What Account People Can Learn From Tortillas, Avocado And Hot Sauce

February 21, 2018

When I was 25 I lived in Santa Barbara, Calif. As a younger man, I survived on THE staple of any surfing diet: the avocado/hot sauce roll-up. I kept the ingredients with me and would make three or so square meals a day on the hood of my car after I’d stripped my wetsuit off.

Circa 2008

It’s honestly the perfect food: soft, silky avocado; the chewiness and slight saltiness of the tortilla; the bite of a tangy hot sauce. Carbs from the tortilla to replenish and provide energy. Monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins from the avocado for my skin. Hot sauce for a little spice of life. All rolled into a portable, convenient package.

There was nothing better. Nearly 10 years later and my wife (and new job at Fast Horse) have helped me move past my roll-up tendencies. But there is a lesson to be learned from the way these three ingredients worked together and the way I lived back then. I’ll loosely quote Jerry Seinfeld when I say, “Look to the avocado, hot sauce roll-up.”

Here are three ways that my previously poor eating habits help me as a new account director at Fast Horse:

It Can Always Be Simpler
In work and life in general, we skew to the complicated. Technology especially has pushed us to want to create work and activations that have a ton of moving pieces. These are necessary sometimes, but the core idea should always be simple. A wise creative director once told me that if you can’t explain your idea in a sentence, it’s too complicated. As it goes in food and in creative work, simpler is always better. There is no better way to push for and actually make creative work than through simplicity.

Image via Slate

Do More with Less
Hustling. Scrappy. Whatever you want to call it, we can — and in many cases have to — do more with just a little. Whether it’s budget or a smaller team, you can do great things with the right ingredients. I try to always bring an attitude of creative problem-solving. In the creative world, there are a lot of Goliaths, but more and more often the Davids — not hamstrung by ego or size-30 sandals — are bringing the solutions to problems clients and marketers face.

Be Open to Ideas
Sadly, the avocado hot sauce roll-up was not my idea. I saw it in a surf movie and immediately romanticized it. The genius was apparent. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and if you’re open (or hungry enough) to them, they can change the game. The same can be said for working in an agency like Fast Horse. Whether you’re presenting an idea you’re not sure of or leading an account, we have to be open to all of the little ideas that pop into our lives. When we’re open to ideas, we can see how they can make our lives and work better.

I may never have the opportunity to live the way I lived at 25 again. I’m currently landlocked in Minneapolis and own a station wagon. My avocados are shipped from Mexico. But I’ll continue to look to avocado, tortilla and hot sauce. It may not bring about world peace, but it’s certainly made me a better addition to the team at Fast Horse.