Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's coming up on a year since I've been out on my own and I can feel it somehow. It feels like a cycle is ending, with many events seeming to mark it. I am speaking tonight at an AIGA event about my favorite topic, story. The Oregon Humanities work is launching. We're finishing up with three, or six, short films, and they came out very nice, I think. Simple, thoughtful little films about the power of ideas, how new ideas lead us forward. I may show one or two tonight. Tomorrow I am going down to have a meeting with the Wiki dudes about a very exciting idea. In two weeks my friends from IDRI are coming down to Portland to hear an idea, the culmination of six months of work. It's an abundant time, and I'm appreciating it, all the way.

The most wonderful thing about the last year has been the how and the why as much as the what. I have gotten to apply some 12 lessons out in the world and darned if they don't hold up. The relationship with "clients" has been transformative. I feel uncomfortable even calling them clients. Partners? Part of the team? I know, ick, sounds like something on a brochure, but it's real: I traded the rectangular table for a circular one and that has made all the difference.

As far as the why, if one of my realizations from the last year is that I am a storyteller, the other is that it only works if I have a good story to tell. My work has to be in service to a vision or purpose, or it's no good. More details on that tonight at the AIGA thing.


Ashly Stewart said...

Good luck tonight Jelly! Wish I could come, I would love to see your stuff.

I love the part about "I traded the rectangle table for a circular one and that has made all the difference."

Very excited for you.

Jesse V as in victory said...

Jelly, congratulations on inspiring the crowd last night and for your recent work with Oregon's beautiful and very smart. I never got to meet you personally--and I actually wanted to save much of this until I did, but I can't. It's just too good to keep inside.

What's funny about your event last night is that, although you professed not to have any answers, I still expected to take at least a few notes. I took very little and instead just listened. It occurred to me that you're the type of guy/teacher that allows his audience to feel what he's saying, not to study it...and that's way more powerful. That's the stuff that really gels with people. You don't wield academic terms and adspeak, but a common way of being that's highly relatable and so refreshingly human.

Lastly, I want to thank you for giving us (me really) hope. That you can in fact follow your heart--making a risky decision to leave a comfortable space--and still be successful and more importantly, happy. I'll drink to that!

Now if only more companies would get that it's about their story (their reason for being) first and everything else (mindshare, sales, loyalty and fanship) will certainly follow.

I guess it'll have to be up to us as storytellers to convince them. And that I believe will comprise a large portion of my own story. My true purpose.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Tis the season of the magratory stop of the almost famous Vaux's Swifts. They offer a magical display of aeronautic excellence rarely matched in our natural world. See them on You Tube or in person each evening at the Chapman School in West Portland. Better hurry, it won't last much longer. If you've never witnessed this, you are in for a treat. Better show up about 1 1/2 hours before sunset to stake out a nice viewing spot. Bring a meal, lawn chairs, and friends and be ready to be entertained.

I'm Jelly said...

That was a good night. So far out that the tweetosphere/blogosphere makes "the buzz" so immediately visible...

Thanks Meg and Case...

And thanks to all who came out.