Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50Over50 – James Sandoval


While the digital, marketing and advertising industry remains in thrall to the cult of youth, tirelessly celebrating 30 Under 30, accelerating generational shifts over the last three decades mean this focus is becoming dangerously short sighted.

50 Over 50 is a series of interviews, shortly to become a podcast, with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over.

James Sandoval is the CEO and co-founder of MeasureMatch, the on-demand professional services marketplace.

What is the biggest mistake companies are making in their attitude to age today?

I suppose it starts with attitude, and openness and awareness and creative application of “older” talent.

The digital media, marketing and commerce industries are 20+ years in the making now. The talent is out there. More of it is in 50+ year-old bodies with sharp, creative, strategic minds, buttressed by deep and broad networks of advisory and operational business relationships and more.

What one thing are you proudest of in your career?

Back in March or April 2000, I eagerly and ambitiously applied for the senior client service leadership role in the team that was formed to fly from Seattle to set up the Avenue A agency business in London. I wasn’t selected for the role, but a few weeks later I was offered a senior account manager position. I took it and never looked back.

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

Although I love to learn, I am, admittedly, a slow burn on that front. That said, I’m most definitely more capable of identifying complementary and productive talent today than in the mid-point of my career.

The team I’m lucky to work with today is the product of time, experience, maturity, appreciation for ideas and more. 

What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?

Seeing team members push to do great work. It’s not always great, but that’s ok, a lot of it is. It’s the trying, the striving for amazing, the doing that is enormously inspiring. We’re learning and creating together and that motivates me enormously.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

Sleep on it. Reactively trying to address a problem, correct a position, challenge an idea, or anything really, especially when it comes from a place of passion or deeply felt emotion, is worth sleeping on for a little contextualizing, to cool down and frame up for a [more] productive outcome.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Slow down and try harder to look at and understand the big picture.

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

Software and data-driven innovation and change across all aspects of our lives excites me enormously. I love to imagine what might be possible in the coming decade – across medicine, mobility, entertainment and, naturally, the future of work.

Specifically, I’m especially thrilled to be building the MeasureMatch business and making a contribution to enabling access to valuable, rewarding work in a borderless world.

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

I have no regrets. I am building on all that I have learned via the path I’ve carved through the digital media & marketing industries.

My path, like most, is decorated with numerous failed innovations, a few broken relationships, a handful of successes and a long string of phenomenal colleagues, clients, business partners, confidants, partners, friends and family from each of which my humanity and entrepreneurial ambitions have evolved, and to each of which I say thank you.