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“You are not in the club!”

“You are not in the club!”

Years ago, maybe a decade ago.

We’re in a meeting.

Plotting our glorious ascent.

A frustrated creative director blurts this out:

“You think you’re in the club, but you’re not in the club!”

He wanted to be in the club.

I didn’t.

An entrepreneur’s goal isn’t to be in the club.

White shoe, WASP country club ad agencies had no place

for young Lester Wunderman.

They were as “restricted” as country clubs back then.

Throughout the 20th Century and beyond,

they looked down on “direct marketing people.”

They were Jewish. (And sometimes Italian)

They were scrappy.

They cared about selling and business.

They harped on about “results.”

And they were sometimes lumpy and uncharismatic,

because they’d earned their seat at the table with results.

You see echoes of this, even today.

You see it in the horror of posts in this social network and others.

“How can they put Wunderman’s name in front of that classic Thompson?!!!”

Echos of the old WASP country club.

“Our kind” of creativity.

Lester Wunderman and the direct marketers couldn’t win advertising business.

They weren’t invited to the pitches.

Weren’t welcome.

They had to create business.

Lester literally invented businesses.

Record clubs, for example.

Seed clubs for gardeners.

He did the first ads and, if they worked,

the agency could make the commissions on the next ads.

That’s how he built a world-changing agency.

Because he wasn’t welcome at the club,

he invented his own club.

Built his own industry, company and culture.

Wrote his own book.

Donny Deutsch once told me,

“Most clients just want to be part of the club.”

I said, “Not my clients.”

He said, “Well, 95% of clients.”

I said, “I’ll be happy with the other 5%.”

Not being allowed in the club is opportunity.

The founder’s chance.

The entrepreneur’s moat.

The disruptor’s incentive.


First, they ignored you.

Then, they ridiculed you.

Then, they reviled and tried to fight you.

Then, they tried to buy and subjugate you.

Finally, they put your name up front, where it belongs.

Thank you, Lester Wunderman. Entrepreneur. Change Agent.