Mad Men 2010

She could be from anywhere. In her case, she works in high-tech. She’s sharp as a tack. She sees things the guys do not see. They quietly ignore her. She does not give in. They pay a bit more attention. She’s a bit frustrated, but she keeps smiling. She knows that if she tells them they’re a bunch of insensitive males who overstate the firm’s bargaining power with customers, she will be rejected as weak. And so she bobs and weaves in macho land, day after day.

The sad thing is she’s right and they’re wrong. The firm’s power is still strong, but has eroded. With her feminine sensitivity, she sees that in every meeting. She’s in a good position for that. She’s the account manager for one of the largest customers of the firm. She knows what she’s dealing with. They coach her from behind, because they’re more senior than she is. They tell her how to leverage the firm’s position for advantage and be tough. She’s a soldier in another nation’s army.

She’s on her second career. She did well in the first and rose to executive rank once already. But she had cancer and had to stop working for a while. She restarted at the bottom and is working her way up again. But she’s not any younger. She knows she’s under-utilized and wants to do more. She has a million ideas for collaboration, people she’d like to go see, new joint programs she’d like to initiate with partners. She was born for co-creation.

But then there are all these guys who look at the world in this strange left-brained way, searching for killer algorithms within the walls of the firm, rather than seeking to engage the firm’s customers in new opportunities. Because she’s afraid of looking soft, she too speaks of business intelligence, clickstreams and support assets, rather than co-creation initiatives. She envisions a collaborative ecosystem, but they’re thinking dominance. She believes in people, but they want systems. Her organization has an increasing number of women in power, so herein lies hope for her. Perhaps women who’ve done well will reach out to her, although she’s not sure how strong women’s solidarity truly is. After all, women executives have their own battle to wage.

The guys drink a bit less than in the TV series Mad Men and the sexual harassment has become a bit less blatant. As for the rest, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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3 Responses to “Mad Men 2010”

  1. Rodolphe Dutel says:

    Cher Monsieur,

    Je lis votre blog depuis plusieurs mois avec beaucoup d’interet.

    Voici un restaurant New-Yorkais dont le concept peut vous interesser:



  2. Francis Gouillart says:


    This is really cool. I love all applications of co-creation that link the physical and the virtual, as this restaurant does. The hamburger as the platform! Who would have thought it? Four or five years ago, we used to explain the principles of co-creation through a restaurant example with four generic protagonists (customer, waiter, cook, farmer-supplier) and ask people to imagine new interactions and experience for each of them, using co-creation principles. What you describe here is a worthwhile addition to the list of real-life restaurants who practice co-creation, and I am thankful to you for pointing it out to me.

  3. Rodolphe Dutel says:


    I came across another restaurant that attempts to link Geo-location technologies (Here, Foursquare) with Co-creation.

    Top 3 “checked-in” regulars get to create their own menus:

    “They name the items themselves and can even create and tweak the recipe themselves. As a bonus, they can also select one day that month where their menu item is featured and available to all guests of the restaurant.”

    Interesting starting point…


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