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New career starts in September as chair of ad dept at Savannah College of Art & Design.

Just a bit of happy news in the Sullivan (and Whipple) household. Announced today the beginning of my second career. I’ve accepted an offer from the Savannah College of Art and Design to be the chair of their advertising department, startin’ this September.

I am crazy thrilled about it. For years, my favorite part of this business has been mentoring kids, teaching, lecturing, all that professor-y stuff – now I just get to do it full time.

SCAD isn’t new to me. I’ve been on their advisory board since 2009 and have spoken there a couple of times. Their Atlanta campus is extremely cool (they bought the HQ of some huge tech company that went bust right after they built this huge incredible building). But it’s the Savannah campus I’ll be calling home. I’ll be moving there with my wife and two boys (and two yellow labs) sometime this summer.

In the meantime, GSDM continues to employ me as I hand off duties to a really cool new person joining the agency in May (don’t think they’ve officially announced who it is yet). Plus I will be helping to recruit junior teams for a few open posts we have.

Also keeping me busy is the launch of my second book, a memoir titled Thirty Rooms to Hide In. Best description I can come up with is it’s sort of like The Shining, if it were a comedy. I’ll have a website up in a couple of weeks. Anyway, I hope you like it.
More later.

A short video of an ebook I hope to release in July.

The Shining, but as a comedy.” That’s about the best way I have to describe Thirty Rooms to Hide In. It’s partly about how my father went from being one of the world’s best orthopedic surgeons at the Mayo Clinic, to lying dead on a motel room floor in Georgia, a broken ashtray under his head. But it’s also about how my five brothers and I had a wildly fun, thoroughly dysfunctional time growing up at the foot of our father’s volcano. Dark humor was the coin of our realm. With the Beatles as true north on our compass of Cool, we made movies, started a rock & roll band, and wise-cracked our way though a grim landscape of our father’s insanity, Eisenhower’s Cold War, fallout shelters, and JFK’s assassination.

For now, I’m busy learning about ebooks and epublishing and e-everything. I’ll be putting up a site soon called I’m hoping to release the book on July 3rd — the 45th anniversary of my father’s death. (Scary music here – oooooooo-ooooooo.)

Musings On America’s Obsession With Winning.


Having been around the ad schools over the years, I’ve overheard conversations in the hallways and the computer labs.

“Dude! You know Bill? Yeah, he got into Goodby and I didn’t even get an email back from them. God, I suck.”

People, here’s the thing.

You probably don’t suck. It’s just that you’ve been raised in a culture that places a lot of emphasis on winning. “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” “Winners never quit…” and all the others.

Fact is, America has been obsessed with winning ever since we won first place in WW II. We copped a silver in the ’50s space race (damn Sputnik), but we came back and nailed the gold with Apollo 11. Ever since then, we’ve been all, “Who even remembers the second man on the moon?”

It seems we’ve left the grading system and become a pass-fail society; in fact, more like Winners/Failures.

“What? You didn’t get into Harvard? Just Notre Dame? Duuuude.”

“What?? You didn’t win the Super Bowl, just the AFL title? Ouch.”

So, students. Repeat after me:

“I did not get a job a offer at Goodby.

But I did get a job offer from (say) Shelby & Hammerstein in Chicago.

And they want to pay me for my ideas.

I am not stocking Bic pens on the shelves of Wal-Mart.

I have landed my first job in a creative industry.

From here, I can probably go anywhere.

Because I have a career now.

It has begun.”

So let us bless our friends who’ve landed jobs at the high-profile agencies. (The jobs come with some extra stress. Sure you want that?)

Let us be kind to ourselves and become “recovering perfectionists.”

Let us leave winning to Charlie Sheen.