusty, exhaust-riddled, cobblestone corner of Determination and Despair, an intersection, which I am inclined to think is visited by many of us in the course of life and career, I find myself watching from a nearby coffee shop. A euphemism, if you will, for my voyeur state of professional and career mind. I see from my outlook point, seated on a wrought iron chair that is destined to leave a grid-like pattern on the back of my legs, the faces of people who are overcome with the world. Most of us, at some or several points in our collective careers (we will all have many in our lifetime), come up against challenges that we feel are insurmountable.

Roadblocks, if you will.

Without getting into any heavy research here, which means you’re about to be subjected to my opinion and insight – a wildly fun and exhilarating, career-baggage-riddled roller coaster ride in itself – and not withstanding the matter that I don’t want to ever solicit valuable research data from that Neurophychologist I dated briefly back in 1998, I’m going to offer some conjecture regarding why we do the silly career things we do.

Or maybe you. I’m perfect.

Okay, maybe not perfect. But for the next few hundred words, let’s pretend that I have a handle on the topic. It remains necessary that you humour me because I could never survive a research conversation with the obsessive compulsive brian-poker from my past life.

Byegones. (I prefer this to “it is what it is”, as you may have guessed. It’s a Fishism. If you get that, you get me. Mentally, not physically. My character is already spoken-for.)

We are pros. What we do for a living is what we do almost every day. And thanks to email, zee interwebs, and your fikkin‘ Blackberry-like device, (while I use an iPhone, I do prefer a real keyboard. I like how it clicks. It had substance. I’m a tactile kind of guy.), we do what we do far earlier in the day until far later in the day. It’s the way of the world. It is what…nawww, that’s too easy. So I often question what we we, or maybe you, question those things in which we (you?) are most confident. What makes us go from presenting an idea, a plan, a pitch with confidence to constantly rehashing the presentation, conversation, adulation (hey, it rhymes like an REM song) in an almost obsessive manner? Do I hear ‘ledge walking’ coming from your brain? Do we replay our ideas in an effort to convince ourself that we said the right things, made the right moves, presented the right material – used right instead of correct, correctly – so that we eventually give ourself a ‘job well done‘ pat on the back?

Or are we, as a species, a sucker for self-inflicted punishment and denial.

Oh my GHAD. Are we all Catholic?

<Albert, now in third person, returns after a short interlude. He had to get a drink after that moment.>

We are successful. Unless you run your business out of the local library (if you do, and I’m not one to judge – we all need inspiration – thank you for paying your dues and supporting one of the last government run agencies supporting and promoting literacy in the Western World), you have a computer, possibly a phone and internet connection and that, for the purpose of today’s demonstration, will serve a representation of some modicum of success. Thusly, your past experiences have brought you to this point in time when you are actually researching career ideas, insight, and opinion. So why are we worrying about what is to come? Are you financially overextended? I think there’s a special Chapter for that matter, and if it has come to that, you should be working on documents and an exit strategy, and not reading the foolishness I write, and if it hasn’t come to that, then you are still in business. Okay, it’s not all foolishness that I write. So stop worrying about things you can’t change. Focus on the goals you have set and be the successful professional you really know your clients, employers, and colleagues  know you to be.

My retired housing industry consultant friend, Bryan, always talks about perceived image. How it looks matters in business. (reread that if you must. It took a few passes for it to make sense to me) If you look busy, act busy, and perform like you are busy (but never too busy for those who matter – like paying customers or your employer) you’ll be busy and successful. It’s why my clients hire my company www.greatcreative.com (plug) to update their blogs – they’re too busy being busy. So I do it. And because I write for a living, so I have a small handle on things in that literary category. Anyway, I do it because that’s what the consultant told me works. And when the consultant speaks, or writes, or pontificates, it is always worth hearing. Even if his mouth was full of pancakes. (He’s retired. He likes IHOP.)

And like the advice of countless others, I’ll offer you my little titbit (yes, it is a “titbit”, not a “tid-bit”. There’s no such thing as a tid, or any bit of it):

When you find yourself standing at the intersection of Determination and Despair, look over to your left and I’ll be sitting at the corner cafe (well, I may not be, but someone will) sipping on a coffee, a book on the table (hopefully one of mine) and I’ll (or that someone) be giving you a knowing nod. And then you’ll wonder what in life could be worse than taking advice from that guy?

And then you’ll know that like any intersection in your travels, commute, or life, you eventually pick a direction and move on.

Moving on, I like to think, is a great thing to do when you are focused on the negative things in life.

Around some corner from Determination and Despair, is Success and Achievement.

Yup. This smells like self-help.

Hope it helps. Or in the very least, amuses.

Like the lead character in his forthcoming freshman novel of fiction, We Made A Pact, Albert, too, likes a comfortable seat with a view at a coffee shop.

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He writes for a living, and sometimes, to get the cobwebs out of his creative head. Currently, he lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. Giving clients and friends advice, or something to consider, has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. To read about his professional side, visit www.greatcreative.com. And for a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire. 

Be Not A-Mused. I’m Not Either.

– by Albert Berkshire

I get hung up on things. It’s a curse. Or perhaps just a quirk. It can be overwhelming in person, and exhausting in the written sense, but when I get high-centered on a subject, I have trouble letting it go until I either rant, vent, or fall asleep.

We creatives are a tiring lot.

Recently, a person who, knowingly or not, often helps fuel my creativity directed my attention to an article in the Harvard Business Review. Despite being in the advertising and marketing business – and knowing full well that I should be in touch with all and anything written about business – I tend to shy away from some publications do to an apprehension of drowning my creativity with fact and fear…

…or stupidity and disrespect.

In general, I have a few simple rules. I’ve written in the past that I don’t discuss religion or politics. This Albert Rule is more about respecting the lifestyle and ideologies of others than it is keeping my blood pressure in check (117 over 69, usually. I’m pretty relaxed and not easily excited – unless there’s Vodka). My rules work for me. They keep me safe and serve to not offend most people. I like it that way. See? Simple man. Simple rules.

