1. What’s your career background, in brief?
Everything I’ve done professionally so far has revolved around either writing or music, and sometimes both. I studied music full-time at college before going on to do journalism at Kingston University (while also writing for various music magazines and interning at Warp Records in between). I then landed a job as a copywriter for Sony Electronics, which also involved me writing a fair bit about music.
After two and a half years I felt a change was in order, and that’s how I came to arrive at Whiteoaks as a content creator!
2. What’s the most challenging job you’ve ever had?
Some of my most testing times came while working the bar at a local golf club as an 18/19-year old. We often held weddings, birthday parties and countless other functions — and I was quite regularly the only one manning the fort. This meant pulling hundreds of pints with one hand and tidying up empty glasses with the other hand, while simultaneously being shouted at by some drunk bloke who couldn’t deal with the fact we had no Jägermeister left. It definitely taught me the art of multi-tasking and how to deal with tricky customers.
3. What apps, technology items and gadgets can’t you live without?
Despite efforts to wean myself off social media, I’m hopelessly devoted to Twitter. I use it to stay on top of the news, tweet stream-of-consciousness ramblings and over-analyse everything that Kanye West posts.
I use Evernote a lot to jot down notes and any other ideas that pop into my head. I’m currently using it to keep track of all the books I’ve read so far this year, and everything that I still need to get round to reading (guess which list is longer…). I’m also a massive podcast nut, so I’m regularly making use of the Pocket Casts app.
Finally, I recently caved and bought myself a Nintendo Switch, and it’s the best decision I’ve made in ages (although my girlfriend might disagree). I used to play Zelda all the time as a child, and so immersing myself in Breath of the Wild on the Switch is bringing all those childhood memories flooding back.
4. What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Akio Morita, one of the co-founders of Sony, used to always say that ‘curiosity is the key to creativity’, and that’s always stuck with me as something that can be applied to all aspects of both life and work. Other than that, I’m a firm believer that life is too short to waste time reading books that you’re not enjoying.
5. Name one thing about your job that gives you a sense of satisfaction or makes you leave the office smiling…
It might sound contrived, there’s nothing better than receiving positive client feedback on something I’ve written. As a writer I’m constantly having to deal with feedback on my work, and it’s not uncommon to have to do rewrites or tweaks to get it right. It’s therefore incredibly satisfying when a piece of copy is approved first time around with no changes — it’s a huge confidence booster and a sign that I’m in tune with the client’s tone of voice and messaging.
6. Do you personalise your workspace?
Short answer: No. I like to try and keep my space quite minimal — try being the operative word in that sentence. You can usually find a magazine or two lying on my desk, and I have a few books around writing tucked away to one corner. Oh, and I can’t forget the PG Tips monkey that I pilfered from the old Whiteoaks International office…
7. What’s the first thing you do in the office in the morning?
Coffee. Always. I need at least two cups before I can start functioning like a proper human being, so I’ll make a bee-line to the coffee machine before checking my emails and catching up with the morning headlines. I’m safe to talk to from about 10am onwards.
8. What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment?
Reading: an incredible book called I Still Dream by James Smythe, a fascinating look at the future potential of artificial intelligence and probably the best thing I’ve read so far this year.
Watching: I loved Three Billboards… and the new Wes Anderson film Isle of Dogs. Apart from that, Curb Your Enthusiasm, on repeat, forever.
Listening: I’ve currently got the new records from London-based producer Paul White and Chicago rapper Saba on repeat, and I’ll always make time for new episodes of The Adam Buxton Podcast.