Will Lynch is Head of Advertising at Ticketmaster Ireland (a Live Nation Entertainment company) where he has worked since June 2011
Company: Live Nation Entertainment, which was formed from the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, is Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California and is the world’s leading live entertainment and eCommerce company. Live Nation Entertainment consists of five businesses: concert promotion and venue operations, sponsorship, ticketing solutions, e-commerce and artist management.
Ticketmaster is the global event ticketing leader and one of the world’s top five eCommerce web sites. We enable passionate fans to easily seek out and discover memorable live experiences.
Job description: I help agencies to generate demand for their brands by reaching our fans. I always try to make sure our agencies look good in front of their clients. I do this by providing premium bespoke media solutions, real value and solid results.
I stepped outside of my digital comfort zone by creating a partnership with Drinkaware.ie where I put Drinkaware ads on the back of all Ticketmaster tickets, which was a media first and it put the message of enjoying alcohol responsibly directly into the hands of our fans at concerts and festivals.
I act as an ambassador for Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster in the industry here and by speaking at digital media events. I also see my role as being a digital evangelist. Admittedly this is a hangover from my Generator days.
Likes: The people. The people who work in the Irish advertising industry and the people who work in my company. The people in the agencies, brands and other publishers are among the smartest, coolest and most fun people you could ever hope to work with. Also working for a massive live entertainment company is pretty cool as I love music, comedy and festivals. Somedays I have to pinch myself to ensure that I am not dreaming.
Career ladder: One of the best days of my life was when I met the visionary Mark Tarbatt in 2005 when I was in my early 20s.
After I left college, I worked in a soporific junior clerical role in Bank of Ireland before flirting with recruitment. I was always passionate about digital. I was still a little reticent to join Generator as it seemed a risky career proposition to join a small start-up but I wanted to follow my dream of working with fun people and with cool websites.
Staying in my comfortable but ultimately unfulfilling recruitment job would have been the easy option until Mark jolted me into action by asking me if I wanted to spend the rest of my life reading CVs all day or did I want to join him on an exciting journey where we were going to revolutionise the advertising industry. I handed in my notice that day and I joined Generator’s nascent sales team.
Generator was Ireland’s first internet advertising sales house and at the time digital was not even a burgeoning industry. It didn’t really exist. It was thanks to the prescience of such people like Mark, Simon Ferguson, Justin Cullen and Shenda Loughnane who were beating the digital drum machine, long before it was de rigueur to do so, that the digital advertising industry is succeeding and thriving to the levels it is today. Generator handled the online ad sales for a select number of premium publishers: RTE.ie, Eircom.net, Microsoft, Bebo, BBC.com, DAFT.ie, RTE.ie, Irish Independent.ie, Communicorp, Vodafone Live and Muzu.tv. Generator was a fantastic opportunity that I was given. Working there was a very happy time in my life as it was a real privilege and a genuine pleasure to work with such prestigious websites.
Mark was a great mentor to have and a very inspiring leader. We had a very talented, capable and smart team in Generator and I am still friends with everyone there. Sadly when a number of our publishers transitioned everything in-house, we had to shut the Generator doors. That was a sad day. I went travelling for six months, came back rejuvenated and was approached to head up a new advertising department in Ticketmaster as we were transitioning our business in house too. Obviously this was difficult for me to do as I had great empathy and respect for the talented team in the sales house that represented us at the time.
I have been able to apply all that I learned in Generator over the years to Ticketmaster to great effect.
If I had any advice it would be this – be passionate, be interesting and follow your dreams. Dream big. Also be nice to all people at all times.
Qualifications: I was studying Sociology and Social Policy in Trinity but for a variety of reasons I never finished my degree. I was once asked when will I finish my education and I replied –you never finish your education as learning is a continuous, lifelong process. People need to keep that spark of intellectual curiosity alive. I am a voracious reader and a proud autodidact.
