One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting and interviewing truly inspirational people. The new digital age has meant this privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some of the most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.
In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.
Bruce is Twitter’s EMEA boss. However on top of this he also somehow manages to find time to produce the fascinating and top-ranking podcast Eat Sleep Work Repeat.
This sparked his first book, about work culture, the inspirational The Joy of Work, published this month. We’ll be reviewing the book later this month.
We found out what one of the busiest, and loveliest, of our industry leaders really thinks. And why glazed ham was his top ad of 2019.
What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the digital industry in 2019?
Burnout is going to continue to take its toll on everyone – from the bosses down. Most of us recognise that we stumbled exhausted into the end of the year and it’s an inviting prospect to repeat it. Organisations that realise exhaustion is the enemy of creativity will start pulling ahead.
What was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?
I was pleased to see a lot of good eggs doing well last year. I’m hoping for more of the same in 2019. I’m convinced 2019 is when the good guys (including girls) win.
Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?
This is going to seem odd because I’ve interviewed some big names and Zeynep Ton is certainly not a name. Zeynep is a professor of business operations who observed that the retail businesses that set about creating good jobs for their workers turned out to be twice as profitable as those toxic zero hours contract polluters.
Energised by this, she asked herself ‘could I use this evidence to change the lives of 10 million people?’. Inspirational stuff and when she took the call from Walmart it became clear to her that this was a real chance to change lives – not just the aspiration of a dreamer.
What one technology are you most excited about this year and why?
I’ve not worn a watch since I was a teenager but the Apple Watch ECG technology hints that there’s going to be a lot of innovation in wearables ahead. I might eventually get one.
What was your favourite ad or digital experience of 2018?
My friend was in some Walkers Crisps ads at Christmas (she played a glazed ham) so I’m going to say that one.
What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever?
‘Let’s jump on a call’. It sounds so fun. It’s not fun. I don’t want to be jumping on no call.
Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t?
Alain de Botton. I’ve tried about five times. Or Derren Brown actually. He’s said some fascinating stuff about happiness. He’s never replied to my requests.
How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?
I’d be persuaded by someone who seems to have a genuine interest. Someone who is familiar with what I talk about. I’m not always bothered about the size of the platform they’re on but more whether the interest seems sincere.
A lot of the approaches I get (for my job more than for media) are from people who are just doing a spray and pray approach to outreach.
Read Adweek’s Ronan Shields Interviewing the Interviewers thoughts here.