Thursday, March 15, 2012
What I learned at school
I have somehow ended up with a lot of friends that are professors at universities. Even more puzzlingly, they want me to come down and talk to their students about advertising, or judge their work. I’m happy to, because I enjoy it, and when they kick me out of this business I’d like to teach on campus. So the last couple of weeks, I’ve guest-lectured at University of Michigan, Indiana University (my alma mater), and University of Illinois (its Quad, seen above).
I hope the students learned something from me. But here are a few things I learned from them.
1. Students show up early for class these days. Don’t ask me why. 10 minutes before class starts, they’re in their seats. It makes no sense.
2. Most students don’t fall asleep in my classes. But some do. OK, one did.
3. They believe me when I tell them that it’s the best possible time to be getting into this business, because they’ve been living and breathing digital and social media all their lives, while people roughly my age– most of the people running the industry – are still trying to figure it out. I’m glad they believe me, because it’s true.
4. One student asked me about the hardest part of my job. I told them it’s coming up with ideas, and having them killed. Good clients recognize both are incredibly difficult, and respect the work accordingly.
5. In one big lecture hall I sat in on in the back after my class, ¾ of the kids were on Facebook and Twitter while their teacher taught. It’s sad and shameful on a lot of levels.
6. All of the teachers I assisted – Bonnie Layton at IU, Tim O’Day at Michigan, and Peter “Jesus of Cool” Sheldon at Illinois – are vastly smarter, more engaged and more passionate than most teachers I ever had. Kids, you’re lucky.
7. Students today are as inquisitive, energetic and open as ever. If not more so. I love being around them.
at 10:00 PM