The article that forces me to break my rules and will now send me into a spin can be found at the Harvard Business Review website. I am not responsible for anything on that external site, nor will I offer a link for the foolishness I read, but I will tell you it was titled “To Inspire Innovation, Get a Muse”. It was written by Michael Schrage.

Sidebar: The word “rage” appears in his last name. How appropriate, ‘cause I’m about to rage against his machine.

The article, in short, suggests that a company should budget to hire a Muse. He wrote, “After all, executives hire coaches, why shouldn’t creative innovators budget time and resources for a muse or two?”

A “muse or two”?

The fact that he wrote this should have made him stop dead in his tracks and say, “Do I really want to go down this road?” Or better yet, “Where did I leave my brain last night?”

I’m sure that Albert Berkshire spiking the sphygmomanometer to about 190 over 85 matters little to him. Or maybe you. But there is something fundamentally wrong with that suggestion. And if you’ll humour me, I’ll explain why this is a bad thing to suggest to desperate-for-a-profit companies and individuals.

First, it is the religious factor. A muse is a sanctity. In Greek Mythology, a Muse was regarded as the inspirer of learning and the arts, especially of poetry and music. Such an influence was considered a goddess or adored woman. A muse is so very special and rare to a Creative (innovator or otherwise) that is cannot simply be categorized as a line item on an expense report. To do so is to invite the ire of many, the understanding of few, and to have your board of directors ask you, “Is that what you call your hooker these days?”

It’s wrong. It is disrespectful. It is an abomination of the value and importance, actual and historical, of the Muse.

Secondly, a Muse is not a profit centre. This premise (in the article) is a feeble attempt to take a valued and admired individual – the Muse – and turn he or she into a profit centre. It is a silly juxtaposition for the purpose of creating a catchy name for an age old thing – a mentor. Neither, in my mind, are remotely close in description or purpose.

A mentor leads and teaches in a formulated way based on rationale and experience. And any company or business professional would be well advised to seek out the advice, guidance, influence, and expertise of a mentor, business coach, or consultant. These individuals are the Sean Luces and the Jeffery Gitomers of the world. They are the mentors and advisors who analyze, dissect, and focus your company with a plan specific to your goals and needs. They, in effect, lead you in a specific direction.

A Muse inspires in ways that cannot be rightly explained – nor should they have to be explained. They just “do”. And they just “are”. A Muse is in the mind and heart of the Creative. There is no logical road map. There is no schedule or format for their contribution – it is always there.

Unlike a mentor, or a consultant, whom you choose; a Muse chooses you. No one looks at a person and says, “I like this one. This one will be my muse.”  That’s just not how it happens.  A connection, an understanding, a spark ignites the Creative-Muse relationship.  And this isn’t something that is sexual or romantic. I suppose it could be, and certainly has been portrayed that was in mythical, fictional, or historical accounts of creative greats like Monet, Mozart, Shakespeare, Alobar, or countless others who have been romanticized by Hollywood and or literature, but there simply aren’t any parameters for this type of connection.

A muse is a very sacred individual. And I say individual in an effort to exhort my belief that it is a person who is a Muse. My cat does things that makes me laugh, perhaps because I anthropomorphize all animals for the humour of it, but the old girl doesn’t inspire me to write. She simply sits here looking cute…or asleep. A landscape might evoke a specific emotion or sentimentality for me, but it does not fuel my creativity. A person, with whom I have an unexplainable connection – who understands me in a way that no other could possibly understand my mind, or my heart, or both – inspires me. That person is a Muse in its most pure fashion and definition. And male or female or somewhere in between is neither relevant nor open to disclosure, because a Muse is a private part of the Creative.

In fact, now that I think more about it, I would suggest a Muse may not even know this is who they have become to the Creative. Perhaps explaining to a Muse his or her role and value might put undue pressure on the individual, causing the person to act out of character, or feel the need to do something special or specific in an effort to assist the Creative. That, in itself, would defeat the purpose…and circumvent the connection that joined the two in the first place. It may even irreparably damage the bond. For while a Muse may unknowingly imprint oneself onto the Creative, the Creative would be best served not to cloud the mind of the Muse for fear of forcing a change in the naturally occurring inspirational behavior. (There’s an annoying acronym in there somewhere.)

In other words, you were given a gift. Shhhhhh…shut up and tell no one.

The author in the article that drove my blood pressure through the roof, and oddly left me speechless on the topic for more than a week (no easy feat), is effectively suggesting that I can walk down the hall, grab a person who fits in my budget, and bring he or she or shim home so that my buddies to can look the individual over in hopes of finding some inspiration.

That’s a HOOKER.  I’ll pass.

You can’t hire someone to inspire you any more than you can hire someone to love you.  It either happens or it does not. There is no middle ground. The Creative-Muse connection is as rare as a soulmate, as precious as a non-conflict diamond, and should a Creative be so fortunate as to be found by their Muse, the Creative (innovator or otherwise) is among the fortunate few to enjoy by default the one thing that separates the great from the forgotten.

Get a Muse? Get a clue!

When it becomes a job about profit, it is no longer about a passion for creativity.  To me, the article represented the author’s terrible misunderstanding of the value of a Muse to a Creative.  He should stick to 1s and 0s. The tangibles for which a company can actually pay, and see some measurable return on investment.

The influence of a Muse, is priceless, immeasurable…and precious.

And I know this for a fact…because I have listened to Mozart’s Divertimento in D countless times.

The Muse shows up at the most important twists in the road of life. A welcome influence, always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. In his lifetime, he’s explained to only two people when and how he does his best writing – a fellow writer; and a person who should not feel undue pressure to act out of character. He also believes the word Muse is rightly deserving of a capital “M”. Finding the right words to express the right message has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.  

 

Smoked Gouda & Curry

This is not the cooking channel.

I’m not a fan of predictability.  I don’t know many who are fans.  In fact, predictable equals boring in my world.  I can’t watch a murder mystery with my mother because she has it solved before the murder is committed.  That’s not the experience I want.  I want to be pleasantly surprised.  Even taken aback.  I appreciate that which is somewhat out of character.  I like things to be unexpected.  Those are the best outcomes.  And I am certain this Notion Locomotive runs contrary to the standard business world.

