The fastest point of sailing is just on the edge of capsizing.
You’ve got the absolute maximum amount of wind power filling the sails.
But not quite enough to push the boat over.
The closer you can get to that edge the faster you can go.
Of course, sometimes you go too far, and the boat goes over.
So you quickly get it righted and start again.
Going really fast.
But say you’re a guy who doesn’t like to capsize.
The way not to capsize the boat is not to try to sail that fast.
If you don’t get so much wind into the sail the boat will stay upright.
And you won’t ever risk capsizing.
Of course it won’t go very fast either.
The guys who win races go really fast.
And sometimes they capsize.
The guys who go slowly enough to make sure they never capsize don’t win races.
Because when you put together all the fast sailing, and take away the capsizing, it still adds up to a greater rate of speed than going safely and slowly.
It’s the same for us.
If we slow down to the speed of not making mistakes, we won’t get a lot of exciting work done.
But we can be sure we’ll never look stupid.
We’ll be invisible, but not stupid.
Have you ever shared a room with someone negative?
I’ve had art directors like that.
Absolutely brilliant craftsmen.
But every time you open your mouth to say something, they say, “It’s been done.”
Or, “We can’t say that because of the BACC.”
Or, “The client will never buy it.”
So we sit there in silence waiting for going-home time.
We’re all very sensible and safe.
Nobody did anything wrong, in fact nobody did anything.
The atmosphere in the room was like an exam.
Compared to other art directors I’ve shared a room with.
Guys who don’t mind looking silly.
They want to laugh, they don’t care if what we do is wrong.
For them the only question is, is it fun?
Guess which room has the higher energy level.
Guess which room produces more work.
Guess which room produces better work.
The rule for working together is keep it fun, keep it lively.
Imagine you’ve got a sign on the wall, saying:
“YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO REJECT AN IDEA.
YOU’RE ONLY ALLOWED TO IMPROVE ON IT.”
So, when the other guy says something, you can’t just say “No.”
You have to say, “Even better than that, how about if……”
And don’t sit there worrying all the time about getting it right.
That’s what the creative director is there for.
It’s his job to be right.
It’s your job to be exciting.
Of course everyone wants to do work that’s right and exciting.
But, in the real world, you often have to choose.
And there’s a simple rule for creatives.
It’s better to be wrong and exciting, than right and dull.