On Being An Owner

Darryl Ohrt, writing for Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary, discusses the reasons that led him to sell his agency to Source Marketing (Plaid is now called Humongo).
One of his reasons: ownership was no longer important to him.

I started my agency because I had always wanted to own my own business, the reason I show up at the office today is very different. I own the agency because it affords me the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do. A decade ago, I could not have walked into another shop and become the leader. I created this opportunity for myself because it did not exist elsewhere. Now that I’ve built that experience, ownership isn’t important. Instead, I value continued learning, new experiences, bigger projects, financial rewards and FUN. None of those things require ownership.

I can relate to where Ohrt was when he opened Plaid. While I might be qualified to lead the creative department in some shops, I want to do more than that. I want to own the client relationships. And I want to set the direction for the firm, which in my case, means doing more than serving clients’ communications needs. It means creation of original content. It means we’re in the media business, and advertising.



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.