If you like to know how a movie will end, before you watch it, you may not be comfortable with the cubicle in which my brain is presently parked.

In the advertising world, the one from which you are bombarded with 5000-plus messages a day (I’d apologize, but it’s a living), we play around with a little thing called Broca. It’s the area of the human brain that anticipates and ignores the predictable.

Sidebar Quickie: I know someone who would argue, possibly quite successfully, that men have a more developed Broca area than women because we are able to tune out predictable messages like, “You left the toilet seat up again!” – and so forth. 

Byegones.

In the process of delivering advertising messages – be that audible, visual, or neither – the latter being a long stare into the eyes completed with a “blink blink” (ask me something truly ridiculous and that will be my response) – we strive to create a message that will hold your attention beyond your natural urge to change the channel, continue with your conversation, or pay attention to the road.  Fell free to offer the “blink blink” for the latter. While it may be absurd to read, I have, in the past, worked with clients who couldn’t care less if you crash, as long as their message compels you to buy their product after you finish your post-accident interview and sign off on the police report. (Do we sign off on police reports, or is that just fiction on the instruction box in the living room?)

Broca comes into play when we creatives secure a client who is capable of thinking outside the box, and allows us to use word combinations and/or phrases that defy predictability.

Without going into the whole Wikiscience of it all (yawn), I consider it a valid and necessary point to make that the whole purpose of advertising is to influence the grey matter in the prefrontal cortex (oddly named considering it is at the back of the brain). That’s where you find all the buttons and control knobs for emotion, planning and judgment (and likely poor judgment, lack of judgment and the increasingly popular complete lack of judgment).  To get there visually, you have to pass through Broca’s territory. Even more frustrating is that the ear is parked next to the Broca region…so there are essentially no shortcuts around Mr. Broca to the “I gotta own that now” planning centre.

So you have to do a little dance, ante up some foreplay, or at least buy Mr. Broca a drink or six.  And it works when you do it right.  When I look back at my favourite campaigns (my campaigns) it was the application of the Broca Method (for want of a better descriptor) that made it so memorable.  I once sang (quite terribly, I might add) about “Sheepskin Boutique” – that campaign ran every Christmas for seven years.  I’ve done commercials for liquor stores that convinced me to go buy wine. (Okay, that’s not a stretch.)  And still to this day, my favourite of all time was a commercial that talked little about product, and mostly about love.  Actually, two of those campaigns were narrated by the Canadian actor Michael Richard Dobson which confirms that a great message requires a brilliant delivery…and Michael, being a master of timing (and a great voice & character actor) created a turnpike bypass that cut through the centre of Broca-ville.

These creative moments of delivery come from the most unexpected places.  And maybe that’s the beauty of Broca.  My favourite recent example is the famous Washington State Lottery commercial called “Every Bird Should Fly” – created by Publicis Seattle.  And even though I’ve seen it 20 or 30 times, and can now predict the ending, it never gets old, because it is art.  It entertains.  It says something other than, “Buy a ticket. Never work again.”  It says something my brain doesn’t want to turn off, and it offers something for which we all yearn – hope.

Much like my commercial campaign selling “love”.

I never saw the message coming.  The truest form of Broca I’ve seen in years.   And then on Sunday I was riding up the chairlift at Big White Ski Resort.  On the six-pack were a mom, four kids and me (not my kids – mine have fur, sleep a lot, and don’t like snow).  These kids were all talking about skiing, and snow, and video games, and playing – as, I assume, all eight or nine year olds do – and then one girl looked up into the sky and said to no one in particular:

“I always thought the mountains were ice cream cones. And the snow on them was vanilla ice cream. And I thought I would have a different birthday every year…and that the moon was staring back at me.”

Art Linkletter, RIP.

The little girl sold me on rediscovering the innocence of my long past childhood without ever mentioning childhood.  In exactly the same way, Jeff Siegel of Publicis Seattle sold me on winning the lottery without ever suggesting I buy a ticket.  They bypassed the Hominid Objection Centre, passed go, and collected two hundred dollars…or at least peaked my interest enough that I felt compelled to learn more.

They did what every advertiser should do.  Make me, the consumer, think about how their product fits into my life, and convince me I can’t live without it.

I want that shiny thing of great value in my life.

On the other hand, sometimes the most straightforward message using simple words is all you need.

“Our shit is cheap. Come and get it.”

There, you’ve just trained your client to wait for you to discount your stuff, completely removing any value from its existence and thusly dooming your business to the perpetual cycle of “Sale”, followed by another “Sale”…and then another “Sale”.

Blink Blink.

The smoked gouda was melted over curry-sprinkled free-range, vegetarian-fed eggs. Cracked black pepper danced across the heaving yolks. On lightly toasted flax flour bread sat perfectly ripe and thinly-sliced avocado. The strangers, who all lived in different neighbourhoods in Kitchenland, came together as a community in concert to create a brilliant breakfast sandwich.  The flavour combinations were completely … unexpected.

If only my taste buds were clients.

If only my childhood never ended.

If only Michael Richard Dobson narrated recipes.

Waterfront Wines – A Meal

Waterfront Wines – A Bottle

Jason Goldsmiths – Reliability

Jason Goldsmiths – Quality

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with his clients around North America from Canada’s West Coast. And while he rarely shares his work, because unoriginal people steal, he does like to dig through the memory vault from time to time. It reminds him that the things from then, are still important now. It also helps keep him motivated, further helping to continue the success of his company, GreatCreative.Com. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

Nothing Of Consequence

Tim slid the chips towards us. It was the last of the aquamarine chips at the roulette table.  He never cracked a smile, but my friend was grinning ear to ear.  Back to back hits on 21.  Jase had just cleaned them out.  And as the chips slid past me, I thought about Tim and his job.  After all, I was on vacation having fun, and he was at work at Casino Royale.   Little did Tim know standing there, back on to the smoke filled pit, he was doing more than running the table.   He was making people smile, even if he chose, or was decreed, not to show any emotion.   What he was doing was entertaining.  And to us, it mattered.

