10 Things I Learned or Relearned This Year

Inspired by the series of posts on The Denver Egotist

1. As the head of my own shop, no matter what my title, skill set or background, I work in account service.

2. Being known for more than one thing asks too much of people, who greatly prefer to associate you with one thing. For many people, I am David Burn, Editor of AdPulp, not David Burn the copywriter/brand builder who actually practices the things he writes about. That’s a script in need of flipping.

3. There are going to be times when you write it, do it or speak it and no one will come. I learned that a number of times this year…when I conducted a slow-going fundraising campaign for AdPulp, when I spoke to a tiny audience, instead of a roomful of eager marketing execs at DMA in Boston last fall, and when I launched a paid email newsletter and discovered that signing up paid subscribers, even at the lowly rate of $1.00/month was going to be difficult in the extreme.

4. Money doesn’t foster happiness. Building things (brands included) that people love does.

5. A measure of restraint is necessary to achieve digital balance. That’s why I am cutting back my content output by discontinuing the aforementioned email newsletter, along with two blogs, Liquid Oregon and Leftover Cheese. It is time to focus on what really matters–things like building a business, making time for my family and friends, and writing more durable material.

6. Email and social media are poor excuses for a conversational platform. If you want to advance the ball and get things done, get on the phone, get on a plane or do whatever is necessary to actually talk, one-to-one and face-to-face.

7. Moving from an iPhone to an Android phone is not for me; however, moving from urban Portland to suburban Portland is.

8. This is how personal and brand identity works…You project your reality and people serve their versions of it back to you. Then the process repeats itself, over and over.

9. Ideas are wonderful. But follow through is everything.

10. You can travel the Oregon Trail at 75 mph today, but it’s still an act of faith to move here, and a further act of faith to set up shop in a new city. There’s no denying then, that I a man of faith.

Previously on AdPulp: Front Range Creatives Reflect On Lessons Learned In 2011



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.