What I Learned in 2020 – Duncan Channon

By thesanfranciscoegotist / /

It’s the end of the year (finally). And you know what that means – another year of our popular series, “What I learned in 2020.” With the last 12 months being such a shit show, we’re super curious to hear what nuggets of wisdom everyone has picked up along the way. Keep checking back through the end of the year for more. We’re kicking it off with a piece from John Kovacevich, ECD at Duncan Channon, and some friends.


So…that happened. 2020 has been a punch in the (pick your body part) and nobody is going to be sad to see the calendar turn.

But it’s also been eye-opening. Having to change the way you do just about everything opens you up to new ways of thinking. And I’ve definitely learned a thing or two.

First, I learned that before you pick a life partner, you might want to have them cut your hair, just to make sure they’re qualified to trim your locks in the event of a months-long lockdown.

Second, I learned that when the world goes sideways, you have to lean on others.

So instead of blathering on about the things that I learned this year, I asked my colleagues in the Duncan Channon creative department to share THEIR lessons from 2020:

John Evans, copywriter
Snacks are expensive, I use a lot of toilet paper, TikTok is brilliant, Everyone loves Phoebe Bridgers, Joe Biden was a lifeguard with leg hair, and QAnon is batshit insane.

Kat Michie, associate creative director
It’s important to build and maintain your friendship scaffolding to hold you up when you need it, and so you can hold up your friends, even if you only see their face on a screen.

Adam Zash, senior art director
Manual labor is a better concepting tool than beer, IRL production is more fun than Zoom production, a good creative partner is more than somebody you work with, and you should be nice to people; we’re all just trying our best.

Jen Kellogg, design director
I learned that I am actually anxious, not amusingly neurotic in, like, the Seinfeld way.

Madeline Lambie, senior copywriter
There is no project too small to make great, the simplest idea is usually the best idea, a little enthusiasm goes a long way, and there aren’t nearly enough Black voices in advertising.

Moe, associate director of creative technology/senior art director
Remote work is an Introvert’s dream come true and WFH means I finally got my corner office with a window. Also, no matter how many times my eldery dog pees on the couch next to me while working, it’s still cleaner than riding BART.

MJ Deery, director of purpose practice
Changing your outfit every day is excessive and 9th grade “Physics in the Universe” is entirely beyond my comprehension.

Andy Whalen, senior copywriter
Don’t pile more on people’s proverbial plates; just do their dishes. Sometimes the thing everyone’s talking about is exactly the thing you should leave out. Effective advertising should really be called “contactless delivery.”

Shannon Burns, senior designer
Don’t take things for granted. It may sound cliche, but things like a roof over my head, a stable job, human connection, and family that’s close enough to be in my “bubble” kept me going.

Lyla Morrison, creative director
An easy at-home-workspace is key to mental health. After working at the table in my backyard for eight months now, I finally realized the shade umbrella tilts and I don’t have to chase the shade with my chair all day long.

Jessica Wyatt, senior art director
I learned that one of my neighbors has trumpet lessons every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m. And I learned that when dogs get teeth removed, fluid can build up and their eyes leak blood…annnnd that pretty much sums up 2020.


By John Kovacevich, ECD at Duncan Channon (and friends)
Photo Credit: image by Jessica Wyatt


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