When I strolled up the street that afternoon, Vegas was alive in all its Vegas Glory.  Excess in pursuit of compromise…or perhaps the opposite.  Maybe those barking “Smash Toys”, “Half-price show tickets”, and the más viejas madres Mexicanas flicking cards with semi-naked girls with an offer of “girls direct to you” are living anything but the dream.   Who stops to ask the street vendor his or her story?  We only speculate on their life, should anyone other than me with my inane curiosity and a few bible-thumping save everyone types care to think about them.   Happy.  Sad.  Content.  Fulfilled.  Real.  Tragically trapped and faking it for the eyes of the world.  Who are they really?  Does it matter?  Still, like Tim, they are providing a service, be what it is, a service some value and others dismiss as being nothing of consequence.

As it often happens, post cocktails and a few days departed from the office, I contemplated the value of my work.  And even returning home to face the accumulation of new projects that pile up in my absence.  Do I do anything of value?  Does anyone notice the approach I use in my day job?  Does my focus on correct grammar, reality based advertising from the consumer’s perspective, and a sincere sense of obligation to be honest to my clients, really matter?  That latter being a self-destructive practice founded in my refusal to sit here and tell a client what I think they want to hear.

I’m big on brutal honestly.  Sure it hurts sometimes, but only because we, as a species in general, have evolved to the point of self-importance and thusly, we greatly dislike being in the wrong. (get married if you really want to know how many times in a week you are wrong. And that’s not a mean thing to say. It’s fact. Some relationships are best managed on Brutal Honesty terms.)  Brutal honesty – as an art – certainly makes people stop and think.  And in a world where everything is automatic – “Smash toys! Smash toys!” (seriously, this requires no thought whatsoever) – stopping to think is a good thing.  And in all honestly – my aforementioned goal – I want to work for (with) people who think about their marketing…and their place in the world.

And I want to do something of consequence. Every. Single. Day.

So where does that take Albert as a writer – or marketing consultant – in the drab and dreary 7a-2p? (Please note that I could never work 9 to 5. It just sounds too structured for me. I’d be a terrible employee.)  Applying what I love – writing – to my client’s need for growth and profit is more than just pounding out generic eighth-grade-comprehension-level crap.  Those in the eighth grade world will buy anything shiny if they can get the credit (and really, who can’t get credit these days?), but those who have found more to life than social media and reality TV are far more difficult to reach. It takes thought, creativity, and brutal honesty.   Three things I count as vital to creating something of consequence.   Three things I know I can offer my clients…or clients-to-be.

So the questions remain.  Do I accept that I just get paid to make up shit?  Do I numb-out like Tim and the Smash Toy girl?  Or do I challenge my clients to challenge me?  I prefer the latter.  It’s time we all started to “think”.  It’s the kind of change the advertising world needs.

And change is good.  I’m all for it. I’m starting 2012 by taking a trip to broaden my horizons (not that trip taking is lacking in my world), and painting my studio an energizing green.  I like green.  It’s refreshing.  It’s no grin-inducing aquamarine a la Casino Royale, but it can tell a wonderful story if you stare at it long enough.

In an effort to keep everyone focused on the end goal, Albert takes one for the team. His best acting role in 2011.

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with his clients around North America from Canada’s West Coast. He writes about both personal and business experiences, and is focused on taking his clients to the next level – whatever that “next level” happens to be for each client. In the process, Albert strives to create something that matters. And will almost always “take one for the team”. All of this has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

Business Is Always Business. Personal Is Always Personal. Please Make A Mental Note.

This might get harsh.

I’ve come to accept there are three things I will never discuss, debate or pontificate upon in public, and in business.

Religion. Politics. Abortion.

Religion. It’s one of those “no proof no winner” topics. Those who love religion and feel it is the source of all the good in the world will never be swayed from their beliefs, religion being rooted in beliefs. And those who don’t love religion and see it as a source for all the troubles in the world, will never be swayed from their beliefs, their value system being rooted in beliefs. It is, essentially, a Mexican stand off. So, in terms of the business world, we should all just take a nap.

Politics. Red or Blue. That’s the Western way. (Okay, in Canada we had an Orange Wave that eclisped the Red, but that was unexpected. RIP, Jack) One wins the argument for four to eight years in America, a term or two in a Parliamentary Democracy, and till someone lops your head off in a dictatorship…then someone else takes over and spends their time blaming their predecessor for all the woes in the world. In the end, we digress, digress a little more, and then forget why we’ve digressed, so we go back to blaming someone else. The topic is a general lose-lose in business, so we should all just take a nap.

Abortion. This is an easy one. I pee standing up, by design, and while I applaud those members of the feminine gender who have acquired the skill of bellying up to the aluminum concert trough to relieve oneself (the female self), it doesn’t change the fact that this is not a topic for the genetically engineered up-right relievers. It is a topic that neither I, nor anyone with a grain of sense, would bring up in business. Standers or squatters. No need for a nap. My eyes are WIDE open on this. Noooo talkies.

In an effort to take this in a direction devoid of hate mail, let me weed out the topics that are not up for “Albert Opinion” today. Religion and the other one no one wants to debate.

So I guess that leaves us with Politics. Or me, at least.

In a recent municipal election campaign, I was added to a mailing list of “supporters” for a local mayoral candidate.

I should stop here for a moment: If you added me, it was okay with me. If you didn’t, it wasn’t you. And if you couldn’t help but Google me after our email exchange on the weekend, yes, I’m writing about you. And reminding you of one house you’ll never list. Oh, the power of the internet. Old angry guys from the Old Boys Club never really see these coming.

So I was getting these friendly update emails from the election team for the previously mentioned, but not named, mayoral candidate, and I’m sure in a moment of need to correct an error in shared information, the “sender” sent out an update without suppressing the list. An innocent mistake, but none the less, everyone on the recipient or “supporters” list was exposed. Big deal, right? We’re all like-minded folks. Apparently not. There was a reply from one guy. A very stupid guy.

