Steve Jobs killed the compact disc. Henry Ford killed the horse & buggy.
Now ex-Havas CEO David Jones may be about to do the same to the ad agency.
He has raised the enormous sum of $350 million to set up a global "brand tech" company that will build brands using technology. His plans are a little vague at the moment, but he is adamant that "Everything that the traditional model does, we will do the opposite."
I've written before about the need for a new agency model - let's face it, this is an urgent problem - so props to Jones. He's going for it.
And I applaud his focus on technology. No one knows exactly what the evolution of the agency model will look like, but we have to assume that technology will play a big role.
However, like anyone touting a new model, Jones is obliged to say that the old model is shit.
Therefore, he lays a out a damning series of accusations against the agency business.
Are they justified?
Let's take a look.
"I’d rather give 100,000 film-makers $10,000 and the opportunity to create content than give one overpaid, under-talented creative director $1 million," he says.
Hmm. Maths may not be his strong suit. If you give $10,000 to 100,000 film-makers, you've actually spent $1 BILLION, not $1 million. (I'll be charitable and assume it's the journalist's mistake, not Jones's).
But the idea that there is an under-talented creative director out there earning $1 million is just laughable. You simply can't get to that figure in our industry, or even a third of that figure, without being insanely talented.
Here's his next criticism of ad agencies: "You could only create if you were one of the 10 per cent of the agency that were in the creative department," Jones says. "In fact, if anybody outside of that 10 per cent had an idea, it was automatically the dumbest idea on the planet."
So, so, so, much wrong with this. So much. First of all, why the hell was he running an agency in which only 10 per cent of the staff were creatives? No wonder he wasn't impressed with them. They were probably run ragged...
But the bit about how you could 'only' create if you were in the creative department? So annoying.
I'm a CD and my whole job is to deliver good ideas to my clients. I'm always on the hunt for ideas. I'm desperate for more ideas, better ideas, different ideas. And there is nothing stopping the suits and planners from coming up with ideas. In fact, in my experience, they do continually make suggestions. Not usually fully-formed ideas, but 'ways in', thought-starters, and 'angles' - which is as it should be.
The suggestion that any ideas from outside the creative department are considered automatically dumb... I've heard this one so many times, it's really starting to tweak my wiener. I definitely don't care where ideas come from. Why would I? Gold is gold, and whoever puts it on the table, I will take it straight to the bank, believe me.
I think what happened to David Jones is that he suggested an idea, it got rejected, and he assumed it was rejected because he was an account man. Easier to think that, perhaps, than to accept that the idea wasn't very good.
The typical creative team might have to put up ten, twenty, thirty or fifty ideas to get one the CD thinks is good enough to show the client. It ain't easy.
And despite his good intentions, I worry that David Jones thinks it is.