Working hours: It is 2014. Set working hours are anachronistic. Nothing more than a relic from when the world transitioned from a feudal society to an industrial one and extrinsic motivation was required to crank out more widgets on an assembly line. A book on this area that I would enthusiastically recommend is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. The latest research is both compelling and persuasive. It shows that companies that adopt a ROWE policy enjoy higher productivity, increased morale, increased employee retention and increased revenue. “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
That being said our office hours are 9.30 to 6pm. However, the digital media world never sleeps as it is a very social industry and the digital fingers of the super-caffeinated rarely stop clicking.
Breaktime: Depends. Some days I go to the gym. Other days I don’t take a break at all and others I will have a leisurely lunch with a client. If the sun is shining, I will sunbathe whilst reading a book in Stephens Green.
Social media credentials: Apparently I was one of the very first people in Ireland to have a Twitter and Facebook account. Interestingly though, I was the very first person in Ireland to sell a social media engagement marketing campaign, which was for Disney Cars on Bebo. This was way back in 2006 when the Generator team was spearheading the first wave of social advertising in Ireland. It was very challenging back then and we made some hilarious mistakes which we all learned from. My views on the efficacy of social as an advertising platform have since changed having looked at the research that Bob Hoffman cites in his indispensable blog The Ad Contrarian. When the facts change you should change your mind advised John Maynard Keynes and that is the best advice you can give anyone.
I became hopelessly addicted to both Facebook and Twitter however since weaning myself off both I appreciate the zen like focus I now have for concentrating on work, reading novels and getting things done. Social media stimulates the brain with too much dopamine which makes it increasingly difficult to for our ADD society to focus. I am reading a Daniel Goleman book on this very subject called Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.
Nicholas Carr has an interesting book that convincingly argues how the internet, and social media in particular, literally rewires your brain.
As a part-time comedian I find Twitter to be a brilliant medium to try out pithy jokes. The social validation you get when your tweets get retweeted several hundred times is both delicious and addictive.
News sources: The Guardian. I have been reading that newspaper all my life and they were the first UK news publisher to really get the net. The Irish Times, our newspaper of record, has its uses too. Then I would rely on The New York Times, The FT, The WSJ, Mashable, AdWeek, Digiday, TechCrunch, ValleyWag, Brand Republic, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Business Insider, The Economist, Digg, Zero Hedge, The Ad Contrarian, Wired, Counterpunch, Harpers, The New Yorker, Slate, Vanity Fair, The New Statesman and Lifehacker.
Noam Chomsky often says that the business newspapers, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times in particular, are the most reliable sources of news content as they don’t filter their news through an ideological prism and just report the brutal, unvarnished truth as businesses can’t function in the real world otherwise.
Onsite or offsite: Both. I prefer to be out and about meeting clients and passionately banging that digital drum machine.
Digital strategy/vision: The fact that you are asking that question is a vindication of the innovating work of entrepreneurial companies like Generator, SalesonLine and NetBehaviour back in the day. Having worked in digital for most of my career I would be of the opinion that it is digital or oblivion. This is why The Guardian adopted a “digital first” strategy before everyone else.
Strategy is about making specific choices to win in the marketplace, so if digital is not integrated into your set of choices, then you can’t expect to win.
I love Mondays because: I remember a Tony Robbins quote where he said that a week consists of seven days and how sad it is that most people just live for two. This is a brilliant way of looking at it. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I feel privileged to work with fantastic people in a dynamic company and such an exciting industry.
The most compelling reason to love Mondays is this: We know from the research of the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that we are at our most content when we reach “flow” state, which is an optimal human experience. This is when we get so in the zone that we have a laser like focus on the tasks at hand and our brain stops rattling around with random and emotionally draining thoughts. You can achieve “flow” state at work on a Monday morning but you won’t ever reach “flow” state by passively sitting on a couch watching tv. Unsurprisingly, businesses that can create environments that will induce “flow” states for their employees are businesses that will succeed, thrive and flourish.