Rishad Tobaccowala: 4A’s Transformation 2010 Speech

4 03 2010

Rishad Tobaccowala of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi, is my new hero.  At the 4A’s Transformation 2010 event, he did something truly rare: he told the truth, in plain English.

It was unambiguous. Uncomfortable to hear. And absolutely right.

See the video here.  I haven’t been able to find a transcript online, so I’m providing an edited one, below. It’s inspiring stuff.

Rishad Tobaccowala: This industry is about talent.  And it’s not about any of the other things.

Go today, to Mountain View. Cupertino. Sunnyvale. Go wherever you want, and you will find that they are fixated on talent. Fixated.

The companies that have a disproportionate share of passionate talent will beat everybody.  And what we need to do like never before is bring and inspire talent into this industry. Because that is what will make this industry be the marketing Renaissance industry it should be.

What sort of talent should we be looking at?

If this is a Renaissance, we need to make absolutely sure that we bring in the builders.

This is a time to build. In the Renaissance, they built. And they painted. And they sculpted.

They did not manage only. They did not data read. They did not organize and re-organize.

They built, they painted, they sculpted. That’s what they did. We need to basically build and attract builders.

But to do that, we have to understand what the digital mindset is. And this is really where one of the big challenges is going to be for all of our industries, which have built up  — besides Silicon Valley –  systems that (…) incentivize seniority.

If you ask what top digital talent wants, they want accountability. They want a culture that lets them do what they want. And this is what they want the most: skin in the game.

The next generation wants wealth, and it has three types of wealth.

They want a wealth of experience, which means give me an opportunity NOW. They want a wealth of education — surround me with very good people and teach me. And sooner or later, they want economic wealth. And we must find ways to give it to them.

Because if we don’t they will build somewhere else. And that’s not going to be good for any of us.

When you came into this business, you came in with audacity. What you see in Silicon Valley is audacity. Remaking industries — that’s audacity.

You came in with dreams and now you stand with spreadsheets. Let’s get back to the audacity and the dreams.

And you know what? The spreadsheets will fill up beautifully.








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