Hiring New Digital Talent vs. Retraining Traditional Counterparts or Why I Won't Be Working for AKQA Anytime Soon…

Arthur Golden, Massachusetts/Geisha, Japan     

Arthur Golden, Massachusetts/Geisha, Japan

Suzanne Vranica of the Wall Street Journal moderated a panel at ad:tech New York at the beginning of the month featuring Sean Finnegan, President of Starcom MediaVest, Richard Guest, Managing Director of Tribal DDB New York and Tom Bedecarre, CEO of AKQA.  The subject turned to recruiting digital talent.  Mr. Finnegan and Mr. Guest both weighed in on the side that integrating traditionally-trained agency people into their digital organizations can prove very valuable.  God bless them both…

But Mr. Bedecarre only believes in youth.  “Young people who are coming up in the industry are so naturally cross-platform savvy,” he said. “All this digital technology is human nature to young people. So I think we’ll have more luck training new people than retraining old people.”

Tom.  Tom, Tom, Tom…  I’m sure you’re a nice fella.  Maybe you contribute to the Sierra Club or take soup to shut-ins or perform some other noble service out of the goodness of your heart.  But that comment is just plain silly and short-sighted.  Creativity is creativity, and it’s best measured by the boundaries of the  imagination, not the technicalities of engineering and interfaces.

I have two words for you: “Arthur Golden.”  Remember him?  At the ripe old age of 40, this Jewish father of two from Massachusetts wrote Memoirs of a Geisha: a first-person account of a woman’s journey from a rural fishing village in depressed pre-WWII Japan into the elaborately ritualistic life of a geisha in Gion.  How’d he do something like that Tommy?  How could a white guy from America create such a compellingly vivid and believable account of someone from such a vastly alien culture?

I bet it’s because Arthur is curious, creative and driven.

Those character traits could probably make Arthur a good digital creative too.  And he’s waaaay over thirty.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

tom wilson says:

Also very funny coming from someone who is also traditionally trained in old school advertising. He used to own a San Francisco shop called Citron Haligman Bedecarre. So I guess he should fire himself and hire a young cross platform savvy kid in his place.