What the guy from Vogue taught me about politics

by | May 11, 2018 | Copywriting, Design, Strategy

It’s why I decided to start something on my own, by the way. Politics. I binge on it on House of Cards, not on my agenda. But even for deaf ears like mine, this guy brought home some solid points.

The guy, by the way, is the tall, cryptic editor of British Vogue, Johan Svensson. It was, yes, the same brain spa with creative direction aromas at Frieze’s. Let’s plunge.

1. Don’t pitch when they’re miserable, sit on stuff until they’re ripe.

Assuming you have the time, of course. But would you go for it if you knew you’re headed for Noville, or would you rather wait until planets align?

Here’s what Johan was implying: you would read the signs like Sherlock.

You’d know when [replace fashion icon Carine Roitfeld, his boss at Vogue France, with your designated other] was happy and ready to say yes to you and when to shut that thing, smile and wait.

2. Always go over budget.

Because If you won’t, you’ll get squeezed.

I believe he later uttered something about making them think they’re getting what they want while you’re getting what you want.

By this point, I was beside myself. Not sure it was the mind blowing covers he was machine gunning at us or the commentary. J is a man of few words, but they sure as hell matter.

Johan, please post the waiting list link for your next negotiation seminar, would you?

3. Discovery can be tedious work. And worth every inch.

By far, my favourite. And not sure related to politics anyway.

It was about how finding reference pictures, the more precise, the better, can sometimes be tedious. In my world, that’s getting to the you-had-me-at-hello tag-lines or subject lines and about pages.

Here’s where I got the ball and ran with it in my mind. Reference work is hard. And if you work with a new idea, whether it’s words, metal, or code, you might not know where it’s going.

Beginnings are delicate and precious.

Making your idea fly is part alchemy, part structure and detective work, and a good splash of luck, where luck means places you’ve been, your tribe, how you jump on the waves of time etc.

If it gets discouraging at times, it’s because it’s not easy and not for everybody. You’re working on that thinking and conjuring muscle and that makes you one of a kind.

Some experiments will take you places and some will take you to the next that takes you places.

(I watched this TED talk today of a girl who does useless things and you-tubes about it to a chunky following. She sure looked happy.)

So stick to it. The six inches in front of your face. Once in a while, look up and feel good.

Because you’re in the good game.

“Your material is the vehicle for you to express your spirit, it’s why you’re on the planet.”

(I did not say that, nor did the Vogue guy. That’s Jerry Seinfeld all over. Or he quoted some other smart dude.)

Things are always clear in retrospect. If it’s hazy now it’s because you’re heading into unchartered territory.

Which makes you a pioneer.

And some survival skills would do you just fine.

Like these from the guy from Vogue who’s seriously into beauty, but would rather spell out haikus on politics. That’s his thing.

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Thank you for reading this.

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