The conversation below took place in the early 2000s, on an afternoon walk with a friend across Harvard Yard. Lisa and I shared an apartment unit on Calvin Street, some thirty minutes away from campus. We were on our way home after a huge lunch at Pho Pasteur.
“So, what’s your Plan B?”
I shrugged: “Don’t have one.”
“Huh. Okay, I still think you should have a Plan B.”
I was in my early twenties, and I had expressed to her my dream of one day becoming a writer. Someone whose existence is devoted entirely to publishing books and making the rounds at lit festivals.
Well, I'm 40 now and I’ve never had a Plan B. I never knew how to make one, because I was taught it is always better to know what you stand for than where you are going; and it is always better to understand what you're made of than who you want to be.
My parents were both dreamers who made things happen because they believed in themselves; not because they were good at making extra plans. They each started their own business at a fairly young age and there were plenty of moments when their plan crashed, but they would rebuild their dream again the next day without missing a beat. They didn't have a Plan B, either.
Being the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of B/NDL Studios, a creative consulting firm, which provides creative services to a wide range of businesses, brands and companies was not part of any particular plan, but it is the road I had taken. I already did my rounds at lit festivals, and I had published several titles, and all of that was fine and good: but then this happened. And this is equally great and exciting.
The plan was, and still is, to build something that lasts — whether it's a master piece or a business or a connection. Something that matters. Something that breaks boundaries and is useful for others. That's the plan.
Driving the plan is the intention and belief that I could and should make the best of whatever situation I am in.
So. That was my story. It is also the story of how we all came together at B/NDL Studios.
The story is what keeps us on track
Here's the thing, though. The human story changes all the time. And the point of a good — nay, great — story is never the destination, but the journey. It’s not the fact that you’ve arrived at Point X or Y, it’s how you get there that makes all the difference.
When the pandemic hit last year, we were only a few weeks into our journey as a new entity. Sure, it was bold to run with a new company at a time when most companies had to tighten their belts. But we had to make it work.
When other businesses hit the pause button, we didn’t have the luxury to do so. Instead, we built a series of foldable, breakable plans: the kind we knew we would have to rebuild every time there was a new development in the way the world dealt with the pandemic.
We crafted an etch-a-sketch strategy. Each shake, no matter how insignificant, meant we had to redo the plan from the very beginning. And that was what we did for an entire year.
The mind-set to "go with the flow" was what saved us. It gave us room to rebuild and redraft as we moved through the challenges. In the end? We made it work. We're still here. Strong as ever. And ready for the new year.
The experience of 2020 compelled us to publish and share this newsletter, ReDRAFT. It is an homage to an endless creative process, a requirement in building our collective and individual resilience and agility — two primary skills which any professional, any business, brand and company will rely on as we enter the new year.
How do brands and companies ReDRAFT their plans and strategies to meet the challenges of a changed world? What is their story?
Every Monday at 9 a.m. ReDRAFT will arrive in your inbox packed with case studies of how products, brands, businesses and organizations have changed their story and use storytelling as part of their strategy to innovate and stay relevant to their audience.
Up next week: How modern and narrative-driven video games are changing the landscape of interactive experience. The video game market soared in 2020 alongside streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime; however, unlike previous years, 2020 brought with it a series of video game titles which not only paved the way for game studios to build a new market, it also paved the way for video games to challenge the film industry, e.g. Call of Duty, The Last of Us, Uncharted, and Cyberpunk 2077.
We will show you how your business, your brand and your organization can benefit from these narrative-driven strategies.
Stay with me?
Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer
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