Walter Pike is a right-brained marketing maven, and an advertising and social media thought leader. Constantly pushing the boundaries of current thinking, he is no stranger to controversy, but with a position that, often challenging, it is well thought out and articulately given. The archetypal early adopter of technology and ideas, he often finds himself in the company of the internet generation. He is the founder of the AAA Digital Marketing Academy, and is on the academic liaison board of the international Chief Marketing Officer’s Council. He is a devoted and involved (divorced) father of three; a sportsman; a highly qualified cricket coach and sports administrator; horseman; fly fisherman; and lover of a good Merlot.
1. What was your first job/ where did you start?
I worked for Ford Motor Company as a zone distribution co-ordinator. I had a computer print out, and dealers would call me for updates on the status of the cars they had ordered from the factory. In other words, I was a human interface device – lucky I moved on, as I would have been replaced by a keyboard and terminal.
2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
The pace of change. I love change, I love the ability to be able to make an impact.
3. Describe a day in your life at present.
Sure that you are ready for this? I wake up at 05:00-ish, pick up my Macbook from the bedside pedestal, and deal with reading mails and some of the RSS feeds. Then I shower; make myself a bowl of oats; and leave for the office at 08:00. Lectures or student mentoring follows, then lunch. Then I have contact with clients, and writing articles or blogs follows. I may meet with people on one of a number of projects that I have running. I have a cup of coffee, and at 18:00, start with a night class for the Digital Academy. That runs to 20:00, but will usually kick out the students at 20:30 or so, as there is always so much to talk about. By then it is too late to make supper, so I usually pop in for sushi on the way home. I open up my Macbook, and for the next hour or so, I interact with my network on Linkedin; Facebook; Skype; and Twitter. Then I feed the dogs; bath; get into bed, and it’s out with the Macbook again - planning; writing reports; dealing with mails; reading; and preparing presentations until I feel tired, usually at midnight or sometime later.
4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song; movie; and book.
I like to cook. I read lots, mostly at least three or four books at a time, often in the bath. I love fly fishing; and sharing a bottle of wine in a restaurant or sitting under a tree.
5. Who would you most like to meet – dead or alive, and why?
Amazingly enough, that’s a hard question to answer, There are just so many people about whom, through their writings; thoughts; and ideas, I have learned so much. So anyone who has an interesting thought to share, as there is something to learn from most people.
6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt?
To have nothing whatsoever to do with negative people and those who suck energy from you. Surround yourself with bright; vibrant; and interesting people. I have found that every poor decision I have ever made has been a ‘sensible’ one. Live on the edge, and do stuff that you have a passion for.
7. What is your secret indulgence and your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
It wouldn’t be much of a secret, if I shared! I can’t live without my internet connection, via my MacBook Pro; my mobile; netbook; or whatever. Also, my chef's knives and my fly rods.
8. What has been the key to your success?
Passion; enthusiasm; confidence; and self-belief.
9. Who is someone you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
I have no icons as such; I truly find that there is much to learn from every person, I have learned as much from illiterate grooms on the side of a polo field as from philosophers. If I have to choose someone, it would be Seth Godin. He is a marketing guru with the courage of his convictions, and prepared to take a risk to share his ideas.
10. What’s your stance on social media?
Social media is the strongest force in society since the industrial revolution. It and the internet are changing every aspect of our lives. The social web profoundly affects every minute of my day.