Join me on Course number two

I don’t just do a writing course.

I also do a course which has resulted in my Water project (don’t forget to check the blog. There is now an app on the way:

Thanks to Hayden Stainsby for this. He's an absolute effing star. As is Crystal Lee who is doing the design work.

…along with a top TV/Online/Cinema commercial. The very good people at Academy, particularly George and Lizie, are fully up for supporting Water Water Everywhere. Hats off to them).

So the course is called the Landmark Forum, and other projects that have come out of it include Fight Club, The Matrix and Pret a Manger.

In the first stage you sit in a room for three days with 150 other people. From there on in it’s quite difficult to describe, but you can check out this pretty accurate explanation in The Observer (more articles in Time, Wall Street Journal, New York Times).

The second part is broadly similar, but involves putting what you’ve learned in the first part into a wider context.

Then in the third part you choose a project that involves one of your communities (you have different communities, such as ‘neighbours’, ‘work colleagues’, ‘family’ etc.) and see it through for about three months (although if it goes beyond that, great).

So I’m about 2/3rds of the way through part three, and it’s been absolutely fascinating, with far more benefits than I can outline here. Several very high profile people in advertising have done it; in fact, at least three very successful agencies have been founded as a direct result of people completing its curriculum.

Anyway, I just wanted to share it because if you haven’t done it before I think you’d get a lot out of it. The website is here, but it’s a pretty poor indication of the reality of what you get on the course.

The other reason I’m mentioning it on this blog is that I get the impression that some people who read ITIABTWC aren’t exactly sure what they’re doing now, why they’re doing it or what to do next. If you’d like some clarity on that, have a look at the website and think about doing the course.

Alternatively, this Saturday there’s an introduction that I’ll be attending because it’s part of my project. From 10am to 1pm the other 55 people on my course will be explaining why they’ve done the Forum and what they’ve got out of it (here is an independent survey of what those benefits are). If you’re free at that time and want to come along (whether you know me or not), just drop me an email ( and I’ll make sure they save you a seat.


Comments 19

  1. john w. wrote:

    I hate to be the kind of guy who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing but what is the price for a saved seat.

    Posted 15 May 2011 at 12:32 pm
  2. john w. wrote:

    Sorry due, guess I should have looked at the links before I blurted out ‘what’s the price?’. Can’t make it for 10 am on Saturday‚Ķ11 at a push but I guess that would be futile. Great water water everywhere site btw, well done. One question, wouldn’t local councils figure that installing/reinstalling and maintaining drinking fountains is just another added cost? Last time I looked most of them are all about cutting back services not adding to them.

    Posted 15 May 2011 at 1:30 pm
  3. ben wrote:

    I should have said, sat is free. Come by at 11 if you’re interested. It’ll still be cool.

    Posted 15 May 2011 at 1:53 pm
  4. john w. wrote:

    Sorry me again, I just caught the song ‘I’m just a fella with an umbrella’ in Easter Parade and it gave me water on the brain, so I thought of you, well your water project. Surely you need to address the Fluoridation conspiracy.

    Posted 15 May 2011 at 2:02 pm
  5. vinny warren wrote:

    i heard once that Bob Geldolf took that course and Band Aid was his project. Over here it has cult-y associations from its est roots. did you see any of that?

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 1:28 pm
  6. m denton esq wrote:

    I’ve done the Forum. It’s so good that I pay for my staff to do it too.

    …money well spent!

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 2:05 pm
  7. ben wrote:

    Hi Vinny.

    As far as I know, they’ve left those associations well behind. My experience, and that of the many other people I know who have done it, has been very positive.

    I think they do one in Chicago 😉

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 7:31 pm
  8. john w. wrote:

    Are they like the Parallax Corporation?

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 8:36 pm
  9. neil c wrote:

    That Observer article has really intrigued me. On the one hand, it sounds like a weird and scary cult programming exercise. On the other… it does seem to have positive benefits, even for the cynical misanthrope. (That’s me, not you.)
    I can’t come on Saturday, unfortunately.

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 10:23 pm
  10. dave trott wrote:

    Years ago I did est, and more recently Forum which grew out of it.
    Robin Wight was on my course and afterwards we both started our own agencies.
    At GGT about half the creatives did it. Some of them started their own agencies.
    None of us drank the kool-aid.

    Posted 16 May 2011 at 11:13 pm
  11. vinny warren wrote:

    just so long as i don’t end up sobbing into my iPhone telling my family members how they fucked up my life, i’ll give it some thought.

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 3:41 am
  12. ben wrote:

    Hi Neil,

    It’s not scary (promise) and you don’t get programmed. I think you (and everyone else) would get a lot out of it.

    And Vinny, I have no idea what you’ll end up doing, but I didn’t do any sobbing into my iPhone or telling family members how they fucked up my life.



    Posted 17 May 2011 at 8:22 am
  13. john w. wrote:

    I guess one wouldn’t know whether one is being programmed or not, I’m sure that’s the point. Who’s to say we aren’t already programmed anyway?

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 8:43 am
  14. dave trott wrote:

    I think that may be kind of the point.
    Each of us can look at our life and see if the way we’re currently programmed is getting us what we want.
    If it is, good, stick with it.
    If not, why not investigate a different kind of programming that people you may respect(?) say changed things for them?
    Ben’s not asking anyone to sign up, just to go along for a couple of hours to find out more.
    Then, if they’re not interested, they can at least reject it from knowledge rather than ignorance.

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 10:29 am
  15. Jack Stephens wrote:

    I did the Forum about 12 years ago and would recommend it to anyone. I agree with Mr Denton, money well spent.

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 11:01 am
  16. dave trott wrote:

    Hey, Jaa-aack…

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 4:17 pm
  17. vinny warren wrote:

    guess what. the chicago Landmark office is NEXT DOOR to our building. that’s fate right there!

    Posted 17 May 2011 at 10:52 pm
  18. ben wrote:

    Fate, fate fate, fate, fate.

    Although, alas, the Landmark Forum will explain very clearly why there is no such thing.

    Go to an intro, or just sign up and do it (like I did).

    Posted 18 May 2011 at 4:15 pm
  19. Peter Thomson wrote:

    Thanks Ben for sharing your SELP project. The Landmark Forum is a powerful experience and I got a lot out of it.

    Posted 29 Apr 2012 at 2:10 pm

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