Asad Shaykh is a planner at Founded. After being a client for 4 years, he had a change of heart, succumbed to the dark side and did an MA in planning. He’s never looked back. His past experience spans data design, insight mining and brand management, across 3 continents. At Founded, he’s worked on TripAdvisor, Yazoo, Whirlpool, Logitech and BMI.
Legend has it that he was born with that moustache.
What was your first ever job?
My first job was at my alma mater’s book store. I was in charge of arranging books and CDs, both of which are about to go extinct in the near future. By the time someone else asks me this question, I’ll probably have to say that I started out in antiques.
Why did you go into advertising?
For the ‘Aha!’ moment.
We all know about the ‘Eureka!’ moment. The ‘Aha!’ moment is when someone understands a ‘Eureka!’ moment. I love it when people watch an ad, an idea, or an execution and go ‘Aha!’ It’s a great feeling, both for the maker and the viewer. Advertising is full of such moments, which is why I hopped aboard.
How did you clinch your first job?
I replied to a tweet and wrote about my moustache. It usually gathers more attention than I do, so I thought, “Might as well let it write out its own story”. It worked.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It works in advertising. It works in life. If you want something badly enough, go after it, grab it and never let go. Success doesn’t just happen. You have to push a few buttons and pull a few triggers first.
And what’s the worst piece of advice?
“Shave-off your moustache.”
This was given to me before I got my job, courtesy of my hairy lip. Had I taken it, I might’ve still been applying for work now. The point is to be unafraid of being different. Be utterly yourself. I know I’m sounding like a Disney character, but its true. Give them a memorable hook to remember you by. Luckily, I had two on my face.
How would your typical day play out?
I start my day with two snoozes, then I do what everybody does, I check my phone. On the walk to the tube station check my mind and discuss my plans for the day. Ironically, for a planner, the day never seems to go according to plan. What follows is a haze of meetings, briefs, e-mails, tweets, deadlines, and supervising and organising interns. Before I know it, the day is over and I am on my way back home. I try to be healthy, so my evenings are spent swimming, exercising, or doing yoga. After that, there is usually just enough time for dinner, a glass of red, and a catch up with the latest goings on in Westeros.
What do you see as the next big thing?
Analogue isn’t dead. Digital isn’t the future.
But, Digital + Analogue = Dialogue
The next big thing is seamless multi platform conversations. From billboards to wall-posts, the medium doesn’t matter, only dialogue does. Use any means necessary to spark it, sustain it, and proliferate it.
What inspires you?
Being somewhere new. Watching something new. Trying something new. Nothing triggers the mind like “The New”. The best bit about it is that it lies just beyond our comfort zone, right next to that elusive thing called inspiration.
If you could share a desk with anyone, who would it be?
Professor Brian Cox.
Why? Because I am a geek – and his mind is the perfect mixture of analysis and creativity. A bit like scientists and actors, planners really have to immerse themselves into the brands they are working on. I think he would be a fantastic teacher on how to fully immerse one’s self in information and resurface with something creative, beautiful, and useful.
What’s your one piece of advice for young people looking to break into the industry?
Be tenacious. Be vocal. Be yourself.
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