Every now and then I receive an email from someone, particularly a young person, that makes me feel like this blog actually has some value. Here's one from a young man working in Silicon Valley. Name withheld to protect the innocent.
I wanted to drop you a quick line to say a sincere thank you for your writing. I came across your blog a couple of months ago and have since been reading every article. I'm now nearly at the very beginning.
I find your blog very important for the very reasons you mention - cutting through the crap. Getting past the stupid babbling and actually selling stuff which is what ad people are supposed to do. I'm in marketing, but am a young one - only graduated about two years ago and I only came into marketing by circumstance, actually. Anyway, I do love it quite a bit, but having been thrown into the field of web marketing, where not only is performance such an issue as you've been reporting in TAC, but where everything is so new (relatively) it's all being made up on the spot, I quickly became very frustrated. The problem I faced was with the CEOs I worked with. They were smart guys, but oh-so-badly wanted the latest and greatest new thing to come out of Silicon Valley that apparently would revolutionize everything. I always saw the problems with the web marketing industry, but being inexperienced and without mentors (I ended up being the one who taught VPs of marketing and CEOs of venture-backed companies what *I* knew about marketing at various points in my career) I always thought the problem was with me.
Only recently have I started to understand that a ton of people around me are just completely full of shit, and that management often has no idea what the hell they actually want even though they're so sure that this latest geolocation-based-silo-busting-mobile-payment-enabled-crowdsourcing-community-building phone app is the way to catapult us into success.
Your writing has helped me get a grasp on these facts, and despite that the industry I've come into seems to be in complete shambles, I think I understand what I have to do to succeed without becoming a platitude-spewing sycophant.
I'll be speaking tonight in Kansas City. If you're in the neighborhood, here are the details.