Goodbye & thanks Publicis, hello Spotify!

Give or take 20 years ago I started at Zenith Media and with the exception of two years the Publicis Groupe is where I stayed. Through the intervening years I am pretty sure I set a record in the number of companies I worked for and in. In that time I have worked for Zenith Media, Zenith Interactive Solutions, Zed Media, ZenithOptimedia, VivaKi Nerve Center, VivaKi, SMG, Performics and PMX. I have worked in UK, EMEA and Global roles as well as two short stints in the US (NY and Chicago) and along the way I have met some amazing people from countries all over the world.  I still marvel at the fact that it is possible to pick up the phone from Australia, China, India to California and everywhere in between and speak to a friendly voice. It is without doubt the best part of the last 20 years and I could never have imagined back as a Trainee TV buyer in Paddington that all that would have been possible.
Publicis has given me so many opportunities to progress and for that I will always be grateful, from my earliest boss in Tracey Stern through to Gerry Boyle and the late great Curt Hecht. They all had one thing in common, they supported and guided but allowed you room to grow and take responsibility for your own work, and most of all, were human. When the pressure is on, when things are not always going the way you want them to, being able to keep hold of things that are important to each of your team is vital, support them as people and the rest will come naturally. Politics, P&L pressures, come to everyone, don’t let them make you forget that everyone is human and appreciates direct and honest conversations, integrity first. There are way too many people to mention in this blog, but thanks to all those who have supported me and helped me succeed over time.
I think my first few years in Zenith were foundational and there are so many friends from that period scattered all over the business and doing great. Zenith was a powerhouse and incubator for so much talent in the industry and we all still reminisce about the fab times back then. They all know who they are so I won’t list them, but its great to see them all doing so well. The VivaKi AOD years hold special memories, so much fun, working for Curt Hecht and Kurt Unkel, fighting it out on one conference stage after another with the anti-trade desk brigade, the travel, the growth and wonderful team. Paul Silver, Geoff Smith, Danny Hopwood, Jen Hubbard, Sam and Lina, the foundation of AOD and then broadening out to all the stars of the region with Jean Baptiste Rouet, Adeline, Lothar, ilke, Sara, Bea as well as the US team – Kurt,Cheri, Cassie, Sean, Kurt, Kelly, Doug. We were a dream team in early programmatic and what a laugh we had whilst working our socks off, and there it is, enjoying work will conquer all and boy did we enjoy it!
Finally on the people front, a massive thank you to Becky Hopwood, my one and only assistant through all the travel, the change the ups and downs, my good moods and less good moods! She has been part of everything since 2010 and helped me both at work and out of work and for that I am immensely grateful.
Publicis is going through huge change now, creating a new model for agency groups and I know they will come out of it better and stronger and ready to address this incredibly complex world we now find ourselves in, there is a great a team there and I wish them all the best for the future. I want to thank everyone from all over the world who has sent me notes and messages of support, its been an amazing eye opener, all the people I have crossed paths with and who have got in touch.
Now for the next challenge. In identifying my next role I had some criteria that I was adamant I wanted to have. I was looking for a company that was deep into data, technology and content. I wanted a company that could contribute to the desire of advertisers to engage positively with consumers and be part of their lives in a way that was one to one and added value. I wanted to work at a consumer facing company, being able to use the product, listen to people’s feedback and watch the world engaging with the brand. I wanted to work somewhere that had achieved a lot, but had so much more opportunity to go and finally somewhere that I knew was a company people liked to work for and with. I am hugely excited to have found that role at Spotify.
I am thrilled to be joining a team that is so focused, has a wealth of smart people and product and be able to work alongside all the other team members to create a company that leads the market in innovation around data and tech as well as delivering the best experience for our clients and agencies. I know the next few months are going to be a whirlwind of activity and can’t wait to get going and meet everyone internally as well as our clients. I have had a really enjoyable first chapter in my career and now to the next. 2017 here we come and yes it starts with a trip to Vegas.
Thanks and over & out.
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A few months in photos..#VivaKi

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Welcome to some photos of the last few months to liven up my blog. It has been a crazy few months but incredibly exciting and met some very cool and bright people that make life os interesting.

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The first sights of Cannes, the main event and the Publicis entrance..one was visited more than the other..

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Power ladies on one panel – Carolyn Everson of Facebook, Laura Desmond of SMG, Erin Clift of Spotify and Wendy of Coca Cola – not bad..

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The juxtaposition of the classy Seb Fontaine against the Gutter Bar, we did both very well, great night with Spotify.

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The Rubicon Panel at Le Rooftop, Cannes, the worlds leaders of Trade desks talking the talk. It was hot!

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The Eden Roc outside of Cannes, beautiful spot for an evening meal with a few old friends, colleagues and new friends

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Doubleclick Client Advisory Board in Los Angeles – St Regis. Amazing venue and more announcements from Google. I also had my five minutes in the spot light!

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Google Zeitgeist – the amazing collection of people, politicians, genius types, robots and Jesse J – standard!

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Publicis Investor Day – the great and good of Publicis all at LBi

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CES – More to add here but suffice to say this was the hardest bit to get through

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AOD Summit – 2012

The two days ended with a great talk from one of the godfathers of digital – Scott Ferber. Founder of ad.com the worlds most successful ad net and now founder of Videology. The guy is both crazy and unbelievably bright, engaging and down to earth.

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Two tough days of Audience On Demand and VivaKi bonding, I probably did not plan it brilliantly by accepting an invite from Google to take all 28 of us to the IAA Summer ball! There were some tired faces on day two but it was the right thing to do. The team had a great time.

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We had people from UK, France, Italy, Dubai, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. Too many teams claim to have resource and capabilities in different markets but that means clicking the geo buttons on their DSPs. We have established teams now driving markets forward and it’s exciting to see in action.

There are an amazing amount of similarities between markets, there is a curve of adoption that I believe is reflected in most markets but only where companies are pushing the market. It looks very different if you are a follower. Our teams in Dubai for instance are not pushing they are creating it, I highlight it as the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the people in The Vivaki Nerve Center different.

The two days ended with a panel with Stewart Easterbrook, CEO SMG UK, Matt Roche of Weborama, Ryan Jamboretz of Videology, Jon Slade at the FT and Jason Bigler of Google painted a picture for the markets to take back of a world in which programmatic buying and RTB was going to be fundamental to all their businesses.

This Monday sees a new home for us all. We have enjoyed being part of the SMG team at Whitfield street but very excited about having our own office. It has been two years and 4 months of hard work that has taken us to this point and it feels like the time is right for expansion. I do need to get rid of the curtains though!

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The market is still moving fast with acquisitions and evolutions and indeed people moves. Interesting to see Damian Blackden move to Adnologies this week, showing that data and exchanges are still pulling the talent to them and we continue to meet with a myriad of tech companies all trying to carve out their space.