So a lot of stars aligned last night.
Back in 1994 I was living in LA and working for various ad agencies. I worked full time and freelanced for a lot of LA agencies, large and small. I even registered the name McMann & Tate (as in Bewitched) so I could wear “McMann & Tate” on my nametags at ad events around town.
Well, I was bored. I wanted out of LA and started the hunt for a new city with a healthy ad biz. I was looking from San Diego to Washington when a friend and mentor, John Carter, mentioned Austin. I was working with him on various projects in my LA agency and he’d been working with an agency in Austin who was looking for a Creative Director.
He set me up with a call to Rob McEwen, owner of an Austin agency called M2K.
I called him on a Thursday. Loree and I flew out to Austin that Sunday. I accepted the job on Monday and was living here within a month. It was that fast.
That was back in 1994 and I spent nearly three years there before leaving to start The Ad Ranch.
Well, eventually Rob moved back to New Zealand, John moved around, got married and we’d occasionally talk.
But last night everyone was in Austin at the same time, so we all had dinner at our house.
It was a great evening full of Ad Guy talk. We talked about old clients, old pitches and our love for this bizarre business. We talked about what makes for a good or bad client and how an agency should maintain it’s integrity in the face of bad client behavior.
We talked. And talked. And talked.
And at one point I realized how little things can have a huge effect on lives.
Had John not had a conversation with Rob about his need for a Creative Director.
And had John and I not talked about my desire to live somewhere else…
And had we not seen a beautiful house we could could actually afford in Austin…
Well, we might still be living in that little box of a house in Long Beach. We got to Austin in time to watch the internet bubble expand far beyond what anyone could have imagine. We landed in a great, high energy but comfortable and laid back city. We raised our kids here and built a great life.
All from a few short conversations from the folks that sat on our deck last night.
The moral of the story? Maybe it’s simple.
When you see a road, take it.