He went on a tirade asking why he was receiving the emails, and explaining why he wouldn’t support this candidate. Hey then proceeded to explain all the reasons not to support the candidate and why he was supporting another candidate.

This was all written to an entire list of supporters.

Following? Amused at the stupidity?

The person hit “reply to all”. He’s a businessman. And he just went on a rant to the candidate’s supporters as to why he didn’t support the candidate.

Here’s the simple math:

“Reply to All” + “Unlike-Minded Recipients” x “Politics” = REALLY Bad Business Decision.

Imagine telling a hundred, or several hundred, people that they are wrong; that they are making a mistake. Okay, that’s a political opinion. That’ll get a few people riled up. Now imagine telling the next 100 or 200 people who call your business – or walk in the door – that they are wrong about their opinions. They haven’t asked you for your opinion, mind you, you have just decided to launch an “Opinion Assault” on them for no reason other than to satisfy your uneducated ego.

Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it. But it happened. Probably not the best thing to do for his business. Especially when his business category (real estate) relies on referrals. And for the life of me, I can’t imagine what that guy was thinking.

Maybe that’s it. Like to many business people, he probably wasn’t thinking.

Politics. Religion. And the other one. It is never worth it in business.

Just shut up and sell my house.

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with clients on Canada’s West Coast. He writes about both personal and business experiences, regularly helps his clients make good decisions, and always suggests you not hit “reply to all” unless you’re replying to your family – and even then, it’s not always advisable. Clarity of thought and no “reply to all” button on his email program, has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

# This!

– by Albert Berkshire

There was a time not long ago when I felt like everything was easy. Easy in the sense of being stress free. Carefree. The pinnacle of MaxiLife, as it were. Staying in touch with people was a personal endeavour, separate from the busy chaos of our work lives, and less formal. There were ampersands. And business was conducted in a formal and engaging way that represented our professional selves, yet reflected the relationships we had developed with our clients. Less ampersands. There was separation. Personal was personal and business was business.

Then came the email that changed how I look at life.

I recently wrote to a friend that I understood this whole Internet thing was supposed to make our lives easier. A consultant friend said to me over coffee the other day that he remembered the early days of computers and the Internet as the propellant of four-day work weeks for all! Yippie! When does it start?

Early Sidebar: I’m not claiming to be overworked. Goodness no. That would be completely uncharacteristic of me. I’ve seen too many people implode as a result of over indulgence in the work world. That’s not for me. I like life loosey-goosey.

I felt we could try shutting down the Internet for a week. Give us all a moment to cool down. I realize in Internet time, a week would be tantamount to a month, or a year, or based on the rate at which Google is eating up companies across the globe – a decade. Imagine that, I thought. Shutting things down long enough to reconnect with the things that are, well, the things that are.

In the pursuit of the things that are, or were, one friend suggested that her husband needed a step-by-step book on how to disconnect, citing that he needed to leave the 1991-Miami Vice cellphone-esque satellite phone home while on vacation. Of course she emailed this to me from a vacation stop. (good humor does require exceptional timing) I called her on this gross irony, but she ignored me, either failing to have stayed in cell range for the reply, or simply because sometimes Albert is just plain sarcastic and annoying. But I come by it honestly. I do.

So how about those things that were?  What about the disconnect?  What about the simplicity of life? What of this so greatly desired enigma called “Carefree”?

I’ve decided it is a silly myth.

Now there’s a phone that as a Facebook button that glows every time you take a photo. Don’t remember why you took the picture 0.0005 seconds ago? Oh! That’s right. I’m going to post it on Facebook so I can show the guy who sat across from me in Third Grade that I have a) a friend who is in the same room as me; b) a phone; and c) a life since we were assigned to separate classes in Fourth Grade. Thanks Mr. Flashy Button! You saved my social life!

Really? Is this were we’re heading in our form of communication and socialization?

And this brings me to the life changing email.

I watched a news documentary on CBC a few days ago about the billions of dollars spent each year by the US government on fighting terrorism. The presenter talked about these mystery government agencies that track, scan and decipher billions of emails and phone calls every day. And if I could inflate my ego to the size of the solitary pea under the Princesses’ mattress…

Wait a minute. What the hell was with that story? Who, other than obviously Hans Christian Andersen, would go through all the trouble of creating a character in a story and not give her a name? What’s up with that? Moreover, why didn’t Charles Boner or Caroline Preachy give the girl a name when they translated the story into English. Considering Preachy chose to add a pair of peas to the story (a gross embellishment of an artist’s work, tsk tsk) she could have taken the abomination one step further and given the princess a name. Let’s call her Winnifred_1959. Why not? (Your Google-Fu will help you understand the name. Yes. It’s a test.)

Byegones.

…I would like to think the emails I send or receive are that interesting that someone at America’s wasteland of waste, Homeland Security, would take time to read them.

But I’d never put a hashtag in my email to a friend in the hopes that the aforementioned email could spawn a hit in a search.

Really? You hashtagged your email to me? You should have at least thrown in a “great money making offer” while you were at it. That’s where we’ve gone. I don’t get enough spam. I have to have a hashtag in my emails.

There goes the carefree life I so wanted to enjoy.

There goes the wood stove in the shack on the beach where my pen was going to stain the paper with good old fashioned ink.

# out.

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. While writing this the TV was on, the mobile phone was “dinging”, two cats were looking for food, and he was seriously considering a long stay in shack with a wood stove on the edge of the ocean. The one without hurricanes. Escaping the norm has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire. 

 

Can’t We Just Talk?

– by Albert Berkshire

Conversation is dead. Communication is lost. Come innnnn Tokyo.

I know I won’t shock anyone with this revelation, but it is necessary to point out the obvious, lest a simple thought slip past our tweeting, posting, status updating, checking-in noses. You did look up from your smart phone to read this, n’est pas?

