When to grow, when to go.

Well, it's been just about a year since I started writing for Clickz. And well, boys and girls,the clock on the wall says it's just about time to go.

Yes, this is my last regular column for Andy and the gang. Mr. Wednesday has just got to move along to other issues. More places to go, more people to alienate. You know how it is. But if you are at all interested in receiving rants on a regular basis, you can always get them delivered directly to your e-mail box by subscribing to the FrankelBiz newsletter or contacting me personally.

Now, why do you suppose anyone would leave a good thing like Clickz? Well, I was wondering the same thing, which gave rise to a larger business issue (as it always does): I mean, when do you leave something that's working for you? When does a pro ballplayer retire? When he's cruising the crest of professional perfection? Or cleaning the toilets in men's locker room?

Whoa. That was ugly.

It's the same thing on the web, you know. Especially in advertising. But almost wherever you go, I've decided the time to move on is just about the time you've gotten comfortable. Maybe a few minutes more, but that's about it.

Look, the web is moving so fast that it defies measurement. I'm not talking about the crap that Newsweek and TIME spew out every week. For Pete's sake, they're still calling it the Information Superhighway. No, I'm talking about the rate of change in the environment where we all live. It does weird things to you and your career without you even knowing it.

Think about it: a year ago, I was this online advertising guy and Andy was a site owner. Today, the stuff I'm asked to talk about centers much more on creating strategically effective brands, doing real business on the web, enhancing e-commerce and making the cash register ring.

Andy, incidentally, has at least two more sites besides this one.

The fact is, my act has changed considerably since we started down this road -- and it hasn't even been one year. It's easy to talk to our clients about the "rapidly changing acceptance of the web as a consumer medium." But my advice to you -- yeah, you -- is to take a look around you and see where you fit in. While you're at it, take a long, hard look at the guy you call "boss" and your clients.

Are they still doing what they did last year? Are you? And is it still working?

A few geeks write in to Andy yipping about how they don't get enough "how to" information from my columns. To both of you, listen up: the gist of this column is to stay vigilant. For your clients and for yourself. Just because a banner buy worked for you last year doesn't mean you can sit on your ergonomically-supported butt and recommend the same thing this year. Nor does it mean that the newest java-based junk still carries the amount of dazzle that it used to.

Clients are getting smarter. More sophisticated. Sophisticated enough to compare last year's results to this year's. Smart enough to ask you why they're not higher...

It takes iron cojones to jump off your racehorse as he's rushing the finish line. But if you're jumping to a faster horse, you've gotta make the leap. Wait too long and the horse will be long gone. My particular horse has me writing the business opinion column for Ziff Davis' Internet Business and working on a book that -- let's all hold hands and pray -- should be out later this year.

And that's basically the story.

A year from now, we'll do this dance again. Maybe Andy will ask me back to write another rant or two. I promise to report faithfully what happens. You never know. I just might bring back a World Series pennant.

Or a terrifically effective method for scrubbing toilet bowls.

Rob Frankel

Rob Frankel is co-host of the nationally-syndicated radio show LOG ON USA, a business opinion columnist for Ziff Davis' Internet magazine, speaker, consultant and president of Frankel & Anderson, America's first 100% digital advertising and marketing agency. You can reach Rob directly at rob@robfrankel.com , see/hear samples of Killer Creative at http://www.frankel-anderson.com and subscribe to his FrankelBiz newsletter and transaction/discussion list.

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