My story might lead you to rethink
My story might lead you to rethink, what you do, how, with whom, and if you risk of “burning out”. My story is the official ‘launchpad’ to my new site, my new journey, and the things I aspire to do, so as to make an impact. My mentors taught me that you make a difference, only when you carve the world around you…
My story might lead you to rethink
Last night I had the “final-push” chat with my supporter and silent co-founder, on what we’re about to deploy. We were reflecting on our worldview, businesses, ideas, people and were wondering what’s next. At 23:10 exactly, I’ve decided to transfer our discussions in this article for all of you, and also make it the launch of my website.
Corporate world in disarray
Managers’ internal politics, incompetence, fear of losing the ‘status-quo’ (still) kill brands, outcomes, sales growth, and investments for the Economy 4.0. No one worries much (besides protecting their job) because they have huge replenishment resources’ pools.
The transformation will kill old models, attitudes, and arrogance. It will give birth to a new value set. In such a context, if you stay ‘as you were’, you risk of becoming obsolete, complacent, heavy, without a spark inside …like the sparks we had inside us when we were young to learn, achieve, be top at the game.
The medium-sized businesses was my first stop
According to EU, they are the backbone – the huge part (10-50 full-time employees) of our economies. In the last 4 months, from chat to chat (trying also to figure out myself what’s at stake with them), I listened carefully to 36 owners (e-shops, exporters, service integrators, digital services). I got terrified. They are “trapped” into a routine.
No progress, no culture in place, and the greatest: they’re not learning anymore. They risk going out of the Economy 4.0. No, I’m not biased by my former global role. Before that, I was also chasing little customers…
On the other hand, I admit that I’ve felt for them. It was obvious from their examples that a bunch of great salesmen (consultants, coaches, developers, CRM developers, all the digital guru ‘clan’, and IT support) is sucking their energy and resources out. You can’t imagine how many failed projects I’ve heard…
Then, checked to my dear agency world
I contributed to 3 PR projects to three different agencies as an external resource, to test the grounds. When you contribute with a simple project idea to a young PR exec and instead of feeling back the spark, you receive a ‘clerical’ email “Thank you, that’s great.” without when, what, how… there’s nothing more to say. Thank you, Ericsson, for putting so much pressure on me for 7 years and for making me rejuvenate my competence.
Then, when you talk to the agency bosses -who own an overall good strategy view- you feel that their plan isn’t ownable by the team. Them you hear the same old stories: young=inexperienced; senior=no initiatives; customer=always to blame.
Be independent, see clearly
Being independent, I can be vocal and loud: there’s no ‘silo’ advertising, marketing, PR, or digital field anymore. All blend into one view. From the marketer to the agency creative guy. Functional views might be the claimed ground of agencies fighting for market share. Take it from a professional who just a year ago planned a global platform having 8 global agencies with different expertise around the same table…
We live in the era just before bots, A.I, and automation takes the high ground; in this ‘war’, we have Service excellence, Creativity, Personalized experiences off-and-online (for the economy) and a strategic sharpness to combine all (Marketing & Communications). Just because some owner is offered a good FB page-only handling or a great woocommerce solution, he or she won’t be saved in the next 5 years.
What kept me sound was my market audit
Being in this career transition and while facilitating my first consulting projects, I’ve done 360 personal discussions with former customers, peers, partners sampling from business owners, marketers, and startups. What a bless! Hear, think, check, cross-check, combine, get insights, rehearse and test your ideas against all these. But primarily hear… (read here my respective blog post).
Go-to-market. You might even start some mutually beneficial alliances (ah! let me not forget this: although synergies and partnerships are needed the most, still you don’t see it often around – egos and arrogance still rule).
I wasn’t getting discouraged anymore
After my audit, my refreshed energy was hitting red! I started waking-up 06.00 every morning, inspired with the coming step in my project plan (mind you: my OneNote has now 250 pages: content, ideas, podcast themes, partnership proposals, new business pitch proposals for agencies and many more). I started worrying (that’s a healthy sign!!) again about my costs, how to combine two appointments, what the taxation policy says about the X issue, and if I noted the Z idea down. I felt again as when I was creating stuff at my first creative agency back in 90’s.
I was getting feedback and support and encouragement. It was time for “Borrow my Brain” to take form, competing against those that have destroyed companies, brands, people, and careers. Competing against the copy-paste plagiarism. Bring lack originality. The spark was alive again.
My friends only know that I’ve disappeared from social media, writing articles, or sharing content. A bit the corporate fatigue, a bit the burden of negative news. A bit the thought “why am I writing for others?” “Borrow my Brain” started taking new forms: company, logo, domain, blog, expert content, e-books and much more in the plan.
