“I remember being in Hal Riney’s office when he was on the phone to a friend who obviously had asked him what he was up to. “Oh, just trying to do some of the best fucking advertising in the entire world,” he said. He was looking right at me as he said it. It really upped my expectations about myself and things in general. His shop was only 26 people at the time and wanted to dominate. I will never forget that. Everything else came out of that.” – Jeff Goodby
(co-founder and co-chair of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners)
Jeff Goodby is one half of a pair of Hal Riney disciples who went on to become advertising legends themselves. With his friend, Rich Silverstein, they would take on a freelance account in 1983 called “Amazin’ Software.” They would rename it Electronic Arts and with it’s success start what is now one of the top advertising agencies in the world.
GS&P has been named Agency of the Year numerous times by Adage, Adweek and Creativity magazine, and in 2010, Goodby and Silverstein were named Adweek’s Executives of the Decade. The Museum of Modern Art placed several of their ads, including “Got Milk?” and the “Budweiser Lizards” into permanent rotation.
Which is no surprise considering Goodby awards much of his success to being the product of his mother, a painter, and his father, a Wharton graduate. GS&P speak often about how advertising is art serving business, and Goodby has the perfect upbringing to understand just what that means.
But what I find most inspiring about Goodby is his humility. He knows his roots. He understands the scopes of their accomplishments. And yet he is never too caught up to crack a joke. While at Harvard, Goodby wrote for the Harvard Lampoon, which he says taught him humility, and I’d imagine an even wittier sense of humor.
Jeff Goodby is one of those people you want to have lunch with. He definitely goes on the short list if someone asked me three people I’d like to talk to sit down with.
He’s brillant. He’s good person. And he’s funny.
That’s a triple threat that more people should aspire to be.