Success Is Being Good To Yourself

Alex Bogusky is offering some thoughts on success and how one pursuing an ad career might achieve it.

Don’t expect anyone else to be responsible for who you are or what you do.
The best people in the business are really decent people. All the awful backstabbing people you hear about are not the best people. They are all very average. And that kind of thing will never take you past being average.
I’ve known people that thought they needed to knock me down to get up the ladder. It rarely works that way because there is infinite room for success.

He has a bunch more to say on the subject, but the important words above truly resonate. The closer that I’ve come to the top in my career, the nicer and more balanced the people are. They don’t have the edge, or the bite that comes with bitter dissatisfaction.
As I think about my own journey through this business, I know I’ve tasted the stale fruits of mediocrity one too many times. And it hasn’t been good for me. So I’ll add to Bogusky’s advice by saying, hold out for the right job. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do. But I know from experience what happens once you’ve been tainted by compromise. You’re then perceived as someone who compromises, and that’s not what the great agencies want. They want someone with lots of ideas and the ability to see the best of those ideas through.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. that was cool. he should write a book. oh wait, he has.

  2. I think he’s up to three books now–BakedIn, Hoopla and The 9-Inch Diet.

  3. Two great quotes related to achieving success:
    1) good is the enemy of great
    2) 80% of success is showing up
    I like that Alex is starting to comment and “come out” more so than previous. His is a voice worth listening to.

  4. gee, steffan, how profound. are you capable of supplying an original thought?