Everything there is to know about running an ad agency was ingrained into my psyche at an early age. Our family spent a lot of time playing the game of Monopoly – and there were good times – but also many two am nights in which I threw the board at my sisters and brother.
Let’s begin with picking your brand. Your icon. Who wants to be an iron or a thimble? Clearly the top hat or the racecar had panache. And picking the one you wanted first required a sense of bravado. Weaker siblings had to learn to settle.
Now let’s divvy up the money. Who’s the banker? Can you trust them? Is the set amount agreed upon? I learned all the basics of setting up accounting relationships and reporting with the bankers.
Acquisitions. You start to roll and you’ve got to make decisions. What properties do you want? Do you want them all? Can you establish a theme – like everything on one side of the board? What’s your core competency?
Credit. You have bills – obviously when you land on someone’s property. Are you quick to pay? Do you save money and pay your bills when they occur? Or do you try to weasel out? It’s very hard to survive on bad credit.
Deals. The sweet spot for that moment when the acquisition phase is over. Who gets what property and how do you value the trades? Can you sell Baltic and some Utilities to your sibling for a monopoly of yellows? Can you sell an idea (like two disparate Railroads) that requires a little faith?
Surprise and delight. The Chance and Community Chest cards in the middle had a creative delivery every time. You were advanced to Go, won a beauty contest – your income tax rebate was in – and the illustrations were classic. It was the original emotional connection – plus your moment to deliver a slogan like “Take a Ride on the Reading.”
Rolling the dice. Let’s face it. It’s a new game every day – every roll. Everyone learns that the hard way – and every once in awhile you ended up either in Jail or on Free Parking. Optimism is a good habit while you’re blowing on the dice.
Winning or losing. Obviously, this was great preparation for our business. A microcosm of what’s fair or not.
And then, there’s sportsmanship. Something that takes time to master.
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