Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh, to be David Jones.

The global CEO of the agency I used to work was one of the coolest people I have ever met. When I started at Euro RSCG he was the CEO of the New York office, and my role in new business had me working with him on an almost daily basis. He was simple, yet inspiring. Quick minded. Thoughtful. He knew what he wanted, and could always ask in a way that wasn't imposing but seemed like the natural order of business. He spoke multiple languages, and had a British accent. He had a beautiful family, and as often heard in the ladies room, he was quite handsome himself. He was very charming, very caring and knew how to do his job. He was fun to work with. He listened to ideas, and could always make the best decision.

Now, I am friends with David Jones on Facebook, and its interesting to see the pages of his life. He has traveled the world -- probably 40 times around. He is on stage with people like Kofi Anan and Bill Clinton. He thinks of projects that will benefit the world and puts them in action. He wins clients for Euro, and I think every year of his career he has gotten a promotion.

He is one of the few successful people you like to see succeed. It doesn't seem to go to his head. During the first week of my job at Euro, he asked me to his office to talk New Business. I was amazed at the decor of his office. Obviously someone had set it up with a Euro/Asian theme, but what I loved most were the personal touches. The surfboard in the corner to remind him there is more to life than what you do behind a desk. The drawings by his children that were framed and he claimed were the best print ads ever. The bottle of water and breakfast sandwich wrapper snagged from a deli because even people like David Jones have to eat.

There was a well known and too often true joke that went around the office about Mr. Jones. It went something like this: Mrs. Jones was walking her son Deacon through the park in Tribeca, and her son started waving in the air yelling 'Hello, daddy!'... She asked him, 'do you see your dad? where?!' To which he replied. "He's up there Mommy!" pointing to a plane.

And in perusing Mr. Jones's facebook page, I could see it. His photos are made by his blackberry. There are no friends or family in any of them. There are landscapes and cityscapes but no faces. 75% of the time he is on a different continent than his family, and rarely the same country. His children grow, learn, make new friends and adopt new hobbies -- much of what he doesn't get to witness. He spends more nights in a hotel than his own bed. That would be such a sad life.

There is a price for every happiness. And the exciting life of David Jones may have been that one day - exciting. But you wonder what is the price of such excitement, and if he could do it all over again which path would he choose. Sure, his business sense will allow a nice life and education for his kids. But I bet all of them would trade in learning one less language just to have their daddy around one extra day a week. And I bet he would be willing to trade a few million dollars a year to have more photos of him and his kids to share with the world.

You can be alone anywhere. Its the faces that make a place home. And I worry that for some with lifestyles like Mr. Jones, the familiar faces are those seen in the office or worse, on Facebook. Oh, to be David Jones.