In the car with my 10 yr old daughter the other day, she asked me what Ego meant, one of her vocabulary words for the week.
I laughed. “Good question, I replied. What do you think it is?”
“I wouldn’t ask if I knew, mom.”
“Well, use it in a sentence, in context. You’ve heard the word enough to have an inkling what it means. And an inkling is as close as you’re going to get to defining an abstract like Ego.”
Her brows narrowed and I could see her pondering in the rear view mirror.
“My ego got hurt when Ms Brown told me I was singing flat this morning.” She paused. “And she really said that, mom.”
“Sorry. We’ll get back to that. OK? So Ego is feelings then?”
“Well, sorta, I guess. But not exactly. It’s more like how we see ourselves. To me, I’m a good singer. You can hurt my feelings by being mean to me. But you hurt my ego when you tell me I’m not how I think I am.”
“Do you think you were flat this morning in glee?”
“Well, yeah. When I listened I wasn’t hitting the notes sometimes. I guess I’m not such a good singer.”
“Ah, but you could be, if you practiced singing. And not the perpetual humming you do, but really practiced, daily—sing along with your favorites, or sing the notes when you practice piano.” I glimpsed her rolling her eyes at my suggestions in the rear view mirror. “Being a good singer doesn’t happen inside your head. What is the only way to really get good at anything?” (One of my many canonical refrains.)
“Practice, mom.” She sighed.
I sighed. “My beautiful daughter, I think your explanation for Ego is excellent—it’s how we see ourselves. Ego is an idea, even an ideal—who we want to be, but generally are not. We are what we do, my dear” (another of my refrains). “If you want to be a good singer, you’re going to have to practice becoming one.”
“So you don’t think I’m a good singer,” she asked woefully.
“Were still talking about defining Ego here, right?”
“Yeah. And my ego says I’m a good singer now, mom. So is ego always fake, just pretend inside our heads?”
“You tell me. Do you think our ego ever gives us an accurate depiction—paints a real picture of how we operate, how we act, what we do in the real world?”
“Probably not.” She sighed again, deflated. “Just cuz you think you’re good, or talented, or special doesn’t mean you actually are to anyone besides yourself, except if you’re famous. When you’re famous, it’s not just ego, you know you’re good.”
“Really? So, there’s a famous chef, recognized for his delicious creations. As you noted, it’s not just his ego talking that’s telling him he’s a good chef. He has 1.7 million dedicated followers on Instagram. He decides to create a new dish, and serves it to five friends. And all five hate the meal. The combination of flavors tastes just terrible. So, is the guy delusional that he’s a good chef—it’s just his ego talking—or is he really good?
My daughter considered my little tale carefully before answering. “Well, if he thought of himself as a great chef with everything he made, then his delusion was that he could be good all the time, that everything he created would be a masterpiece.”
“So then, is ego ever an accurate depiction of self?”
“I guess not. Just like there is no such thing as smart, mom.” She quoted another of my canonical refrains. Her bright smile in the rear view mirror lit up my world.
My DH and I NEVER tell our kids they’re smart. In fact, when other people do, we smile politely, turn away and snicker. Our kids are consistently at the top of their classes because they work at it. A lot. There is no such thing as smart, we preach. Smart is an abstract, merely an idea, a concept, like democracy, or potential, or ego. Smart is as smart does.
It is not our potential, or what we believe, or believe in that defines us. Our ego guarantees that none of us are who we imagine ourselves to be—good or bad. Regardless of what your ego tells you, you will never be more then the choices you make and the actions those choices lead you take.
We are what we DO.
You are invited to join us Thursday, March 25, @ 7:00 p.m.
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Had an interview for a Copywriting contract that required a ‘test.’
Here’s the ‘test:’
Create five (5) YouTube Channels that can “go viral,” which, according to this ‘digital marketing agency’ was “20 million views in one week,” with these prompts:
- Create a “Seek and Find” YouTube channel.
- Create a “Mouse Maze” YouTube channel.
- Create a [tween] YouTube channel: “Imagine you are 13 and develop a superpower…”.
I stopped reading the “Test Deliverables” after that because this agency asked for a total of 5 unique YouTube channel ideas, their only instruction to create channels to “go viral, with 20M views weekly.” I hope the absurdity of this request is not lost on you, since about .03% of all YouTube Channels get 1M+ views on any given video.
And remember, this is a Copywriting ‘test,’ not a product development gig, which, seemingly, this marketing agency does not know a BRANDED YouTube channel actually is a product offering, and should be developed and marketed accordingly.
Five, free, viable YouTube channel ideas requiring little copy—this agency did stress an ‘attention-grabbing’ visual—including thumbnail layouts and storyboard drawings. Oh, and they required I sign an NDA saying that whatever I came up with on their ‘test’ was theirs to keep. Five (5). Free Channel ideas. Per applicant.
Their ‘test’ gave no OBJECTIVE for creating these channels—no sales goals for any company, or the channel itself to realize profitability. No reason for asking applicants to create these brain dead types of channels, other than the unmentionable of making the user the PRODUCT by selling their data, then slamming those same users with pay-per-click ads on every webpage visited forward.
The prompts in their ‘test’ were pulled from the latest trending crap on YouTube. The agency asked applicants to pile on more intellectually void baseline garbage to these senseless trending channels, following the Fire, Aim, Ready marketing method of business failure. Clearly this ‘marketing’ agency doesn’t really understand, well, marketing, assuming they were really looking for a copywriter, and not just garnering free content ideas. There are three business MARKETING reasons (not personal, ego-building social sharing) for a YouTube Channel:
- As a marketing/branding channel for a business.
- As a data collection tool for tightly targeting future marketing campaigns.
- Selling collected data to Affliate Marketing brokers.
Applicants for this copywriting gig were not asked to market an offering of value, nor to build a marketing campaign (or YouTube channel) for any specific targets, nor did they instruct applicants to actually create and MARKET (i.e. BRAND) a YouTube channel for any specific business. They are under the delusion if they just get “views,” they’ll get sales, which data shows is a lie (https://freakonomics.com/podcast/advertising-part-2/), promoted by these very ‘digital marketing’ agencies to get clients. (https://www.ippglobal.org/post/truth-about-data-science)
Of course, after reading their ‘test,’ I turned down the prospect of consulting for them. I felt angry though, that they were not only asking for free, unique IP, but also the IP they were asking for was truly thoughtless, flat out bad marketing, sure to put more ‘digital’ garbage on the ever mounting pile of crap already on YouTube. To quell my anger, with my rejection of consulting for their agency, I included an answer to their first prompt:
Create a “Hide & Seek” YouTube Channel:
A Year of Free Beer for Finding NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER.
AR (augmented reality) game to find the bottle of famous IPA BEER (or any other idiotic thing that’s trending). Everyone 21 or older with mobile can play. AR has NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER bottles in places around each major cities, but also standard beer bottles, and area sports team logos, (even cross-sell with image placements) that ‘lead’ you to the ‘right IPA.’ First to find NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER (in any given round, which may be a week or more per round) to collect all that global data, (which then can be sold to screw us all further), wins the free beer for a year, every month getting new IPA flavors.
The TARGET USERS of this YouTube Channel will be:
- Lowest hanging target is the sudo-intellectual, over-educated ivy-league crowd, mostly White men; Christians, Jews, Agnostics—higher education levels; MMORPG, FPS, and MOD gamer; Software, Marketing, Admin, Finance; STEAM; democrats; mid – upper income; 21 – 60.
- Lazy, generally fat, FPS gamers, beer and sports-loving men. White mostly. Conservatives. Apatheist, Christians; low – mid income; blue-collar job; pensions; 18 – 65.