The media and marketing industry is ultimately about people. In this weekly series, The Drum speaks to professionals across the sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions with... features the innovation lead for VCCP, Will Harvey.
What was your first ever job?
I used to do a paper round, and would help out with odd jobs for the people I delivered to. I managed to raise £3,000 to go to Zambia in Africa with World Challenge for a month when I was 15!
Why did you get into marketing?
I was working at The Degree Show for Ravensbourne whilst it was moving to a new campus on the Greenwich Peninsula, and during this time I met Nicole Yershon, who was running the Ogilvy Labs. We started developing The Rough Diamond program to give students a creative output within Ogilvy whilst the campus was moving. Off the back of this, I begun assisting her more in the lab, and I became Ogilvy’s first Creative Technologist.
Who is the person you most want to meet in the industry and why?
It would have to be Damon Alban for his collaborative and cross-channel approach to music, performance and cultural collaboration. From Gorillaz to Monkey: Journey To The West, his approach to cross-discipline and challenging the status quo is inspiring.
What is your ideal work night out?
Learn and play. We are so spoilt for things to do every night of the week. For me just going to a talk or networking isn’t enough, there has to be some element of play, or the chance to get hands-on with something, for it to truly sink in and to spark thoughts and creative possibilities.
What have you learned from any mistakes you’ve made in your career?
Previously, when faced with an obstacle to an idea or project, I used to just think: “fuck it, I’ll do it alone”. Over the years I have learnt that sometimes the disruptive attitude of taking the world on by yourself has to be balanced by collaboration with others, so you can find a solution together.
We can’t all be a one-man army as we would burn out and go insane; if you want to invoke change or do something different you need to surround yourself with people who share the same passion.
If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?
GDPR. Everyone is talking about it, panicking and looking at how they can cover their arse. But very few people fully understand the impact this storm will have. We, of course, have to advise our clients on what this means for them, but I think we also need to consider what it means for the end person, as they’re often overlooked. (DON’T call them users; they are people.)
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
To be a challenger to a challenger agency... is a challenge, to say the least.
But in all seriousness the most exciting thing is probably having the freedom to explore outside the usual marketing bubble, and getting to engage with interesting people and start-ups from all walks of life. I love being hands-on with emerging technology, and being able to translate what these could mean for brands and creatives.
Best book you have ever read?
Do Fly: Find Your Way. Make a Living. Be Your Best Self. by Gavin Strange, who is a senior designer at Aardman. I find The Do Book Company truly inspiring, but Gavin’s book in particular really resonated with me.
IPhone or Android?
I’m an Apple fanboy at heart (having worked the Genius Bar at Apple and fixed a fair few broken iPhone screens in my time). My faith has been wavering recently, but I think the iPhone X is one of the best products they’ve come out with recently.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Don't ever go for a role that already exists; create one and make it your own.
10 Questions With... will return after the holidays.