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Blogs & Comment

Calling all riders of the unknown

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer, JWT MEA

“I was told once that people could be divided into two types: farmers and hunters. It’s a nice, neat way of cataloging people without getting all worked up about politically correct notions of gender, race, religion or ability to tell a canapé from a sofa. Farmers sit and wait for the rain to fall; hunters go out looking for prey. On reflection, and considering the readership of this esteemed publication, it would be more appropriate to describe them as Markzuckerbergers and Stevejobbers.

Markzuckerbergers, you see, are closely related to that old tribe of sheep-brained people called Billgaters. They share with them the DNA of people who follow studiously, then sit, study, analyse, and then go on to make a living out of the observations they collect. They are unable to progress unless you do; unless you move, make noise, act and react. Our activity is their rain: they collect it, consume it and, ultimately, harvest the effect it has on our environment and make their fortune out of it.

They are behaviourists, that lot. Their strength is in working out the way winds and seasons shape up and then putting down a plan of action accordingly. As a result, they end up being readers of patterns, activity and trends – astute followers, in other words, dependent on external factors and, regardless of whatever novel way they marshal what they reap, stuck in a sedentary mode of living that can hardly bring progress to humanity.

Stevejobbers, on the other hand, are riders of the unknown. Theirs is a mobile, nomadic, unsettled existence, fraught with danger and high on adrenaline. They depend on instinct and gambling, but mostly on vision, actual and metaphorical. When Stevejobbers read the wind, it is not to locate the nearest shelter: it is to position themselves in a place that is both lonely and full of potential. They plant their flag in uncharted territory, chewing on rare-cooked steak and then sit, smirking, while Markzuckerbergers catch up to claim the land as their own. Such is the balanced ecosystem in our industry but, worryingly, where the Stevejobbers are – alas – a dying breed.”

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