Satire vs. Business

A few posts aligned for me the same day recently. First, via Subtraction was the Generic Brand Video made from the original McSweeney’s article:

Video caption: This Is a Generic Brand Video is a generic brand video of “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” written by Kendra Eash for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. No surprise, it’s made entirely with stock footage. All video clips used are from

Then the satire of The (let’s call him) ‘Creative’ Expert in a meeting with jobsworth middle management types:

Video caption: Funny business meeting illustrating how hard it is for an engineer to fit into the corporate world!

Next, from the ’Whatever goes up, that’s what we do’ post from Dustin Curtis, was the quote from a “supposed Facebook employee complaining in a San Francisco coffee shop”:

We’re blind. It doesn’t matter what any individual person thinks about something new. Everything must be tested. It’s feature echolocation: we throw out an idea, and when the data comes back we look at the numbers. Whatever goes up, that’s what we do. We are slaves to the numbers. We don’t operate around innovation. We only optimize. We do what goes up.

And finally the ’Mark Zuckerberg, the Warren Buffett of Technology?’ article linked to by John Gurber, though just for the title really, and the fact that such a comparison is in any way warranted (pardon the near pun).

The alignment, or more the theme for me is the creatives’ recurring perspective that they know best, so much so that they compose confident satires of common practices, allege the stupidity of those too blind to see their truth, or grumble openly, as if wisely, about the practice one of the most valuable and powerful brands in the world.

This is not to say that all or any such satire of ‘business’ is unfounded. The classic ’Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations’ video for example resonates with me more than my favourite song. So perfect in its lampooning, yet succinct at illustrating inappropriate professional behaviour.

So, while I see the relative merit of the videos above, and feel the frustration of a creative working in a company where ideas are measured so directly against return, I also sadly recognise that business is about money and that it will only do things that are proven to make some.

I don’t really like this. But I know it. And as a creative that runs a business, that works for other businesses, I have to understand the domain I am in rather than moaning about it. Better yet, I have to identify my creative beliefs and find a way that they can work in the business domain.

The task of a creative in any business is to use their ability…

If you’re unhappy with that? Then get out of the industry. Get out of all industries. Become an artist.