This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Commodore Amiga. For me, this machine was a large part of my childhood as it was our first ever home computer and probably my most loved Christmas present ever. I vividly remember unwrapping the box (in what must have been 1989) to find my parents had bought us the Amiga 500 bundled with the games Batman the Movie, New Zealand Story, Interceptor and Deluxe Paint 2. We plugged it in immediately and I was hooked...

Defender of the Crown (1986)
This machine soon became how I spent a lot of spare time either playing games (Defender of the Crown  was a firm favourite), trading them with school friends or having them over for tea followed by some frenzied teamwork on games like Pang. However, the utility which probably had the most effect on me was Deluxe Paint. This was a graphics tool like nothing before it and was the little brother of Photoshop today. Some of the features within it were truly ground-breaking (such as the 'undo' button and the ability to create basic animations) and it meant I could be creative, have fun and engage with our home computer beyond just playing games.

Thinking back, this had a bigger influence on me than I realised and it is probably partly responsible for my choice of career. Being able to create something from scratch on a computer was just so immensely rewarding. Whilst I would like to say that my career has all been meticulously planned, instead I have been led into just following what I enjoy whilst ensuring that I am always learning. Obviously, there's a lot of hard work needed too but if what you do for a living is linked to tasks which you get satisfaction of from outside of work it can only make it easier.

For true job satisfaction I also think it's vital that you really believe in the service that the company provides. If you are going to work long hours and put in the extra effort, then you need to be more than just “in like” with the company. If you don’t feel the urge to tell others about the company then it’s probably not a good idea to join. But, if you can fall in love with the company and what they do aligns with your passions, then you will at least want to run hard once you are on board.

In a competitive job market many employers are also now focusing on personal interests to identify your individual talent, personality and creativity. Therefore it can be worth highlighting genuine hobbies that demonstrate an element of both your personality and your skills and how they will benefit the business. You may be keen on video editing but unless you show some initiative and evidence, such as filming a wedding video for a friend, you're not giving them much to go on.

Rocket Ranger (1988)
Linking your interests to achievements and capturing an employer’s interest can make them curious to find out more about you. The thing with hobbies is that, most of the time; it is all about being open to new experiences and showing some initiative. Being a hobbyist is much more than collecting stamps, it's about following your passions, learning new skills and above all, enjoying yourself. If an employer can see that, then you are halfway through the door.

So for me, maybe all of those hours playing Wings or Kick Off 2 in my bedroom weren't a waste of time after all as they showed me what I wanted to do with my life and set me on the path to a rewarding career which I enjoy. Although nothing can quite rival the sense of satisfaction I got on that Saturday afternoon when I completed Rocket Ranger!
Working in Digital Marketing means a lot of my working week is taken up with selling the benefits of digital to colleagues. in fact in the past two weeks I've traveled to Plymouth, Warwick, Loughton, London and Liverpool in order to do just that! Many of these benefits I've covered on this blog before such as tracking, testing, learning and engaging with the user in the place online that they occupy.

Keeping up with the latest tools and techniques is extremely challenging and maximising and evaluating campaigns is a lot of hard work. I also think that for many things digital will actually always be second best. For example, I have always found e-cards to be pretty much a waste of time. Whilst efficient for the business the impersonal and forgettable nature of them will never challenge receiving a real card which someone has bothered to hand write, buy a stamp for and walk to the postbox.

There are lots of digital things that are much easier and more efficient than their analogue counterparts – mail, music, networking, and socialising – but we still hold them in some disdain because they just don’t feel as good. One thing I find is that whilst people are documenting their day on social media through photos/status updates surely this shows that in fact they are not enjoying the moment - otherwise why break away from it to show the world what a 'good time' is being had? Digital formats deliver breadth, depth, interactivity, connectivity, and accessibility in spades – but at what cost?

There is a danger we become journalists reviewing our own lives rather than living them. I can be guilty of this myself as the creation of a digital layer of content for every real event enables greater access, more souvenirs, more connectivity (and a way to show the grandparents what the children have been doing!)

There is just something about the physical; the engagement of the senses, the presence, the effort, the humanity that impacts harder. It’s more authentic, and as the world grows increasingly virtual the actual becomes more and more potent. Ironically, it’s via the digital that we’re accessing more and more of those authentic experiences. Personally, I much prefer sitting down with a good book rather than a kindle.

There is now so much focus on the digital revolution, both in skills and budget, that there is a danger of more traditional skills being lost. If there's one thing I've learned from being married to a history teacher (and from publishing a book with her) it's that knowledge of the past is essential in order to focus on what is important for the future.

Over many years marketing is still essentially what it always was. People may be consuming media in many different ways and via many new channels but they are still the same people and human nature does not change. There may also be some new rules and tools are the marketers disposal but the importance of media planning, storytelling and emotional impact are no different.

I have noticed over recent months that digital marketing is maturing to a point where it is now much simpler and clearer. we know the big channels on which we need to concentrate and the differences between mediums is getting ironed out by the likes of video content. Of course it's essential I keep up with the changes and tools but essentially the online and the offline are now working increasingly seamlessly together.

Concentrating too much on the shiny and fast paced world of digital could mean that the next generation of marketers have not taken the time to learn the basics. What must be learned is how digital interacts with other media, how it supports and extends them, how the rules it plays by have been proven by science decades ago, and what makes it truly different and unique. This is why I see passing on knowledge as one of the most important parts of my job and do my best to always be helpful and approachable.
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