What’s your name and where do you come from?
The name is James and I come from Silicon Valley via Yorkshire and Basingstoke - a frothy mix of big ambition, grit and… not sure what Basingstoke adds to the mix.
What’s your ideal day?
It would start with a swim at my local pool, followed by a sunny ride to Ozone coffee roasters to meet someone interesting for breakfast then either being in at the deep end with a new topic/problem area I’m unfamiliar with and a wildly ambitious and challenging client OR plotting something new to catapult us into the stratosphere. It would end with a beer with the team in the office or nearby then a Vietnamese from Cay Tre where I’m the occasional Mayor on foursquare (not that the owner seems to care).
What is your favourite book?
I have lots but have to pick one so will go for Drive by Daniel Pink. Mr Pink is a dude and he speaks the truth. I’m a big believer in what he says about Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery in being what drives great people. I highly recommend the book. We’ve designed our company with this thinking in mind - in our employee handbook, regular peer reviews and more.
What’s your favourite TED talk?
Ken Robinsons brilliant talk on how schools kill creativity. This is particularly fresh in mind as I was having a chat over a beer with a friend just yesterday. He’s a drama teacher at a school and said how our schools minister plans to cut drama from the curriculum. Now, I can’t act my way out of a paper bag, but the importance of the ability to improvise, confidence in front of groups, clear communication, empathy etc is so key for people these days. I think I’ve diverged from the question a little bit. Go watch Ken’s TED talk. I guarantee you’ll laugh at least once and will feel moved. If you don’t I’ll buy you a coffee from a trendy Shoreditch cafe. Oh, and once you’ve watched it you should share it with more people because it’s awesome and people need to be thinking and acting on this.
What do you want to learn more about?
Oh where to start?! The day we stop learning is the day we start to die. I’m at my happiest when I know I’m about to embark on something I’ve never done before. I love the freedom that some naivety can bring to the picture. But to answer the picture more specifically, I’d like to learn/practice facilitation as that’s becoming an increasingly important skill in my role. I’d also like to learn to draw better pictures. Storytelling and being able to do so visually is super powerful especially when trying to communicate something new. One final thing is, I’d love to know more about the guts of the industries our clients operate in. When you can think at that lower level you’re in a better position to do some radical plumbing and tear things apart. Out of work I’d like to learn about furniture making. I have a secret passion/wish to start a furniture company. One day.
What’s your favourite thing about job?
May be a little cheesy but I think we’re super lucky at Adaptive Lab to have some phenomenal people in the team. There’s the saying that you should always hire smarter than yourself and I’m not ashamed to say that’s certainly the case here. The team are killer and continue to develop so fast and I’m excited (but perhaps even scared too) about what this talent can achieve. I also think we’re very lucky to have some brilliant clients who I really enjoy spending time with. When you’ve got great clients and a good relationship with them it never feels like work.
If I know Wally, and I think I do, he’s at Burger Bear Tom’s getting a badass burger with extra bacon jam.