Chuckin’ It

Kudos to Inc. for writing about the other guy (and original creative force) behind CP+B. I’m tired of seeing Alex Bogusky’s name up in lights.
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Since 1987, when Chuck Porter joined the Miami-based ad agency now known as Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, the firm has blossomed. Annual billings have increased tenfold, to the $500 million range. How did Porter and his three managing partners pull this off? By not managing much at all. “We always assumed that the people who came to work here were just as smart as we were,” Porter, 59, explains. “And we never really tried — in any traditional way — to manage people. Because I think that really good people are unmanageable to begin with.”
As a guiding philosophy, this sounds close to reckless, and Porter acknowledges that with almost 300 employees, a certain amount of hierarchy is inevitable. Still, he offers examples, large and small, of how this aversion to managing is balanced against the realities of growth. The agency’s newish home, a renovated movie theater in Coconut Grove, is a case in point. Porter’s instructions for the designer: “Do not design this thing for efficiency. Don’t put the printers next to the studio. Don’t put the broadcast department right next to the creative department. Put them in all different corners so everyone’s got to walk all through the joint every day.”

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://debowen.typepad.com/voce Deb

    Based on Porter’s quotes, I wish I could work there!
    I spoke more on it on my blog (debowen.typepad.com/voce), but it sounds like strong leadership and team-building to me.
    Even if it is an account guy.
    Now, to check out the other 25 entrepreneurs!
    All the best!
    deb

  • Crabby Appleton

    Since when has Chuck Porter been an account guy? Back in the late 80s/early 90s, he was the creative director. I know, I interviewed with that schmuck twice.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Oops. You are correct, Crabby (and I am wrong).
    Mr. Porter is a copywriter by trade. Not sure why I thought otherwsie.
    At any rate, he joined Crispin as a creative director in the late 80s, after 17 years as a freelance copywriter. He’s now the chairman and in that role may even wear a suit, once in a while. But that has yet to be confirmed.

  • http://debowen.typepad.com/voce Deb

    Well that explains a lot!!
    All the best!
    deb