This is a Profile

Is It Worth It? Notes on Life and Career From a Late Adman


"So was it worth it? Well, of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling. No ultimate prize."

That's one conclusion drawn by Linds Redding in "A Short Lesson in Perspective," a 3,000-word essay the longtime creative executive wrote on his blog earlier this year, republished by the San Francisco Egotist. Redding was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last year. He died last month at age 52. The piece finds Redding—an art director, designer and animator—taking serious stock of his personal and professional life. He opens with "The Overnight Test," recounting how, in the early 1980s when his career began, he'd spend the day pinning campaign ideas to the office wall, returning the next morning with invaluable fresh perspective allowing him to gauge the true merit of his efforts and renewed enthusiasm for the projects at hand. Redding laments the subsequent technologically driven homogenization of creativity, arguing that creatives became—or more accurately, in his estimation, allowed themselves to become—abused by a system that exploited their propensity for putting in endless hours to generate and refine ideas, while receiving progressively fewer rewards in return.