Who are my influences?
This is a good question. I feel I’ve had a varied tapestry of influences that have turned me into the character I am and as an extension of that the type of businessman I’ve become. I’m not going to include any family or friends on this list because they’ve all influenced me and they know who they are. Instead, I will pick only those in the public eye who have impressed me and swayed my way of thinking to an extent. This list is not ordered in any way; I don’t think it’s possible to rank so many varied people from different worlds. My aim for this is possibly to understand myself better, but also I hope to inspire other people to write similar articles so I can read about more awesome people I should know about.
Bill Hicks changed my opinion on pretty much everything. I got into politics after George Bush 2 got into office, 9/11 and the Iraq war. Then I listened to Bill Hicks. He described himself as Chomsky with dick jokes. He was always self-deprecating yet had a swagger to his demeanour. I met a fairly famous comedian once who said Hicks had ruined a generation of comedians who’d tried to copy him. What better compliment can a comedian receive? He had complete contempt for his audiences. As a fellow cocky son of a bitch, I respect that. He was highly political and extremely funny at a time in my life when I needed both of those things. I’m not sure he is my favourite comedian now but he is the one I am most fond of – if that makes any sense at all.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr
He’s an arrogant fuck. It’s damn near impossible to like his pretend personality unless you are also a narcissist sociopath. His personality is just for show though and he sells more tickets than anyone. He’s the best promoter in combat sports. He is the best and richest athlete on the planet today. Any football team or a basketball team or whatever team can lose games and it doesn’t really matter. A true prizefighter can’t lose many fights before he’s done. Floyd Mayweather Jnr is the best example of hard work and dedication metamorphosing into pure talent. He is unbeaten. So frequently, he doesn’t even lose rounds unless deliberately so. He infuriates talented, world-class boxers who can’t even touch him. To me, this is inspiring.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
It is rare that the first page of a novel makes you laugh so much you cry. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has the funniest first page of any book I have read. The rest of it – and his other books – are excellent too. A true eccentric – he lived by his own rules. He’s famed for being fired for writing out Hemmingway novels to “get the rhythm” whilst on the clock – that is dedication. He wouldn’t put on different hats. He had one personality for all people. I wish I could do that but it is very difficult. I’m not willing to make the sacrifices that come with this mode of living. I think this is why he has such a great writer. There was no pause or self-censorship. That was rare when he was alive and even rarer today.
Another fighter? This time it’s an amateur wrestler turned mixed martial artist. Now I know many of you will look down on this sport but it is actually just several Olympic sports rolled into one, several forms of wrestling, boxing, judo and taekwondo. Add to that the sports that are not in the Olympics you need to know such as Brazilian jujitsu and muai Thai kick boxing and you have yourself a pretty mentally and physically gruelling competition.
Chael Sonnen was not a famous fighter until he decided to market himself. He started talking and speaking his mind and he is absolutely hilarious. He’ll have comebacks, rhymes and incredible one-liners. Yet his personality in ‘promotion’ mode is vastly different to his very intelligent and erudite personality at other times. I disagree with him on pretty much every political stance he has but I think everyone should have friends on the other side of the isle. I won’t let his conservative views allow me to dislike him. In fact, he should do conservative talk radio because he’d be the only genuinely hilarious guy doing it.
Rory is the first advertising man to make the list. I will freely admit I do not know of the projects he has worked on in his long career but I have watched every single video of him on YouTube. I rarely go to marketing or advertising conferences as they frequently bore me to tears. As marketers and advertisers we should be witty and sharp but so often they are fantastic insomnia cures. The first video of his I saw was his famous Ted Talk “Lessons from an Ad Man” and immediately I wanted to get into public speaking. I’m not going to copy his style but I know it’s possible to talk about what we do and make it entertaining and educational. I hope one day I can match Mr Sutherland’s amazing capacity to combine these on stage.
I’m trying to get him on our first podcast and he may see this as my sycophantic attempt to charm him into doing this but this is not true.
That’s your lot
I’ve only added five people here and I think that is enough. I have been tempted to add more intellectuals to impress but I knew deep down they hadn’t really influenced my personality or way of thinking enough to deserve it. It would just be to show off which was not in the spirit of the article. I love George Orwell’s novels and rules of writing but has he influenced how I live week to week? No. I’m not going to give honourable mentions either because I think everyone deserves an explanation and that list would be too long – I’d likely be too tempted to add people I know I’m adding for vanity only.
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