I can’t help noticing how all these big institutions I grew up and started my career with, all seem to be big ol’ dumpster fires these days.

Washington is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Social Media is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Advertising is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Ad tech is an even bigger dumpster fire.

As China gears up for world domination, America is arguing about transgender bathrooms i.e. it’s a big ol’ dumpster fire.

The European Union is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Brexit is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Silicon Valley is a big ol’ dumpster fire, or if it isn’t, it’s certainly working on it.

Even Star Wars is is a big ol’ dumpster fire.

Big ol’ dumpster fires, everywhere you look.

But counter-intuitively, that means good news for some of us. That means opportunity.

The world may be on fire, but the need for the good stuff- finding meaning, mattering, making a difference, making art, being in the zone etc- is still as strong as it ever was, perhaps more so.

Eventually the flames will die out, as they always do. Which means, while the Mr and Mrs Dumpster Fire are busy checking their Facebook, Mr and Mrs Phoenix are rising from the ashes, discovering new lives and new worlds and new possibilities in the process.

(On that note, now would be a good time to quote Kipling. Enjoy:)

“IF” by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936):

If you can keep your head when all about you   

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!