I've also heard that it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said: "Small people talk about people, average people talk about things, great people talk about ideas." Though according to the internet everyone and his cousin also said it. In any event what's important here isn't who said it, it's about what it means.
And I'm thinking that the quotation has something to tell us about advertising.
Along the way, a lot of junk gets in the way of doing significant work. There are fiefdoms, complicators, the political, the dumb, the impecunious. In other words, there are a lot of "people" aspects that interfere.
Then there are the "thing" interferences. Timing. Directors "vision." Technique masquerading as an idea.
Finally it comes time to analyze your ideas. Are they new? Interesting. Arresting. Build-upon-able. Or are they trite and formulaic.
Here's my two cents:
Ignore the people.
Ignore the things.
Focus on the idea.