“What I learned this year” by Chris Cummings, Chief Strategy Officer at BSSP.

By thesanfranciscoegotist / /

Hope you all had an incredible New Year’s Eve and Day. We’re still moving a bit slow ourselves, but wanted to make sure you got the next installment of “What I learned this year.” Today’s comes from Chris Cummings, Chief Strategy Officer at BSSP. Enjoy!


First, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share a thought for my and our year as BSSP.

We learned all sorts of different things this year, but one seemed to shout the loudest. With the headlines of consolidation, agency funerals, and the proverbial tightening of belts, it was easy to feel a little boxed in by 2019. Our learning was that the moment couldn’t be more perfect for some bolder risk taking.

Like everyone, we saw a lot of fearlessness happening around us, the Time100 of 2019 is quick proof. We watched it unfold, we streamed it and we listened to it from all different corners of culture – music, entertainment, politics and sports.

So we talked about it. A lot. 

We spent the year in healthy debate with coworkers, clients, friends, Uber drivers, and bar strangers about where our culture, the advertising world, could be headed from here, what our core value is today, and why anyone frankly cares. 

The big themes felt timeless: we needed more empathy, a lot more ‘interesting’, but most of all, more bravery. In 2019 I took a leap of my own. My family made the move from NYC with our one-year-old son, back to the Bay Area, for BSSP and independence.

There’s a lot to be said for independence today, because it’s harder to feel the freedom it promises — but this year, we all learned that’s a gift.

It served as a daily reminder that we’re in the business of creativity. That we get to work in an environment full of really passionate people with interesting takes on the world, and that we get to have fun doing it. I know we’re not alone in the feeling.

So from a group of us in the old warship factory across the Golden Gate bridge, we’re thankful for the nudge of 2019, and anxious to apply our learning in new ways. We’ll take some bigger bets and make bigger leaps in 2020, and we’re excited to see how it all shakes out.

Happy holidays, from ours to yours.


  1. Helen Babalis March 23, 2020

    Mr. Cummings paid homage to the most important thing, empathy. If, as humans, we cannot even try to walk in someone else’s shoes, we will surely miss a terrific opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve. My observance of others and how they move around in the world is based on these two character types, those that care and are kind, and those that are unaware of their surroundings and the impact they are having. This time of CoVid 19 and “shelter in place’ is confronting to all that have never taken the time to slow down and see what is important. May we all come out being better people because of it, and having learnt how to fly this living spaceship hurling through the galaxy together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *