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No matter where you go you are what you are (player) June 12, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, work/life.

Fender(“player” is for the Jay-Z trainspotters, you know who you are…)

I was thinking this morning about the things that are intrinsically us. Not you and I, us as in you. The things that, try as we might, we cannot escape.

I say this because I wanted a new suit. I saw a great one, tried it on, fit like a glove, I looked (and felt!) great. The problem is I don’t want a new suit, or at least don’t have enough call for it in my day to day to warrant it, so there was a quandry.

I was wandering around thinking about this a couple weeks back when I stumbled into a second hand music store and suddenly lost an hour to a beautiful near-mint left-handed Stratocaster. I saw in the back room of this music store playing away, lost to the world. I was even joined at one point by a guy on bass, who just wandered through and thought this looks like an ideal spot for an impromptu jam; it was great.

Reconciling wants and needs is, most of the time, like dragging together magnets with the same charge; you can hold them in place for a bit but they don’t naturally fall that way. Our businesses and brands are like that too, wants and needs can be so distant at times. The brand wants to be Coke, but it needs to be springwater. It wants to be Nike, but it needs to be a solidly-made shoe your podiatrist can recommend.

That of course is fine, if it is true. Nailing down the things that are fundamentally true is what is important, finding the things that cannot be easily ignored or argued with gives you a platform you can build on. Me in a suit is a pretty good imitation of a guy in a suit.

Me with a guitar in my hands I don’t have to fake for a second.



1. nathaliewithanh - June 13, 2008

As I read your entry, the character of Rob in Nick Hornsby’s High Fidelity came to mind. Then I got really curious and actually visited your MySpace page.
You are a rock star! With 840 billion friends. I had no idea. I thought you were a highly introspective marketing exec. No wonder you’re conflicted!
Ever read Chuck Klosterman?

2. David Gillespie - June 13, 2008

I heart Chuck Klosterman! Killing Yourself To Live was great, though I wasn’t as enamoured with Chuck klosterman: IV.

And while I’d like to agree that I’m a rock star, there’s a crucial element missing in my portfolio (that being a million or so records sold =]).

Oh, and High Fidelity is #2 on my all-time favourite books list.

3. nathaliewithanh - June 14, 2008

Aaargh Gillespie, you’re killing me. Favorite piece of Klosterman? His first essay in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: This is Emo.
If you also heart Douglas Coupland, we’re cloning you, aging you a tad and importing you for immediate consumption.
What is #1 on the favorite book list?

I regards to the rock star status, what would work in Texas would be to sleep with Jessica Simpson… or “getting in bed” with Simon Cowley. Getting famous in the artistic world, it’s not about talent but about whom you know… All about marketing!

4. David Gillespie - June 16, 2008

Hmmm…I will have to do me some exploring. The stack of unread books next to my bed is somewhat embarrassing. I haven’t actually made it to Douglas Copeland, though I’ll take that as a sign I should. #1 is Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, it is simply extraordinary.

As for the famous stuff, I’m working on keeping some dignity in tact (failing miserably most days…).

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