If there was one slogan that dominated the aughts it was the Nike’s “Just Do It”. I am not a fan of sweeping generalizations, a one size fits all solution. Many have ended up broke and broken by not planning, or thinking through the pros and cons of a risky venture. That said there are benefits gained by “doing it” that can apply to innovating in our own careers. Here’s my story…
In the process of any pursuit there are valuable lessons and unexpected detours. Some years back while working in LA I decided I wanted to leave the music business, at the time I was a music director of a small station. Faced with not knowing what to do next, I decided to reach out to help some friends promote a Jazz documentary they had completed and wanted to get aired. I talked them into doing a “premiere” at a fashionable night spot, putting televisions all over the place and have a social viewing. They were skeptical, but had no better suggestions.
One benefit of being a music director, even a former one, is that local businesses are willing to accommodate your requests, hoping that at sometime in the future the favor would be returned. I called in all the favors and made promises to return others. We managed to get a great location, an article in the local paper, the equipment we needed and invitations sent out.
A few days before the event, I began to worry about what would be on the screens while people arrived. So, I paid a visit to the promotion departments of various record labels. They gave me armfuls of short videos used to promote artists on TV in Europe and Australia. Television was until recently one of the major ways to break acts outside of the US. Calling in another favor, I edited them together.
The night was a success, crowds came, including television executives, we got reviewed, the producers had appointments set up, and I had my ” Just Do It” moment. Throughout the evening I had people coming to me wanting to know where I got those short music clips from. In less than four hours I was seen as some expert in procuring music videos. In the weeks ahead I was offered and became the video curator of a Rock Art Museum, a consultant to entertainment chains including Disneyland and given a marketing study by record companies to assess the effectiveness of videos to promote unknown music acts. A year later, I was asked to be a consultants to a network television music video show, and so began a twenty year career in television and commercials.
The process of “just doing it” can lead to unexpected outcomes. The key is not to be wedded to a single idea, but open to suggestions, to say yes when you haven’t a clue what you have just got yourself into. It is worth remembering that with any new idea, you are the expert, even if you make mistakes the only person who can fix them is you.
“Just Do It”, you never know where it will take you.
Peter Doyle is an award winning media marketing, news and documentary producer using rich media to accelerate innovation and commercialization. Check me out at http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterjdoyle