Monday, July 13, 2009

Roy Williams - Let's Talk?


In 2004, I was introduced to an excellent series of books titled The Wizard of Ads, by Roy Williams. If you are a marketing or advertising professional, this is a highly recommended piece of work that brings critical thinking back into the profession. Seeing how this is not the point of this entry, please jot that down, and I'll move on.

It would be my luck that Mr. Williams would be speaking at Belmont University that year - about the book and all things advertising. He spoke of neurology, the absorption of information, and the perception of word compositions. All of this was fascinating information, but none stuck with me like the small mention he made about generations.

Based on the book Generations, by Neil Howe, America is following a sort of time-pendulum, according to Williams. The time-pendulum's origin point falls on the 03's - 1923, 2003, etc. The time-pendulum origin marks a significant time in American History, as it relates to music, innovation, and business. To use music as an example, 1923 brought about Jazz in the mainstream, 1963 Rock-n-Roll, 2003 Hip-Hop. Additionally, generations have 20-year swings, instead of the typical 40 year swing - broken into a civic society and idealistic society. Civic societies can be summed up as, "I can change my world", and "I can change the world" for idealistic.

I agreed with everything Williams analyzed about Howe's findings, but his overall statement about the current time was wrong, in my opinion. Williams found America to be at the same point as 1963 (see graphic). Here's the problem with this perspective, if it's a pendulum, the societal fabric would be shifting the other way - more toward 1923.

What does this mean? It means that 2009 matched up with 1929. It means we are 30 years from another music revolution. It means that this new wave of protectionism will lead to another global conflict. It means public policy will have to revisit or reinvent new ways of operating. It means Hayek and Keynes will have to move aside for new theories and thought about economics. It means that open-source may become closed to support the interest of the nation. It could mean a lot of things, but it all depends on you.

If you go through these points in history, it's pretty scary. There are significant things going on, and they sort of resemble the momentum shift of the pendulum.

If anyone knows Roy Williams or Neil Howe, tell them to call me. I need to get it straight.

1863 - Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln
1883 - Supreme Court declares Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional
1903 - Ford Motor sells 1st Model A car
1923 - U.S. unemployment has nearly ended
1943 - U.S. defeats Japan and wins Battle of Bismark Sea
1963 - John F. Kennedy flies to Texas
1983 - President Reagan signs $165 billion Social Security rescue
2003 - United States, Briain, Australia and Poland invade Iraq without United Nations sanction


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