This Video of a Do Lectures talk is well worth your attention.
Basically, it's about the merits of building a company you don't want to sell.
It's obviously worth it if you are thinking of starting an agency, from those 'what if' conversations you have with people you trust and like, to getting serious and looking for a business loan.
When you look at the best independent outfits, one thing that always stands out is how much they genuinely love what they're doing. The money comes of course, but it comes by a focus on being relentlessly great (and having a decent financial director) rather than thinking about when you'll sell. Many of these places sell on to successors rather than BDA's (big dumb agencies).
When you look at the best offices in larger groups, they tend to love it too, rather than just the corporate dollar or the vanilla proprietary process. They toes the line of course, they do the numbers, but enthusiasm drives rather than money. Consequently, they're not short of a couple of quid.
As long as, that is, there are some grown ups in the mix as well. An FD who is both mindful of the bottom line and the overall direction of the organisation is a very valuable asset indeed.
When you start taking on pitches because the Eye of Sauron in Morder demands you reach your income target come what may, or you start selling clients stuff they don't need, or you have to fall in line with the group and keep your staff to income ratio precise, it's a slippery slope. Purely money based decisions tend to cost you in the long term. It's funny, when the industry is busy persuading clients to invest in long term metrics and not just clicks and quarterly results, just how short term we can be ourselves.
It's important when you work out what kind of place you want to work at too. Some brilliant agencies work the longest hours, maybe because the people there like it too much and don't get enough work like balance. It depends on what you want. If you want to do the best work of your life, this kind of place should be for you.
Other places tend to be human and focus on the people AND the work - I include my place in this. Especially good for people a little bit older or if you're thinking of being a parent. Just maybe, it's good for decent agency folk, if you only do advertising 24/7 your not likely to be able to chime with the hearts and minds of the customers you're paid to influence.
To be honest, it's amazing how much a task can expand to fill whatever the culture deems to be a working day. Just as it's amazing how much bollocks agencies can put into their client presentations to justify an over-inflated fee, or paper over the fact that every presentation is the same because the question is something like 'How do we make this Disruptive?' 'Have we had the five Media Arts Conversations yet' or 'What's the Demand Chain'.
Of course, some people like to be be in politics, diplomacy or the civil service, rather than advertising. If so, corporate focused organisations might be for you!