It doesn’t matter how much you make unless you have a purpose
My customers loved me, for 16years in the ad business, because I was proving (not just saying it) to them, that I’m not after their pocket, but after their results. If you have a vision and results, then the money will follow. The exact same principle here.
Yes, we should make a decent living. But there shouldn’t be affiliates, networks, hidden costs. Simply work for your Customer’s Growth, tell the bloody truth, and add value (actionable); otherwise, we’ll all go to ruins together.
Make Paradox your marketing friend
I am sure that you have been exposed to Eric Ries’ “WHY”. So, I’ve asked myself the same “WHY” for the commercial policy of my new journey. “What if we don’t work for a high (niche) premium?”; “What if Consulting would be affordable for anyone in the EU markets, smashing the paradox “(you can’t offer sophistication if it doesn’t cost .000000”); “What if we leave ‘naked’ those competitors charging triple-price for the one-third of the value we will give?”; “What if we ask for less than the (‘fraud’) internet seminars and we combine actionable ideas on Growth marketing + Storytelling + Digital Transformation, all connected in one view, one plan?”
The key to a great life lies in shifting your focus from accumulation to contribution. The old saying “He who gathers the most toys wins” needs to be replaced with “He who serves the most prospers”.
Remember, happiness is the by-product of a life spent adding value to other people’s lives.
There was one part missing from the puzzle.
Young talent. They are burying themselves in the old-school system. They aren’t being prepared for tomorrow’s economy. Stacked in negative context and news, sometimes isolated from creation, and always with a CV at hand. These were always my ‘buddies’. What can I do? They are runing like ‘headless chickens’ from HR to HR initiative, coding weekends, and speeches where mentors show them slides with ladders going up in the sky.
Most of my young friends, startup change-makers, and mentees look at me as being the peculiar guy, when I explain Change and how the world operates. That was my click. To help them become the pioneers, creatives, and leaders who challenge the status quo and connect us to the future.
The idea of my podcast was born, #Askpagakis
“Everyone from Gary V, up to old-timers turn to this # thing”, some will think. It’s OK, as long as they think (ha, ha, ha), but my #Askpagakis is a very simple, locally relevant idea of social contribution. It’s something I feel strong inside. I don’t want to address the startup ‘hype’ – enough with them!
With my voice and blogging, I will share with young Cypriots and Greeks all the things, that I think will equip them for the future. All the things I’ve seen coming in Stockholm, New York, Tokyo, Bucharest, Rome and in the global innovation centers.
I can’t change old-schooling, parenting fears, not even the social routine we follow, but I will try my best to ignite their energy and thinking.
With this whole journey in plan, I feel more complete
For the first time in years. Ready to unleash what my ‘devilish’ mind can combine and create, giving it to others. Partnering with ad-hoc project owners. Offering immense value. Training leaders in spokesperson techniques. Supporting PR agencies to break the narrow web-attention span. Writing content for brands and activations. Teaching steps for digital transformation in. Anything that looks into Growth, not budgets.
Now, let’s play the game (update: 23/11/2017)
The one that I know best. After thousands of pitches with an approximation of 60% success, I’ll offer everything I have so we can ignite all together, Customers and partners, for good. “Borrow my Brain” is a mission to support European SME owners for Growth and the Communicators to add ‘juice’ to their plans.
One, two, or ten, it doesn’t matter. At least, ‘save’ some good, hardworking people who wish to adapt to the transformation. Turn-key, practical, actionable independent view on Growth marketing + Storytelling + Digital Transformation, all connected in one.
I don’t write this piece simply to launch my journey and ignite likes. As you know, the Facebook algorithm might ‘block’ it. I’m writing it because I want to tell you that there are no ‘dead-ends’.
I’m writing it in tribute to the fact, that this very morning (23/11/2017) I’ve received a DM in Linkedin from a young manager, reminding me (and thanking me) for αν advice, I’ve given him back in time. He explained how my advice helped him grow, explore, and develop his career abroad.
I’m writing this piece, so we stop saying “That’s great!” and we start asking how, when, who, how much. Business growth-leadership-communications-people are in disarray. Let’s change this, even by a mere 2%.
So, stay tuned. Give me feedback. Let’s share more. Sign-up for my newsletter. Let’s spread the tools to tackle transformation for good. Let’s connect (at least my friends in…) one Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Malta, Romania, Serbia.
And until you send me your remark, email, or give me a call, please think my motto: “Growth shifts. Disruptions accelerated. A new societal deal is here. Powerful forces for Companies, Owners, Change-makers, and careers will hit us hard for 20 years more. Don’t go there alone, Borrow my Brain”.
Your friend in action, Tasos P.
This post is also available in: Greek