I’ve oft heard the expression, ‘Conversation is an art”. Agreeable, but certainly a lost art, as of these last few Facebook years. I would argue then that if conversation is, or sadly, was, an art, then it is less than emboldened to suggest ‘communication is a science’.

It saddens me that so few understand the value of conversation. Even in the communication industry – being that of a specific nature and not withstanding that we in every form of business must actually communicate with people, clients, and customers – we must use conversation to build a rapport. For it is the rapport that keeps us in tune with the true needs of our clientele. Communication is merely a tool we use to advance a relationship to the point of conversation.

I could tell you a few paddling stories where the waters were crystal clear and the lake trout were as long as my forearm, tell you about losing the trail in heavy fog enroute to the summit of Mt. Temple, make you shake your head with my many over the handlebars experiences while mountain biking, perhaps swimming along with a 100 year old giant sea turtle on the Great Barrier Reef, or invite you into my heart while I tell you about that one last run at Niseko-Grand Hirafu – when the snow was chest deep and the deciduous trees were perfectly spaced. Actually, that’s a story I would love for anyone to have experienced. That was a story of a romantic moment between me and Mother Nature. And on that day, I loved her like a muse. But that’s a story for another day, as are many.

These are all stories that come from my life. My life outside the confines of a studio/office. They are mine. I’ve shared them with some of my closest friends and many of my most valued clients. Clients with whom I have a wonderful rapport. But I tell these stores with words. Real words. Words that encompass the emotions I felt when I experienced these events, not the words of the science of communication. Those words, generally get checked at my door. Generally.

So this would be where I offend those who speak the science of communication. I realize, and respect, that many use these terms every day. It is business speak. I have one friend who launches these phrases with such confidence and prowess, you’d swear she was a walking-talking manual for inter-corporate communications. But she comes by it honestly and acknowledges it is a tool of her trade, and certainly not the 5:01pm-7:59am individual that is really her. Still, I find the flick of the switch a wee bit alarming, like a floodlight in the retina of reality.

So let’s review a few of these terms and phrases that have presided over the perversion of the science of communication and has thusly eroded the art of conversation.

Reach Out:  I’m sorry, did you mean “talk to someone”? Because if anyone reaches out to me, I’m probably going to, as first instinct, pull my arm away because I don’t like to be touched by strangers. Or is this an intervention and I’m going to be sent to “I don’t like to be touched” rehab? By reaching out, you are talking or emailing, or if you remember how, you are writing a letter to a person. Even if you “message” someone, you are still communicating with said person. So the whole term “reach out” seems a little pretentious.

Establish a Dialogue: I’m sorry, did you mean “talk to someone”? When establishing a dialogue, does one use a little drop-down box? As in “dialogue box”? You know, the little thing that drops down or opens on your computer screen to give you an option. (If you are a Windows user you see these 100 times a day. I’m a Mac Snob, so I get a steady allowance of three per week) Maybe that is the key, when you compose an email, maybe a little box could open giving you options that you can check:  “It appears you are attempting to establish a dialogue with an individual. Would you like help in presenting yourself as genuine, or fake?

Have a Conflab: WTF? Did you mean “talk to someone”? There is little I like less in this world than made up words. I have a sense of humour…but it has limits when it starts to bastardize the English language. Perhaps with the exception of “qualificant” –  which one hung over morning on a radio show many lifetimes ago had a nice ring to it, and we suspiciously understood what I was saying – made up words are ridiculous. Conflab this, Muchacho. Let’s have a “conversation”, if you remember how.

Offer Disclosure: Seriously? We’re deviating form the norm? Tres apropos! Did you mean “tell someone something”? Disclosure? Am I buying real estate? Because in my experience, and I have considerable in with property developers, if you are offering disclosure, I should be seeing an offer of sale, as an offer of sale can only be made with a full disclosure statement, EO&E. KWIM?

Is this really necessary? Do I have to listen to this kind of communication? I certainly refuse to fluff up my communications to clients with such grand phrases. They’d think I’d gone nuts. In fact, I can tell you their reply: “Albert?”

It’s not me. I suspect it’s not most people. So why do we do it? Are we trying to be someone we are not? Are we attempting to fit into the cubicle in which the corporate world so desperately wants to stuff us? Are we doing this because we think it is what the other person wants us to say? Have we let the marketing and communications department people spike the purple Koolade?

Or are we just trying to cover up our inability to actually uphold a conversation?

I guess the old expression holds true; “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

I’m more in tune with; “Speak clearly and carry a little humility.”

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. While writing this, he couldn’t get the banjo out of his head, nor could he shake the image of Herbert Coward’s character extolling the virtues of an attractive oral fissure. Speaking clearly and the art of conversation has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire. 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Margaret and I had a good run.

When we first met it was golden.  Love at first sight.  She brought a smile to my face, I wanted to show her off to everyone, and she was with me everywhere I went.  Margaret bailed me out of more than one or two jams.  She was quick, direct and without fail, she was always right.  I loved it.  I loved her.

She was a great traveling companion.

Then I started to notice some really annoying characteristics.  They developed out of nowhere.  No warning signs.  No hints of things come to pass.  On our drive from Portland to Seattle recently, completely out of character, the character I loved so much, like a window sill that cracked and creaked in the heat of the day, like a sheep on a windy Irish hillside, she bleated, “Please observe the speed limit!”

It wasn’t so much what she said, but the cold-hearted way she said it.

Unexpected to say the least, the first thing I could think was, Are you kidding me? We’ve been on so many trips together.  You know I tend to drive a little fast. And it wasn’t really all that fast.  I was doing about 120km/h in a 110 one.  Still, I laughed it off and she never said a thing to me for a few hours.

Then when I got to Seattle, the walls of our relationship came tumbling down.  Like a flick of the proverbial switch, she went Sarah Palin (slightly crazy at the realization that’s she’s outdated and stupid) on me and started freaking out.  She had me doing figure eights in downtown Seattle trying to get to my hotel.  And she was relentless.  I would say “you’re wrong” and she’s completely ignore me, repeating the same diatribe over and over again.  Trying to get me to constantly turn up a downward one-way street and down an upward one-way street.  It was insane.  And annoying to no end.

