Claim to fame
A screen writer, film director, media specialist and father of triplets.
CEO and chief creative officer of NATIVE VML
On dual city citizenship
NATIVE was launched in October 2010 through the merger of three digital specialists. From the beginning we wanted to create a national agency that had dual offices. Our aim was to be a full service digital agency that clients could interact with in both cities. I live in Cape Town, which meant I needed to get proper commuting systems in place to ensure I stayed as productive as possible.
Commuting regularly can be incredibly time consuming, and at first I found I lost up to eight hours in a week. So now I have a few rules. I have my routine down pat, from how I pack my bag, to how I travel to the airport, which airline I use and which hotel I stay in. A polished routine saves a lot of time, as long as you stick to it.
On frequent flyer miles
One of the key lessons we’ve learnt is not to skimp on flights. I always fly BA. Because I stick with one airline, they know me. I collect frequent flyer miles, but more importantly I have access to the lounge and the airline knows me.
It takes care of me; I’m placed in an aisle seat where I can work — with an empty seat next to me if the flight isn’t full. All these details help me work, and end up being a huge time saver each week.
On video conferencing
We use sophisticated video conferencing technology with multiple screens — one for people and the other for documents. I move between cities, but the video conferencing facilities are used all day every day, making it possible for team members to touch base regularly.
On spending time with clients and staff
It might be the digital age, but it’s still important to have face time with clients, which is why we’re so focused on having two hubs and why I travel each week. I also believe my staff need to see me. As CEO, part of my role is people leadership. It’s my job to inspire and motivate my team and to help keep them focused. That’s difficult to do without face-to-face contact. It’s important for our team to know that I’m accessible.
One of the things you quickly learn when you spend as much time in the air as I do is that your whole body starts shutting down when you fly. Your energy levels fall and you get sick more often, which makes it incredibly important to exercise regularly.
As a busy entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day work and forget to take care of yourself, but I’ve learnt that exercise time is still productive time. Once you’ve got that mindset right, you’ll be much healthier, more concentrated and more productive.