I believe that everything that has happened to you—the bad things, the good things, the boring, the ugly and the fun—is all part of shaping who you are today. Don’t regret anything, have nothing to apologize for, because it means that you would be regretting who you are today. That you’d rather be someone else.
Hello. Before joining GSP SF as chief digital officer, I was partner at ACNE in LA, where I ran the creative department and directed commercials. I was at Wieden+Kennedy and some Swedish shops before that. I have two kids, one wife, one dog and a Roomba.
What do you do for inspiration?
I read a lot, walk even more and hang out with my family. One can gain a lot of perspective on living in the moment from a daughter obsessed with Play-Doh, crayons, scissors and Mum’s fancy shirts.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Google, Wikipedia and the Guardian.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
It’s always the “next thing” for sure. Looking back and pondering previous success destroys your energy and manners, and it makes you round in all the wrong places.
How many hours do you work each week?
I try to get in to work early and be home by bath time. So I guess it’s about 50 or so. It used to be lots, lots more when I started out. I think it’s crucial to work hard and long when you’re fresh. It molds your brain into automating your creative process, and it will eventually help you out when you’re older and have other responsibilities besides work.
How do you relax or unwind?
In a weird sense I relax when I am working, especially when writing or doing math—I’m in the zone, razor focus, all that jazz. Also, reading is great, but I find most passive activities not as efficient at unwinding me as actively solving problems. Boxing works too.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
I believe that everything that has happened to you—the bad things, the good things, the boring, the ugly and the fun—is all part of shaping who you are today. Don’t regret anything, have nothing to apologize for, because it means that you would be regretting who you are today. That you’d rather be someone else. Better to be you and be happy about it. Being nice helps this philosophy, though.
What software could you not live without?
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
Very, very many. We have client projects in different stages and more experimental stuff.
Who is your target audience?
I want to be humble and say humankind in all its glory. For instance, we target millennials or CXOs or mums in their midthirties. Sure, there are cultural differences between these groups, but on a fundamental level they are all humans struggling with the same desires and problems. Great work transcends this and provides value to anyone, not just the intended few.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
The first one that I loved was with Blond Swedish Amateur back before the tech bubble popped. It was a site for a mobile gaming company, It’s Alive, and the site called your phone and haunted you every night at midnight once you were registered. Awesome! I think it was yellow and black and sported a terrible pixel count. It’s amazing what a decade can do to pixel count.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I have not, but I would love to. Another thing I would love to do is build a cheap version of the Phantom camera, but for still photography. When you pushed the button, it would give you the 10 seconds before as 5K stills at 12 fps. Seems simpler than writing a book that anyone would actually be interested in reading. If anyone knows of such a camera, please let me know.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
I try to be open and just listen. It’s hard because my mouth sometimes has a life of its own. I rarely watch ads or branded content outside of judging it, but am more interested in art, physics, psychology, nature and philosophy. And space travel, of course.
What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?
I really liked what the guys did here for the Doritos Bold Stage at SXSW. We are looking forward to expanding on that.
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
Well, back in the day—way, way back—there was the campfire, and we humans would gather round it every evening to enjoy each other’s company. It was a conversation, a constant to and fro of Stone Age “street smarts” and stories from the good old days. Then came broadcasting; we started shouting at, rather than interacting with, each other. I see digital as the new campfire. It’s all media combined. Anything necessary is here for us to use to enable quality interaction, to talk, listen and learn. The only difference from the Stone Age is that we have much nicer gizmos today. And clothes.
There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer?
Flash is still the most reliable and cost-effective tool to create stunning visual experiences. But yes, ultimately I do think that we all have to ask ourselves, what value does a stunningly visual experience bring to the user? Why should they care? Whether this means the death of Flash, I don’t know, but it seems like we are using it less and less.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes, absolutely. I have worked with many fine alumni from the DIY school.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Work hard, and don’t get married or have kids in the first five years. Always question your ideas and their viability. If you work too much when you are young, your older self will thank you.
How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?
I wasn’t aware everyone calls themselves that. But if I were living in such a world, it would be really hard to hire a developer, for instance.
How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?
I tend to question tech in general. What starts as a no often turns into a YES after some R&D, so the latest capabilities of any tech, Flash or not, are ultimately up to you and your team to figure out.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
The shipping fee for 29.7lbs of dog food.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
Thank you very much.