A few months ago I would never have imagined being in the same room as Patrick Stewart, Jared Leto, Courtney Love, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kanye West, Ralph Fiennes, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Sheryl Sandberg, Ben Horowitz, Yves Behar to name a few. Not just staring at them as a star-struck fan but hearing them speak about what it takes to be who they are and how they do what they do.
And I’m not done with Bono and Jonathan Ives yet.
Every year at the Cannes Lions, one always sees amazing work across categories and listens to some really distinguished speakers let us in on what makes them tick and how we can make sense of a world that is full of creative opportunities.
But this year has been truly amazing. And one theme that is constantly emerging is that this festival is not just about advertising, but about creative people from other fields and their ideas.
You look at these famous creative people from the outside and think, “Oh they’re famous people!” You hear them telling you candidly how they got there, and you think, “Oh! That’s why they’re famous people!” That’s the difference.
And I am going to try and sum up what these people made me realize and I hope it lets you see the light as well.
1) Do many things. Be many people- All the people who I’ve mentioned above do various things so one thing sparks their creativity in another direction It’s like being many people and therefore never getting stale. Jared Leto is an Oscar winning actor, rock star, artist and an investor among other things. Now if that’s not cool, then what is?
2) Be prepared to fail and be told you failed. Repeatedly- Kanye West said that he got bashed all the time, but he took it because it was the price to pay for conviction. Jared Leto said failure was a scary and necessary path. It is a world full of opinions and we make living of putting our work out there. We just have to be persistent despite getting punched a few times.
3) Cross–Pollinate: Increasingly people from unconnected fields get together to create unique creative solutions and that works amazingly well. Not just for the sake of it, but for the unpredictability of what will be created. After all, the world today demands that they be fed something new each day. Look at Pharrell Williams, Bono, Jay Z, Sarah Jessica Parker among others. They all collaborate constantly with other creative people using design, technology and stories to create new things all the time.
4) You are limitless because your world is limitless: One of the people who I thought was very cool was Kassem-G - a YouTube comedy star that started by shooting little clips for an Internet news show. He then co-founded Maker studios that makes content purely for the Internet. Today they have hundreds of Internet channels across genres and at last count had over 90 million subscribers. Oh! And did I mention Disney acquired them for a vast sum of money. Not bad huh? What this proves is that we are all limited only by our imagination.
To sum it up, all I’d like to say is that this year the Cannes Lions has not just been about celebrating great pieces of work in the advertising and related fields, but it has been an invitation to a future upon which we can unleash our infinite creativity. And our time starts now.