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An interview with Joe Pollard

April 11, 2013


A good session last night at Fourth Estate Domain (FED) as Tony Faure, Chairman of startup incubator Pollenizer interviewed Joe Pollard, CEO of Publicis Mojo.

Joe’s had a fantastic career in digital, spanning 10 years at Nike in the US, a few years at Nike Japan, was CEO of NineMSN (Now Mi9) and I believe she even mentioned she sits on the board of Nine Entertainment Company too.

They’re doing interesting things over at Publicis Mojo, specifically Joe referenced a client where not only have they done the creative, but to ensure they get results, they have also:

  • Negotiated a profit share of sales generated by the campaign (‘skin in the game’)
  • Operate the customer service call centre
  • Manage the sales team for product sales
  • Make daily decisions about digital marketing to ensure demand and conversion to sale are effective

Overall, a great session – thought it was worth jotting down few highlights here. I’ll try and post LaVolta’s video when they post it online.


1.       Australians don’t allow or learn from failure enough. In fact, we tend to openly criticise the success of others, which is unique to our culture.

  • We hear this over and over again in the Australian startup scene. The Australian business culture simply doesn’t tolerate failure. Joe actually recalled one of her workplaces (I think Nike) having had a regular event to celebrate failures, in a light hearted way, but to ensure that everyone learnt from them. In fact, no campaign from Nike was ever pre-tested – they simply learnt from experience and rapid deployment.

2.       Western cultures spend 1/3 of each project planning and forming strategy, while Asian (Japanese) culture spends at least 2/3 of the project planning. Execution is then quick and efficient.

  • I like this one as it aligns to the way I think about strategy – if you’ve done the hard work to know specifically what problem needs to be solved, and how to solve it, then you won’t spend as much time course-correcting your execution.

3.       Data is meaningless without someone who can translate it into meaningful insights that creative can understand. The demand for these types of people will only increase in the next 10 years.

4.       “Innovation only happens when you TRULY understand the problem you’re trying to solve.”

Well said!


UPDATED 18/04: Here’s a link to teh video posted on Lavolta’s site: 


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