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Listening to stories

Notes on life, by James Welch

ReloLondon part2 – how to network

Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a job.

I’m excellent at networking but haven’t yet secured a job. I want to relocate back to the UK and find an awesome role. Not any old role. So, I’m talking to anyone who’ll listen. Looking for the ‘right people’ who can introduce me to more of the ‘right people’.

It takes a while to work out who the ‘right people’ are. And I’ve worked it out. Let me share.

The ‘right people’ in life – well, in my life – are the ones are break the mould. They stand out and they stand for something. And they tell bloody good stories.

I met Ant Middleton the other night here in London. He’s an ex-special forces, now TV show, hero in the UK. Ant Middleton says he doesn’t brief his tv production teams about the scary details of the upcoming shoot. He tells them the risks aren’t as high. And leads them along the way.

AntMiddleton_JW
TV Heros. Ant Middleton & JW – a selfie

Ant Middleton says,

Don’t be a sheep. Be yourself. The best version of yourself. Be a shepherd.

Ant Middleton finds a positive in every negative. And he’s a complex character. The evening was another amazing event by the Marketing Society.

The next day I met Richard Shotton. I worked with him 15 years ago, but now I’m just one of his fans… Yeah, #fanboy. He’s recently published a book called The Choice Factory. If you haven’t read it – and you work in business of any sort – you should. It’s all about short cuts for getting people to think differently. The format of each chapter is what you want from a business book. Engaging! ChoiceFactory.png

Title/subject – Illustration (anecdote) – Explanation (research) – Implementation (how to apply this).

I had an epiphany on Rich’s behalf. I’ve suggested that he now builds upon one particular section of the last book… and start to manipulate thinking among groups that society wants to manipulate. EG rehabilitation of young offenders. I told him:

Imagine if you did a ‘reality show’ with Ant Middleton as the trainer of young offenders and you’re doing the ‘live-on-air’ program adaptation to help remould the young offenders.

If it happens, I’d be delighted. But I think they are both building their own fame independently for the meantime. Fair cop.

And that’s the problem with job seeking, I keep finding roles for other people who are quite happy with their existing roles. But it helps me with my own stories, my own positioning. My own job seeking. And it helps me find more of the ‘right people’.

Are you one of the ‘right people’?

ReloLondon part1 – how to house hunt

Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a home.

William, 8 years old, has a new school starting in Surrey in January. We need to find a place to live near there. Rent first, buy later.

Montage
Exploring Surrey, including the school, the houses & the pubs with my parents

Went house hunting this weekend with my parents. Had a pub lunch. Bumped into a family that we know from Dubai in the pub. Small world. They have just relocated to the area too. Great news – what shortcuts can they offer? Things they wish they’d known or are glad the already knew that we might not. Handy.

Fell in love with the area. That’s handy, too.

Digital Success Stories – An Audition

JW – looking pensive on train to Manchester

This is a story of how to ‘audition’ for a new job in digital transformation. Pull in favours from friends!

This is also a story of poor hiring policies: getting people to go above and beyond the call of duty when actually there is no job to apply for!

I’d applied to join an in-house digital transformation team. The team that is being built to drive change in a big retail conglomerate with an HQ in Dubai.

I’d had three face-to-face interviews by now, where we’d talked tech, experience and measured appropriateness for the role in Dubai. Then came the email from Group HR, asking for me to audition to be part of this business transformation. The email read:

We would like you to send us a Digital Audition through any digital medium of your choice. We would like this to be as flexible and convenient for you to complete as possible and some of the key things we are looking for from you are:

– An introduction to yourself
– What are you passionate about?
– How do you think you can impact our culture?
– What keeps you up at night
– What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it?

Continue reading “Digital Success Stories – An Audition”

The Marketing Society Middle East: Dubai’s growing buzz

MarSocLogoThe collection of senior marketers at each Marketing Society Dubai event grows more diverse, interesting and whatsmore, engaged each month.

On this occasion, two years since our launch, on arrival there were senior marketing execs from Dubai Airports, Emirates NBD, The Entertainer, IBM, Majid Al Futtaim, MBC, Unilever sprinkled with a handful of senior agency and consulting folks.

Each event gets busier and with a bigger buzz.Welch_CalvinHart_3

And that’s why we keep coming.

The conversations amongst this growing community before the main attraction are often as meaningful as anything said on stage.

Regular marketing community interaction, beyond big festivals, is rare in this part of the world. It’s becoming vital to catch up on unfinished conversations from the last time; great to build upon growing friendships; a delight to share ideas, opportunities and general chit-chat.

Then we remember that it’s the food for thought that counts the most, in theory. 

So when Calvin Hart, the fabulous storyteller, gets on stage with an attitude of clear ambition and wealth of experience to colour the framework set by his agency story, we sit, learn and think that we should have more people like him in our own teams. Continue reading “The Marketing Society Middle East: Dubai’s growing buzz”

#OnTheCouchWith: Ash Banerjee, The Man Who Warned Against Data Ethics & Governance Breach

Ash_welch

In early 2017, when we sat down to discuss the format, the purpose and the opportunity of the #OnTheCouchWith series, we didn’t anticipate the foresight inherent in all the people we were yet to meet on the couch.

