The truth is I fell out of love with corporate consultancy a little over a decade ago. I simply couldn’t sit across walnut tables in boardrooms and talk bollocks for huge amounts of money anymore. I now know the book I published in 2003, The Death of Spin (Wiley), was a cry for help, a 258-page suicide note for a brief though lucrative career in PR.
I took the money and ran. Happily, PR then seemed to be dying more quickly than my career in it – and m’learned colleague Robert Phillips had drafted its obituary elsewhere with far greater insight than I could ever muster. Like any disease, it’s hard to see when the terminal phase kicked in, but 2008 is a reasonable guess, when capitalism’s window-dressers could no longer conceal the rentier class who raided our tills. We pressed our noses to the glass in astonishment and despair.
“We have no fear as the rotting corpse of PR comes pawing at our windows, looking to tear us apart.”
They’re still at it of course. Corporates will still need their reputations managed and egos massaged, financial services will still need help selling people crap they don’t need, and the whole ditzy, networky, ring-bound strategic, blogosphere buzz and pointless conference of bores and freeloaders turns like a carousel on which ageing PRs ride gilded dinosaurs.
That’s why this is called Revolutionary Times. See what we did there? Revolutionary is not only the overthrowing of an old order, but also something that goes round and round. And what goes around, comes around. We need to be vigilant that the zombie clients and the PR undead don’t come for us. We won’t get fooled again.
We’re holed up at Jericho Chambers, a collection of bright people who know there’s an alternative, a better way to do business, changing the way the world works. Not, as it happens, by talking bollocks but by changing the way corporates behave, dealing in actions not words, rejecting the notion that there is no higher human purpose than how we communicate. We have no fear as the rotting corpse of PR comes pawing at our windows, looking to tear us apart. We have plenty to sustain us within – and a good cellar if the zombies break in.