Meet Grahame Lake of GLA. Once upon a time he wanted to be a footballer, drummer and palaeontologist, all at once. He has a whole host of reasons for why those particular dreams didn’t come to fruition but don’t despair, dear readers. He’s ended up as the head of a successful publishing agency known as GLA instead. He goes on to mention why his friends think he’s the zaniest and why you should never take a call if you’re in the middle of something important (except if it’s a Skype call from an ex-Prime Minister). Intrigued? Read on…
#1. So Grahame, what’s your most favourite word?
#2. What gets you up in the morning?
My alarm clock.
#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?
It has the possibility of being the Emperor’s new clothes. But I’m not convinced it’s all it’s cracked up to be.
#4. Kindles or books?
Kindle on holiday, book for real reading.
#5. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
Pricing. Constant drive for lower and lower prices, for more and more work, and only some of that can be picked up by technology. A lot has to be picked up by people working longer hours.
#6. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I had three choices; none of which I was very good at… One was a footballer, the second was a drummer and the third a palaeontologist. I was too crap to be a footballer, not good-looking enough to be a drummer and not intelligent enough to be a palaeontologist.
#7. What led you to your current career?
The band I was in at the time in 1982 folded so I had to get a proper job. Since then, I’ve been in publishing. Properly.
#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
I can, but not spontaneously.
#9. Jolly good. Can you make it rhyme?
My friends say I’m the zaniest because I’m so spontaneous.
#10. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t take yourself too seriously when you’re younger. You can, certainly, if you’re doing well and you’re successful but until that point, you’re just a very small fish in a very big lake.
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Apart from marry me? I can’t think of anything better than that.
#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career defining moment’?
Leaving consumer publishing and joining the contract publishing sector in 2004. I think that’s the best professional move I ever made. I found I enjoyed the people, the clients; every part of it. It was the best move I made and it was totally by accident. A friend who I’d worked with 13 years ago left a message on my answering machine to ask me if I’d do some maternity cover. I never left that company and actually ended up as Managing Director.
#13. If you won a big award of some kind, whom would you thank?
First of all, myself, then all of the people who worked for me!
#14. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?
You’re asking a person who doesn’t manage his time very well! I think you should review your ‘to-do’ list first thing in the morning and move the three most important things to the top. Don’t do anything else until they’re done.
Another one is: if you’re in the middle of something really important, don’t take a call. You’ll never be able to get that pace and energy back afterwards.
#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
Pretty much the same as it is now. I think we’re in a period where the pace of change is slowing down. Not because of the technology coming into the industry isn’t ground-breaking any more, but we’re finding less ways to apply that technology; there’s only a certain number of ways you can get content to a person. So no, I don’t think we’ll see things change dramatically over the next 24 months.
#16. Where were you 24 months ago?
Happy. I’d just bought an agency.
#17. What’s an interesting fact about your company?
Our company is really actually an iceberg, of which I am the tip you see just above the water.
#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone living or dead, whom would it be?
I would find it very difficult to resist the opportunity to Skype Winston Churchill. Not just because of the figure he was but because he was known for his great wit; he was incredibly funny.
#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?
#20. Mind taking a selfie?
#21. What’s your favourite Twitter Handle?
@ReportUK who distil the news and put it into tweets – very useful.
#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
“Never give up. Ever.”
#23. Apart from seeing us, what’s been the best part of your day?
The best thing to happen today may still be to come!
#24. And finally, anything to plug?
GLA. Possibly the best agency you’ve never heard of.