And that was the end.  Like Facebook, I knew it was time Margaret and I would go our separate ways.  We just weren’t a fit for each other.  I needed better feedback.  I needed better focus from her.  I needed her to have a friggin‘ clue how to properly communicate in a timely manner.  I needed her to understand, although that was an impossibility, that a relationship can’t work like this.  Telling me what to do, and then immediately changing your mind is not healthy.  And in the end, it’s best we go our separate ways.

I’ve had this with past clients.  It’s been those strange relationships that start off like I’m dating the goose who laid the golden egg, but they treat the egg and the relationship with little or no regard and suddenly the golden egg becomes a lead weight.  It’s around my neck, and it’s around the client’s neck.  And when we both realize we should move on, we still hang on for no reason other than convenience.  Familiarity.

Familiarity, as we all know, breeds contempt.  Contempt in a creative relationship doesn’t work.  If you can’t communicate effectively with your creative people, your team, your consultant, you’ll never a) get the results you think you want; and b) be open to the ideas that will give you the results you think you want and need.

You have to be open to two-way communication.  Otherwise you’re just another Margaret and you’re in a doomed relationship.

My suggestion is this:

  • Establish Realistic Goals: Have an honest conversation with your creative people about what you want to accomplish.  “More Sales” is not a realistic expectation. Advertising does not increase sales.  Your sales team increases sales.  Advertising generates traffic.  So define your expectation in terms of achievable benchmarks.  “Generate ten more inquiries a day, week, month” is a goal.  Not “more sales”.
  • Stay Engaged: Be a part of the process as much as your team needs you.  If it isn’t going the way you want it to go, make the changes needed early in the process.  Don’t wait until you need to make wholesale changes because you neglected your role in the process.   Not all decisions can be made without you.  Sometimes none of the important decisions can be made without you, so stay involved as you work towards your goals.
  • Communicate: Discuss the direction and ask how you can assist in fine tuning it.  This doesn’t mean micro-manage.  This means be available to your team when they need you.  Give feedback, positive or otherwise, and “No”, “Try again”, or “Not working for me” is not feedback.  It’s comment.  And it’s useless.  Keep it to yourself or your team will dissolve like Redoxin in a glass of water.  Then your lack of communication will have you starting over – again.
  • Look Ahead: Compare your short term expectations to your long term goals.  Are you on track?  Is everyone aware of where you are headed?  Are you listening to the feedback from your creative team as to how your advertising will work now and in the long term?  Looking ahead will help the short term pain of the fresh start easier to accept if you are focused on the long term success of your business.
  • Stop Asking Your Secretary: This is the polite version.  Your creative team is not creating marketing plans that make your staff feel good.  It is for your core target customer base who don’t know as much about your products, services, and company as you and your team know.  Nor is it meant to educate them to your level.  It is meant to create a desire in their mind.  They aren’t as close to it as you, so your secretary’s or accountant’s (actually, never tell your accountant anything about advertising because they hate all things on the “outgoing ledger lines”) opinion is relatively irrelevant.  I’m sure there’s some gross redundancy in that last point, but you get my point.  Oh look, more gross redundancy.

This is how you succeed in a creative relationship.  It’s not rocket science.  Or maybe it is.  I don’t know how smart you are.  The fact of the matter is you need to listen to your creative people.  It’s what they do for a living and if they’ve had any measure of success – enough to be recommended to you on service and results (not price) – then they know WTF they are doing. (For those of you who know I despise modern teen-texting acronyms, be it known I like that one).

Communication makes a working relationship work.  Try communicating with your creative team, first by listening to them, and secondly, responding to them.  Otherwise they sit on their ass waiting for you to get around to making the important things to you (like your advertising) an important thing to them.

The alternative?  You’ll just go in circles (or figure eights), trapped in a maze of one-way streets that don’t go the way you want to go and find yourself back in the same place you were not too long ago.

And that’s never a fun way to travel.

Margaret was a good GPS unit in her day.  I loved her like a writer loves his muse.  But she had a complete aversion to updates and upgrades, and wasn’t remotely open to suggestion.  In fact, as time went on she would completely ignore all my input.  When I realized this, I knew we needed to go in separate directions.

No irony in that, of course.

 

Sometimes, it's just easier to go the short route. A direct flight might not be such an adventure, but who really needs an adventure in advertising?

 

 

 

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. He establishes solid relationships and listens to his clients, and selectively chooses to work with those who respect his abilities and that which he can do for their business. It’s one more thing that’s made his company, GreatCreative.Com successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

 

When “No, Thanks” Translates Into “Yes, Please”

– by Albert Berkshire

I liked Nick.

I’d still like Nick just as much if he would return my call from 7 months ago with acknowledgement that he still owes me lunch.  Of course, you don’t get to be a multi-millionaire by spending your money buying other people lunch.  At first I thought he was offended by my eating habits.  I’m a vegetarian.  He eats a steak a day.  Probably nothing else.  If it grows in the ground, he has an aversion to eating it.  If it gave birth, you know, like your mother, I have an aversion to eating it.

We are diabolical opposites…save for one important point.  We both know that there are far smarter people in the world than us, and when we need them, we should call on them.

Nick once told me (several scotches in) that the reason he’s had such business success was because he surrounded himself with people who were far more talented than he.  I took it as a compliment that he trusted me and respected what I do.  But I’d still like to get my free lunch.

Some clients, like Nick, get it.  They get that when you hire someone to give you professional advice, guidance, direction (or any other corporate-friendly term that makes you feel giddy), and to do what it is that you do professionally, that hiring a person also includes actually listening to said person.

Seriously, apart from an absolute aversion to many acronyms (most notably ASAP), very little bugs me more professionally than a person who hires you to do “A”, then demands “B”, and ultimately tells you he/she really wanted “C”.  “A” having been the original request, and still the best option – offered by said hired professional hired to provide “A”.

But sometimes we suck it up and provide “C”, n’est pas?

