James Stockdale was parodied as a senile buffoon after asking what at least seemed to be an obvious question: “Who am I and what am I doing here? during the 1992 vice-presidential debate. But Stockdale was no idiot. He was a war hero in Vietnam and held the distinction of being the highest ranked naval officer taken as a prisoner of war there. The question he asked that night is as relevant to you or me today as they were to the late vice-admiral, and not as easy to answer as you might expect at first blush. Who am I, and what am I doing here?
My friend Doug Haslam has talked about the “Stockdale question” in the context of PR and I give him credit for doing so. Now that every concept or idea ever concieved is footnoted somewhere on the web, practically nothing seems original any more, so forgive me. We all now know that original thoughts are few and far between. Creativity is expressed mostly in mashups these days – combinations of existing technologies and concepts in exciting new ways. And that’s OK by me, because even if we’ve used up all the ideas once, the combinations are endless.
Who I am is a content enabler. I work with a short list of clients who I respect, I find out what they know best and gets them excited, and I help them tell their own stories. What I am doing here is talking about stuff I’ve learned over the years, months, days, weeks, and earlier today. In the interest of focus and in the context of my personal background and interests, it’s about communications, media, social media and public relations. That’s who I am and what I’m doing here. How about you?