By Egotist / /
Rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated. Or not.
For the past 10 years we heard we were going under. And we finally did. 15 years to the day we started, and 14 years past when the four of us who started Core thought it would happen. Unfortunately, the end came quietly. No pirates storming the ship, no mayhem, no great speeches — just a few guys left to pack up books and the bar. Jesus, I thought it would be more cataclysmic.
We started Core with a simple mission: to create as much great work as is humanly possible. Unlike most companies, we believed in our mission and we endeavored every day to live up to it. Sometimes at great personal pain to every one of us who worked there. And to anyone who doubts that, ask someone who worked there. Or one of our clients who had to argue with us ad nauseam. And if you don’t personally know one of them or me, then shut the fuck up, because you are wrong.
We mostly lived up to our mission. We created great work for real clients every day. We never had a fake client. Never did an ad just for an award show. Never. And our reprints were never finessed after the fact – they were exactly as they ran for a client. As an account guy I would consider it a personal failure to pretend our work was better than it was, and thankfully I never had to. Our work was damn good. And no one can ever take that away from us. I’ll take any ad we ever did and explain to you why it was perfect based on the strategy. There was a reason clients bought every one of those ads.
It is interesting that even in our death we still seem to be stirring things up. Unfortunately, most of the outlandish, crazy stories you have heard about Core aren’t true. The stories you haven’t heard are so much better. There was pain, but there was a lot of fun. A lot of passion, a lot of craziness — stories that the best copywriters in the world can’t make up. But they are our stories, not yours. And I won’t tell them to you.
I’m fairly confident that every single person who worked at Core left better off for the experience. And that is a pretty damn good legacy. I’m proud of that. But let me be clear, it wasn’t because any one of the owners of Core made that happen. The people who worked at Core made it happen. They believed. And they delivered.
Technically, the death of Core might have been caused by bad management, a poor economy, the banking crisis, or making too many big bets, but the truth is we lost our spirit. We went 14 years without ever laying a person off, but when we finally had to do it we lost the best of what we had. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. Everyone knew it was coming, and after it happened everyone went back to work.
They went back to work.
And then they gathered around the bar at the end of the day to hang out together. I went home and cried. And then the same people I fired let me come back to the bar and have a beer with them.
That was Core. It wasn’t just a company. It was a place where people came to do the best work they could do. And more often than not, they did. We did.
Core is Dead.
Long Live Core.