Dick's Soapbox: News and views you can use.

Happy Birthday to us! Um, technically.

By: Dick

Ten years ago, Bob, David and Michael sheepishly walked into the lobby of a Citibank and did something very foreign to them--they opened up a business account. After spending their careers working at agencies in cities all over the country, they decided to do what they never thought they'd do. Start their own advertising agency. But the thing is, they didn't start it just then. 

Actually it took a while to open their doors. For starters there was this thing called money and the three new partners really didn't have enough. Then there was timing. At their current agency, one project led to another which led to another. The target date became D-Day, June 6th. But that came and went.

After a couple more months, they set a hard date to finally tell their boss that they were quitting no matter what they were working on. They all practiced what they were going to say and wondered about their boss's reaction. But before they actually did anything, those words (or something like it but with more pregnant pauses) slipped out of Bob's mouth during an unrelated moment with their boss. Not exactly the beginning they expected but hey, it was a beginning.

The news It made such a splash at the agency they were leaving that within hours, Lewis Lazare, the columnist at the Sun Times, called. Michael talked to him. Yes, we were opening an ad agency.  Yes, all three of us were from the creative department. No, we don't think we need an account service person. Lewis? Lewis? Can you stop laughing? Really, I'm serious. It's called Tom, Dick & Harry, after the well-known prison escape tunnels depicted in the movie The Great Escape. No, none of us look like Steve McQueen, although David was once mistaken for Yo Yo Ma, the violinist. 

But that was in August and this isn't August yet, right? So while we are one of the few ad agencies started by only creatives, we are also one of the few agencies started twice. We're not sure if that's something of distinction because, well, we didn't exactly know how to start.

According to our CFO, Mike Volkman, only 8% of businesses stay businesses after ten years. We are a little proud and a lot of amazed at this achievement. But we won't be having our celebration until our actual the real anniversary date in August. That's okay because it gives some time to plan. Until then, we'll be working on our clients' accounts. Maybe even do some anniversary ads.  

03.04.12   The Biz, The Vault

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A Ten Year Q and A