OTHER times we say, “No, Thanks” and move on.  And then your “No, Thanks” gets ignored and you feel like you have a professional stalker.  Only not the kind of stalker who sends you really mean emails (oh, I’ve had them) or just constantly solicits your advice for free with no intention of ever doing business with you (had them, too), but the kind that assumes you LOVE to be abused and you were only joking when you politely say, “No, Thanks.”

Some of my colleagues and most trusted advisors try to tell me that ditching good clients in a downed economy is paramount to professional suicide.  Well, let’s establish a point before I address that.  I’m in demand.  In fact, most people who do what I do (sadly, there are many) are in demand during an economic downturn because we know what the hell we’re doing, we know how to execute projects affordably, and we’re darn fun and enjoyable business partners.

Now, to address that professional suicide thing: “Yeah. Thanks for your input. I was only paying you for your advice so I could ignore it. How could you possibly know more about what you do than me?”

Ridiculous, isn’t it.  That was the most asinine comment ever.  But that’s what I’m talking about.  Clients who pay you to do things that you tell them they shouldn’t do.  It’s like a child asking you what colour the grass is and when you say, “green”, they look at you and say, “Brown…got it.”  (Actually, that would be more accurate at my home since I also have an aversion to using chemically treated potable water to make my yard look pretty.)

I feel like it’s Purge The Aversion Day in the Great Creative.com studios.

So, onwards.  Turning down business is tough.  Working with someone who in no way gets what you can do is even tougher.  And if you’re open to me working towards a third suffix (I do love Trinities), saying goodbye to great money is the toughest.

But sometimes you just have to suck it up and say “adios dinero”. (I do not have an aversion to the beauty of the Spanish language).

The bottom line, which I’m sure you’ve been hoping to read, is this:  The best feeling in business – any business, thinks I – is when you let go of your financial and emotional connection to a project, client, customer or acronym and free yourself to do what it is that you do best.

In my case, my remaining clients (really, it was only one that I punted) afford me the freedom to do what I do best.  I create for them…and they appreciate my work.

My “No, Thanks” client showed up again recently.  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, but being vague is a game we creatives like to play from time to time.  So I took it as a sign that “No, Thanks” is sometimes interpreted as “Yes, Please” and can also translate into, “Fuck it. I’ll take the money.”

That’s probably how Nick got to be so freakin’ rich.

Which reminds me. I am bloody hungry. Nick? Pick up the phone.

Albert, you're not hearing me hear you. When you say "No", I am experiencing "Yes!!". But later I'll prefer "Maybe".

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. There’s a lot of decidedly formal “blah blah blah” in his typical work day, most of which comes from his own mouth. To learn more about Albert, visit the website his consultant feels should be immediately updated at www.greatcreative.com.  For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, devoid of cynicism, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

 

 

Anger…It’s The New Joy.

– by Albert Berkshire

I remember a night, many years ago, when I stood at the bar in a night club, vibrating at a 140 beats per minute. My friends told me that they looked over, no doubt bewildered, and said, “What’s Albert dancing to? The DJ stopped playing twenty minutes ago.”

It was true. I had a song stuck in my head. I had a rave happening between my ears. I had a beat grooving, and somewhere in my world, it was audible to everyone. And while I was the only one rolling braincells into ideas at 140 BPM, it was the birth of a creative realization.

It wasn’t always as bright and sunny as I wanted it to be in my grey matter-infused cell cavern, but it was active and creative and filled with joy and anger. But not he kind of anger that destroys…the kind that fuels determination.

Side bar: I just conferred with my wife as to whether or not it was “grey” matter or “gray” matter. She whipped out one of her medical encyclopedias and showed me a diagram of a penis. Comedy. Cue the violins.

I know people so filled with anger that they can create things most of us only dream about. They listen to the darkest music – by my standards – and they draw a kind of creativity from it that makes my head spin. They are like machines. They pump out the work like someone cranked open a fire hydrant. The flow is amazing. Yet, anger is their muse. Dark, I know. But it is what it is. And we all find our inspiration in deeply personal places.

Still, I am lead to believe that a little more Reznor or Rollins might finish one of my books. Or a even thought, tonight.

I’ve always found music to fill the roll of the absentee muse. But on the brighter side. (not Bette or Yanni – brighter, but brighter in the sense that “no knives were ingested in the making of this album”. See above for names for clarification.)

Music is my muse’s stand-in. The butt-shot model. The white balance back up.

Music pries emotion from its hiding place. Music creates words where none wanted to reveal themselves. Music upsets the balance of sameness, and churns up the waters of thought.

All of these things, I like.  <looks around for the “like” button>

Music is the first thing I look for when I start to write. It’s my foundation point for creativity. It, by mere default, impales a campaign with emotion. Love, happiness, excitement, joy, anger, hate. (okay, maybe not hate, because if a client wanted to inject hate into a campaign I’d tell them to put down the crack pipe. Seriously…put it down.)

But is the music always “in” the campaign? Not necessarily. I’ve written some of my favourite campaigns listening to music, while having no intention of ever injecting music into the storyboard of the campaign. It has its place in the film, but not always in the scene. Sometimes it just inspires, without involvement. Sometimes I want the voice actor to hear the music that inspired the campaign, to feel what I felt when I wrote the words. It is a tool I use to inspire a talent to deliver an emotionally charged performance. It’s a tool I use for myself when I’m the talent hired to deliver for another writer.

Music, as a muse, has its limitations, but it can be the catalyst for creativity in any area of your business. Embrace it. Use it. Benefit from it. Music is born out of inspiration and emotion, and all the other things most of us will never understand about musicians…and because pretty much every consumer purchase has an emotional baseline, your target consumer will be positively affected, and hopefully motivated, by the business direction and focus born out of your music-inspired creativity.

And when you get a great song stuck in your head, love it for what it is. Anger…Joy… whatever fuels your moped. You never know when the beat will pay dividends.

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. In the process of writing this he was listening to Airborne Toxic Event’s “Half Of Something Else” in his head. And he is, in fact, only half of something else. But it’s one more thing that’s made his company, GreatCreative.Com successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.