#2 Gary Brown: “Beware the cult of entrepreneurism”

Podcast outro song: Double Life, by HASH / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

I had the opportunity & good fortune to interview Gary Brown, Executive Chairman & founder of Target McConnells, one of Ireland’s largest advertising & direct marketing agencies. He’s an insightful (and funny) guy.

Gary BrownGary Brown founded Target Marketing in Ireland in 1990, and rapidly transformed his company into one of the most decorated direct marketing agencies in Ireland. In 2005, Target Marketing became the first Irish and UK agency ever to win the prestigious Diamond Echo award from the Direct Marketing Association. In 2011, Gary merged his company with McConnells Advertising to form Target McConnells, which is now one of the biggest advertising and marketing agencies in Ireland. Gary is also a former League of Ireland soccer player and the former chairman of the Shelbourne Football Club. And on top of all that, Gary helped launch the music careers of Damien Rice and Bell X1. I discovered Gary because he recently wrote a pointed and very funny essay called Beware the Cult of Entrepreneurism, which we talk about in this episode.

Show notes

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  1. G Money says

    I’m not going to bust your balls here, PDP, that was a fine interview. But I do want to ask you a question that a wise guy once asked a friend of mine: Once you’ve stripped everybody of their delusions, what do you offer them in exchange? Because it’s not like there are suddenly going to be enough good jobs for everybody if they just stop chasing mirages and become realistic. At least now they can dream before they fail!

    • says

      Great question. Here’s my answer, with deepest apologies to that friend of yours:

      First of all, much of my prescription, if you want to call it that, is that we take clearer stock of the problem itself. Because if we step back and say, ‘wait a minute, just what are we taking to be true/real/meaningful that perhaps we shouldn’t?’ that initiates a process of questioning and digging that will lead us to more satisfying alternatives. That’s my disposition in a nutshell, and it’s the beginning of a journey, not a final destination. So when you ask me what I’m offering people, you are, to some extent, asking me to leap past all that questioning and digging and present some nugget of an absolute answer, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here.

      That said, if we made this process of interrogating our beliefs, myths, and practices a priority—if we took the quest for the truth as something worth putting first, instead of near the end of a very long line—that itself is a replacement ethic. And the immediate result is that all the “bullshit” that presently flies under our radar without being named as “bullshit” gets busted as, well, bullshit. And that bears very practical fruits—including, say, all the people who might no longer get fleeced at “Success!” seminars and by people peddling the “power of positive thinking.” (Don’t miss the next episode of Entrepreneur Explosion!)

      But here’s the main thing: I’m doing what I’m doing for intrinsic reasons. What happens beyond that is a secondary concern. In other words, sure I’d like a huge audience for this site, and maybe a book deal, and maybe that book becomes a bestseller that lets me give speeches for 30 grand a pop to audiences somewhat more respectful than the mobs I’ve encountered recently in Wichita Falls and Milwaukee. But I’m not doing this for that. I’m prepared for much likelier and much more humble outcomes, and won’t be surprised by them. That’s the difference. I’m not going to wind up at the end of all this going, wtf, I thought if I did what I love, the money would follow?! I know that is bullshit, and that that kind of success is like the pull of a slot machine handle. But there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t know that, and that is a preventable error. That’s why I’m doing this.

      • G Money says

        I guess the joke’s on me for expecting original thoughts from someone pretending to be someone else. My friend’s attorneys will be in touch. G Money out!

        • says

          Don’t think of that as plagiarism; instead, call it “aggregation.” Or “re-purposing.” Or even better: “curation.”

          I mean, why struggle to come up with an original way to express an idea that was previously expressed so eloquently by someone else?

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