Agents of Ourselves: Part Sixteen

During the most recent session of our writing workshop, Finding Your Voice — as we continued to express our desire to meet, to talk, to share, to write, to create — we came up with the idea of starting a periodic comic strip. As it turns out, given this and this, the idea wasn’t as far-fetched as it might otherwise have seemed.

To illustrate (no pun intended) how easy it might be and to give the people in the group an indication of something I’d already done, I mentioned Baker and Taylor, two Scottish Fold cats whose story is told so beautifully in this book. While Baker and Taylor (the cats) have since passed on, and since Baker & Taylor (the company) has not, I recently pitched Baker & Taylor (the company) the idea of bringing the cats back as cartoon characters. As part of the pitch, I created four comic strips to demonstrate the ways in which language and humor could be used to show the cats as sources of engagement and entertainment, to create PR opportunities for the company, and to restore two beloved representations of the Baker & Taylor brand. I sent those strips to my fellow writers in the workshop.

There are at least two reasons to be factored into our contemplation of this new endeavor: First, while our comic strip may or may not ever be considered an actual business, I continue to be informed and inspired by this passage from Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited:

Human beings are capable of performing extraordinary acts. Capable of going to the moon. Capable of creating the computer. Capable of building a bomb that can destroy us all. The least we should be able to do is run a small business that works. For if we can’t do that, then what’s the value in our great ideas? What purpose do they serve but to alienate us from ourselves, from each other from who we are?

Second, all of us in the workshop are motivated and inspired by the fact that there are no grown-ups around to tell us we can’t create a comic strip for ourselves or do anything else to which we put our minds for that matter. And so, by unanimous consent — with a tentative working title of The Writers and a determination to poke some fun at ourselves — we’ll start our discussions about the strip this week.

As something of an announcement — or perhaps a statement of celebration, of purpose, and, yes, of our agency — I created the video below, in which I include my co-conspirators and the four Baker and Taylor strips.

Watch out, kids. It’s show time.



Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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