Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Thrill of the New

My old boss became a bitter curmudgeon as he approached his semi-retirement. He was only in his fifties but had become world-weary. During the Boom, it was all he could do to keep from snapping at the brash, 18-22 year-old Internet schemers & dreamers who made up much of our client base in that period.

As for me - I was of that age (well, maybe a li'l older), and thrived on all that raw potential and energy. If greed sneaked in, too - hey, we're all human.

Then the Boom turned into a Bust, and yada yada yada. I have no complaints about those darker days: when the sun stopped shining it convinced the curmudgeon to get-the-hell-out, and lo! - a new Agency was born.

But, even as I was surfing on the adrenaline of starting up a new business, what I missed out on was the entrepreneurial camaraderie that had been so much a part of the Boom. In starting a new gig, my partners and I were anomalies of the new age! I also missed the thrill of being among the first to hear about "the next big thing." There were no more "big things." Everyone was hangin' on for dear life.

Or so I thought.

In the last few months, several "5-year-old start-ups" have been waving their arms around in our conference rooms, raving (in a good way) about how they'd spent the Bust Years innovating... essentially, building and buffing-up the next wave of Big Things.

I am once again caught up in these entrepreneurs' enthusiasm. I am pounding tables again, postulating on how "this could change everything" again. I am reminded - again - of one of the most fundamental reasons why I love this friggin' job.

The thrill of the new.

I was hangin' out at Ideo's San Francisco office a few weeks ago, and got a vicarious head-rush talking to some of the world's best industrial designers. In the consumer products space, these are the folks piecing together the must-have stuff of the future. And I can admit it: between their too-cool office space in a converted pier warehouse and their well-deserved influence on "Tomorrow," I was giddy with a well-intentioned jealousy. It had been a while since I'd experienced that awe-inspiring feeling of POTENTIAL.

Thankfully, I haven't had to wait long at all to start feeling it again. The thrill of the new is new all over again. Let's hope it lasts.

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