Sometimes you start out as a graphic designer and end up a cheesemaker

By @nicolerosedion

In deciding what to write this blog about I thought about the obvious: talk about all the advertising wisdom Bob shared over drinks and also during his lecture at the AAF Reno luncheon. But then I thought, oh how boring? I’m not going to lie, the conversation I had with Bob really started to get interesting once we stopped talking about advertising.
It was myself, Megan Duggan (aka Megan Stanphill- also a current Ad2 member), three AAF Reno members and Bob Hoffman. The conversation started off with us (the audience) asking Bob (our entertainer) what his career has been like, how his clients are to deal with, what he think about specific advertising campaigns…etc. It was definitely interesting, but not different from much of what he talked about during his luncheon speech (although he did give us some juicy details about McDonald’s executives but I’m sworn to secrecy so don’t even ask). Everyone but Megan and I left and then it was three. Bob asked Megan what she wanted to do with her life and Megan said, “Honestly, I just want to be happy,” which led to a much more interesting conversation than the one we were having prior. From that conversation (after most people had left) I learned a few life lessons that I think can also be applied to advertising.

1. Life is unpredictable
Sometimes your company gets bought, or your concept gets scrapped or an employee screws you over. No matter what it is, be able to adapt to your scenario and shine. There will always be changes in the advertising world but as long as you stay true to your core concepts, you’ll be able to stay steady during those times.

2. Do what makes you happy
Sometimes you start out as a graphic designer and end up a cheese maker. Bob’s daughter went to school for art, interned at his company, did very well and now works on a farm as a cheesemaker. This is what makes her happy. Maybe your idea isn’t working? Don’t try to force it. Do what makes you feel good and your work quality and life happiness will benefit from it.

3. Do the right thing
In talking to Bob, I kept asking him what it’s like to be a CEO. Have you fired people? What’s it like? Bob told us some stories about bad employees and how he had to deal with them. From this I learned that it’s important to do the right thing, to show compassion but don’t get taken advantage of. Although this is mostly about dealing with employees, I think the same thing can be applied to coworkers and client relations in general. [Side note: on my way to listen to Bob’s talk at the AAF Luncheon I found a person’s wallet in the parking lot. I turned it into the Atlantis lost-and-found. I hope that lady found it!]

4. Don’t get caught up in the “next big thing”
In life, if you’re always worried about “the next big thing” you’re never really living in the now. This will only make you constantly worried for the future or nostalgic about the past. That’s no way to live. The same applies to advertising. Trends will come and go, new technologies will arise, but good advertising has remained a constant.

About the Author

- Nicole is a small girl with a big passion for helping businesses engage with their customers. Social media savvy and gifted in graphic design, Nicole has the versatile skills necessary to head up a full-fledged multi-media campaign. Whether it is writing a client’s blog post, building Wikipedia pages, creating custom tabs for Facebook or designing a website, she can do anything you throw at her. If she doesn’t know how to do it yet, she’ll figure out a way to get it done. She likes art, design, getting her nerdiness on and creativity in general. Digital Communications at The Abbi Agency


  1. Jenna
    Jan 29, 2013

    I wasn’t able to make it to the event, but I really enjoyed your last point. Especially with trend of the “new big thing” rolling out almost daily and the relatively short shelf life of some of those products and services.

    • Nicole Dion
      Jan 29, 2013

      Thanks Jenna! He expanded upon that a lot during his luncheon talk. I recommend checking out his blog The Ad Contrarian for more.

  2. bob hoffman
    Jan 30, 2013


    It was a pleasure meeting and talking to you. Also a pleasure reading your lovely account of our conversation.