Zen & the art of how not to be a dinosaur

Bodhisatwa Dasgupta of Grey Worldwide, in his characteristic humourous style, talks about the need for creative talent to stay relevant & refrain from turning into dinosaurs

e4m by Bodhisatwa Dasgupta
Updated: Aug 13, 2013 8:19 AM
Zen & the art of how not to be a dinosaur

Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, Associate Creative Director, Grey Worldwide (popularly known as Bodhi) was featured in IMPACT magazine’s Top 30 under 30 2013 list – an initiative that identifies and celebrates future leaders of the Indian communication industry who have already made a mark on their seniors and clients. Bodhi in his characteristic humourous manner shares his take on how not to become a dinosaur after turning 30.

Here it is…

This IMPACT 30 under 30 happened just in the nick of time; because a few months later and I wouldn’t even have qualified. But that’s not the scary part. The scary part is this – how do you safeguard yourself from becoming a dinosaur in the business? Because really, it’s not about age, is it? It’s not about a bunch of guys who are in their 20s making a mark.

It’s about fighting to stay relevant.

Sure, the freshest ideas come from the young peeps. I know that, which is why when I hire, I try and hire really young, unexposed talent. The longer you spend in advertising, the more cynical you become towards your work and the more you start bombing your own ideas because you know the client isn’t going to do them.

So what’s happening is this…guys in their 30s, the so-called over the hills, cautious and calculated people, keep presenting ‘safe’ ideas to the client.

Do they work? Sure. Are they exciting? Absolutely not.

This is because all the exciting ideas are lying in the bin.

A young person doesn’t have that problem. Because he or she doesn’t know what is right or wrong. He’s easily excited about his ideas, and he thinks all of them can change the world.

That’s a marvelous space to be in, and even though I just crossed over the dreaded, but no doubt sexy 30 mark, I try being in this space. I still spruce up every presentation to the client with a certain amount of theatrics (for example, I presented a bike campaign wearing opaque helmets the whole time), I still spend hours trying to crack an idea for an e-mailer, etc.

I’m excited by the prospect of a Monday morning. I get fidgety when things don’t happen. I get angry when something we’ve worked on gets bombed.

Trick is not to stagnate; although, it’s very easy to do. Many writers, art directors at big agencies, especially big agencies, over the years of doing nothing (read senior people) start to anti-evolutionise.

Their brains become small, out of not being used. Their hands grow large, out of stomping around and making much noise. Their mouth becomes large thanks to the fat paychecks they eat up. Their eyes become small because they’ve stopped looking at the world a long time back.

And before you know it, they’ve become dinosaurs.

Unfortunately we all know what happens to dinosaurs, don’t we?

In time, they die out.

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