Rob Estreitinho

🍣 How to empathise with 'bad' work

Published 2 months ago • 1 min read

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Hi friends – Rob here.

Years ago, i interviewed Zoe Scaman for Salmon Theory.

What a conversation that was!

In it, she said this:

"There’s often no clear delineation between advertising problems, organisational problems, product problems."

She was talking about the role her company Bodacious plays with organisations.

But it's a valuable lesson even if you don't run your own thing.

It bores me when people belittle others' work online.

It's not that their critiques aren't fair.

It's that they're not a full view of what happened.

They can't be.

They weren't in the room where decisions happened.

They didn't have to navigate the politics, egos, budget cuts.

It's helpful to remember that behind every "ok idea" was a good intention.

No one wakes up actively wanting to do sub-standard work.

Forgettable work is still forgettable work.

But being part of it shouldn't be an assault on merit.

Shipping something on time beats shipping nothing.

And i notice the fiercest critics don't seem to ship that much work at all these days.

They trade on LinkedIn content not creative comms.

So next time you see an ad, and you think it's not very good, ask yourself:

  1. What might have been the original thought behind this?
  2. What might have happened organisationally to compromise things?
  3. How would the people in charge still retain a sense of pride on what went out?

Curiosity over cynicism.

Making, not just moaning.

Don't just criticise the front stage stuff.

Empathise with the backstage stuff.


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Rob Estreitinho

Strategist, writer, co-conspirator

Founder, Salmon Labs. Publisher, Salmon Theory.

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