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Arts & Entertainment

How to Start an Agency, Specifically This One

Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein

Lesson time 10:39 min

To close, Jeff and Rich explain the importance of cultivating a company culture that embraces freedom and encourages forgiveness so your team can do their best work.

Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein
Teach Advertising and Creativity
Advertising icons Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein teach you how to break rules, change minds, and create the best work of your life.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] JEFF GOODBY: How to start an agency, specifically this one? - Rule number one, don't start it unless you trust the person next to you. - - I trust him with my life. He gets me. I get him. That's a good start. - You'll learn more than that. - [MUSIC PLAYING] Goodby, Silverstein is complicated. It's many things. It's personalities. It's heart. It's intelligence. It's storytelling. It's humor. Oh my god. It's not an advertising agency. It's about how do we communicate to people. - It's an opportunity for people to communicate things that they think and feel about the world. And we do use those things for commercial purposes, obviously. But I think that the most important thing is that they actually are true and they connect to people on the outside. If it just happened here and it was just inside this place, I don't think it would be the same. We talk about that a lot here. We talk about the inside reflecting the outside. How is the inside like the outside? So we try to have a diverse staff. We have-- half of our partners are women. That made a really big difference in our company-- half of the partners are women-- and our productivity went up like crazy. I think one of the other important things here, besides pointing out that the inside is like the outside, is that we celebrate the people that are here. You can see, there are beautiful pictures of our people and the dogs that are here, frankly. We have 42 dogs in the office every day. And that, I think, adds a lot to the casual kind of feeling of what we do here, and strangely, helps the creativity. When clients come here, it's on California Street. There are cable cars in front of it. It's on a big hill. It's exactly what you think San Francisco's supposed to look like. And that's actually been a really positive thing for us. [MUSIC PLAYING] Forgiveness is important to creative work, because we're all insecure people. The thing that makes you a creative person, I think, is a certain openness about life. And openness, often, you make mistakes when you're too open. You blurt things out. You do silly things. Many times we're dealing with people that are eccentric, you know? And they make mistakes. And you have to be able to forgive those people. - You have to set up a place where you can be open enough to say something that is kind of silly or stupid or wrong, and people go, "Oh, OK," and we move on. It's not a corporate environment. I can't imagine what that feels like. I can't imagine being afraid of what to say. No one should be afraid of saying anything in this company. - And we have structure. I think whenever we've had a problem, it's usually when somebody was too passionate, and believed in something too deeply, and forced it on a bunch of other people, you know, made a scene at a shoot, made a scene at a meeting, was too forceful, too aggressive. - But you know, on the other hand, we are so resp...

Create the big ideas of tomorrow

As the minds behind the “got milk?” campaign, the Budweiser lizards, and countless other ads that have permeated pop culture, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein never stop reimagining the possibilities of advertising. Now they’re sharing how they make the beautiful and edgy work that’s seen by millions. Learn how to come up with great ideas, tell funny and compelling stories, and dazzle at your next pitch or presentation.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Being authentic and honest. Helpful tips on being aware and being inspired by your environment.

Enjoyed the class. Pretty focused on big agency work, which make sense, but made it a little less useful to me.

Telling a 30 second story can apply to social media work I do--that was gold!

This was FANTASTIC> great information! really got my creativity flowing>>>>>


A fellow student

Will watch many times over. It was so inspiring and contagious to hear how authentic and creative communication can be in so many ways at so many levels.

A fellow student

As a business owner, I am glad to see you believe humor is the key to great advertising.

Chuck K.

I was looking for inspiration and I found it. The take on advertising really just being about communication and truth really resonated. Loved it. Great class.

Ruth W.

Inspiring collaborators and company. Takes the yuck factor out of advertising Crazy cool !

Florencia A.

I highly recommend this masterclass even if you not in advertising, it is about communications, passion, respect, and creativity

Cynthia V.

A lot -- highly recommend this masterclass to all aspiring creatives, as well as those who are pausing for a moment. We all want to be on this team!

Caitlin B.

This MasterClass make me want to create video ads for my business. It was interesting and entertaining, but not a workshop like some students might want.

A fellow student

Jeffy Goodby & Rich Silverstein have changed me for the better. Before the class, I did not know where to point my career. I was not even sure what type of job to pursue. I have a handful of talents in creative disciplines. My problem was I never sharpened, or honed, or polished, or even a fourth thing my skillset. I have no business degree or friends in advertising. Seeing these two guys being frank with how things are made me think that advertising is not such a bad place to be. The two masters (or is it teachers? Or maybe a third thing) built careers by being clever and working with others. Now that sounds like something I can do, especially the second thing. I am smarter from watching this and smiling to boot. First thing in the morning I will apply to a new job in this very field. Thank you.

Siddiq A.

I enjoyed this class. It has reiterated the need to be able to tell stories, listen and experience things and be true to yourself. Giving back to your community is also extremely exciting and liberating

Jake C.

Learned so much. Makes me question why I went to college in the first place