We created many episodes and not all have made it to light as yet. Other projects do get in the way of “house” projects like these. For example the 140-episode series that we undertook for Emirates Group’s ‘Be There’ campaign which has enjoyed over 150 million views. Across this project and all others, we work with clients to produce a series of ‘wow’ moments that can lead to transformation.

And here’s a new ‘wow’ moment: now is the time to bring Ash Banerjee’s insights to light. The Managing Partner of Lighthouse was setting up his consultancy around the time of filming about a year ago, and you’ll hear him speak about the dangers of unmoderated algorithms and data. The present-day focus on the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook debacle makes his prescient observations extremely relevant.

In Episode 54, Ash talks about how data can help build amazing customer experiences, citing Disney’s Magic Band as an example.

In Episode 55, he expands on how using data appropriately is quite critical to informing and building excellent customer experiences.

In Episode 56, he says big platforms such as Google and Facebook need to be careful. “Algorithms are machines and machines don’t have morals,” says the man who can see around corners, as he stresses the importance of data ethics and data governance.

#braveleaders in the Middle East

The Marketing Society Middle East is the fastest growing element of the MarSoc world (London, Edinburgh, New York, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong). So it’s a delight to put on our first conference in an excellent venue, the Vox Cinema in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, The Brave Conference. #braveleaders.

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#braveleaders in the audience as well as on the stage

Recurring themes underpinned the excellent and unique presenters. Unique in their storytelling and unique in their outlook. All demonstrating different themes of bravery. Let’s look at some of these themes.

Honesty and relevance are key to bravery. Ros Atkins, presenter, Outside Source, BBC World News and BBC World Service, gave an honest story of passion, preparation and purpose. Which turned out to be the three Ps of #braveleaders in business as a whole and marketing in particular.

Accessibility and going against perceived & received wisdom are key to bravery. Asad Rehman, Chair of the Marketing Society Middle East and Director Media, North Africa and Middle East, Unilever, Continue reading “#braveleaders in the Middle East”

Transparency is a murky word (Radio Interview)

 

DIGITALORCHESTRA_TRANSPARENCY
Picture credit: Murky Fish by Joybot, Hong Kong Wetland Park

 

When you know you’ve got only a seven minute slot on the radio as the advertising industry insider one weekday evening, 610pm, do you plan what you’re going to say. Of course you do. And better, if you’ve got a chance you can prep the presenters as to what you think they will find interesting to talk about.

Here’s how it went recently. Forgive me if it’s a bit glib. But it’s not for an industry audience, it’s for the mass audience of Dubai commuters driving home.

We talk about disruption, personally identifiable information, relevant advertising, dynamic creative optimisation, industry collaboration, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), bang for your buck, consumers are key let’s not forget that… and finally “transparency is a very murky word”.

Recorded in Feb 2017 on the Tim Elliott and Alex Hirschi Drive Live Show on DubaiEye1038.com

 

 

#OnTheCouchWith… Augmented Humanity

onthecouchwith_episodeone-001-jpeg-001-jpeg-001[This is taken from the research project, TheFuture:Exposed (aka #onthecouchwith) which was kicked off by interviewing thought leaders in Dubai. This research will continue, on stage, at Dubai Lynx, the festival of creativity, on Sunday 5th March, 2pm, with two inspiring thought leaders, PK Gulati and Philippe Blanchard. Hope to see you in the audience!]

EPISODE ONE

https://youtu.be/_bn4GmIQ9co

In today’s world we’re all having to learn how to cope with the pace of change and how to respond. The pace of change is something that – as consumers – we adopt without blinking but as businesses, we get stuck with the legacy of yesteryear.

This is why adaptation is key and one of the fastest ways to grow is to understand the psychology of people and trends across this distinct and exciting region.

The region is exciting but without a sense of purpose it’s easy to drift rather than drive. The only way to drive in the right direction is to find a meaning to what you do. And then to fight for a way forward, fight until you win; fight like a gladiator. Continue reading “#OnTheCouchWith… Augmented Humanity”

BRING ON BLOCKCHAIN

 

[NB #nextmoneydxb events are regular. Sign up here, today: www.nextmoneydxb.com]

The problem with blockchain is that same problem that all today’s technologies face. Most people seem to be focused on the technology and not the benefits. The result: the man on the street might feel that blockchain isn’t of interest. But within a few years, blockchain will underpin all sorts of industries. This was a recurring theme during the last “FINTECH Hangout”, a collaboration between Next Money DXB and Emirates NBD.

blockchain
A full house at Dubai Future Accelerators for the NextMoneyDXB event, Bring On Blockchain

Blockchain is still in its infancy. One day, Zahir Khoja of MasterCard, the moderator for this first “FINTECH Hangout”, assured us, no one will Continue reading “BRING ON BLOCKCHAIN”

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