Mad Mania: I’d like to teach the world to fund

Much has been written about the final episode of the groundbreaking show Mad Men and what it really means, what it’s supposed to mean, and the meaning behind the meaning. It brings up a great deal of conjecture, which is the indication of a show that was both well written and thought provoking.

It is hard to believe that the show first aired July 17, 2007, a full year before the bubble burst in the global economy. During those heady days, how many of you had ever heard of a “credit default swap”? And if you had heard of one, how many of you actually knew what one was? Not many, I’m assuming.

So many reviews and articles written about Mad Men center around the evolution of the main characters and how they changed and grew over the 10 years covered during the series timeline.

One interesting way to look at the beginning of Mad Men and how it relates to our industry is to see the evolution of the show’s ad agency, Sterling Cooper, which grew into Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and then Sterling Cooper & Partners, then eventually going public and being acquired by McCann, one of the largest advertising agencies in country.

Much like Sterling Cooper, emerging managers begin to form during “recoveries” or economic upswings. Although 1960 is now a long time ago, there was a very sharp global recession in 1958, which lasted only about a year. Much of the recovery was due to government action, including monetary policies that kept the recession short lived. However, there was plenty of pain to go around in the late 1950s. Although the recession of 1958 was not as deep as that of 2008, the show did a good job of illustrating the trajectory of a business after an economic downturn.

The economic recovery of the past couple years has seen a number of new firms emerge, as managers strike out on their own, as well as consolidation, as a number of firms have been acquired in big mergers.

In essence, much like the path that people take in their lives, there are also paths that businesses take as well. And Mad Men illustrated this very well.

Even though it was time to end, I, for one, will miss that show.

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Jonathan_Schein-NEWJonathan Schein is senior vice president and managing director of business development.