7 min read
Hello and welcome to another amazing episode of the People of Marketing Podcast. It also came to be known as the greatest side to warm delicious tea. To me at least.
This one got me really riled up. Oliver Yonchev is 29 years old which is something to keep in mind while you’re tuning in. Because he’s done an annoyingly large amount of things in his life. And he’s, at this age, the managing director of one of the world’s fastest-growing Agencies, Social Chain. He’s responsible for the development of the group’s North American operation. At 29 he’s at the forefront of creative and social media marketing, delivering global strategies for the likes of Amazon, Coca Cola, Disney, Uber, TikTok to name just a few.
Listening to this episode got me both inspired and relaxed at the same time. Because aside from the fact that Oliver’s accomplished so many cool things in his life ‘til now, he’s also one of the most laid-back people I’ve listened to.
Am I being unclear? Maybe you should listen for yourself:
The first time I ever did that and it led me on a completely different path in my life
I’m absolutely always impressed by those moments that feel so random as they happen and yet end up being life-changing events. The story of how Oliver ended up at Social Chain is just one of those lessons we should all internalize.
“A funny story about how I joined Social Chain, it was a complete coincidence.
I’m was still in Bauer and I maybe had some entrepreneurial roots. I was getting to a point where I had thousands of ideas that I was eventually going to turn into businesses and I was sort of looking to do my own thing. I came across a Ted Talk, which was Steve’s Ted Talk, who founded Social Chain. It was about how a bunch of kids built a multimillion-pound business knowing nothing about business.
I saw Steve’s Ted Talk, and at the time, I had no intent. I simply sent him a message and just said ”hey, love what you’re doing, inspiring work”. That was that. And I’ll be honest, at no point in my life outside of business development for my company had I ever reached out to an individual personally just to say that was an amazing piece of content. I got a response from Steve and he asked me to come meet him. That was the first time I ever did it and it led me on a completely different path in my life.”
I know, right? Shyness can cost us a lot.
You can tell any story with any bits of data
You might not know this about me, I’m pretty nerdish when it comes to data. I know it’s now become a trend to say that about yourself, but I actually feel joy inside when I open spreadsheets. In any case, my love for data got me a bit conflicted when hearing this part.
“I think our constant need for attributing action is a lot of nonsense. It often leads to bad decisions. Marketing is always trying to connect the dots and I think you can sometimes miss the picture.
That’s an area where marketing can suffer. The use of data to get meaningful insights and make informed correct decisions is so powerful. But it’s been misused in a lot of the industry.
I’m referring to making theory. We’re going to do this and we expect to generate this. I wish it was that simple, that black and white. But the world is so gray, I think it can be dangerous. It leads to poor decisions consistently and to manipulation.
The industry in many aspects can be manipulated. You can tell any story with any bits of data. Fundamental truths can be missed for that reason. That might not be a popular opinion in the industry. It’s a personal opinion I hold and there are probably lots of people in Social Chain that may disagree.”
However conflicted I felt on talking ill of data, I agree. There are indeed two main issues that come with looking and talking too much about data. One is the danger of not seeing the big picture because yes, one piece of data can have tens of different meanings. The second issue is that directing our entire attention on data blinds our intuition a bit. We like to think there’s data for anything, but those of us who actually deep dive into it, know there’s really not.
Taking feedback is hard on all creatives
I’m beginning to think this actually applies to all human beings. I mean seriously, does anyone take feedback with true joy and happiness?
“I suppose the skill that I personally, and a lot of creatives often struggle with is taking feedback. Creatives are often attached to their ideas. We’re all guilty of it. I’m working on not responding emotionally to feedback and seeing it for what it is.
It’s really important to have that perspective. Other things that I personally find challenging is finding balance in life and trying to stay present. It’s a privilege to get all the opportunities that you do but equally, that is a strain — you see your family less, you have less time for relationships and so on. If you’re an entrepreneur or you run a business, you’re just invested in your work heavily.
You can often be consumed by that and find it hard to switch off.”
But yes, creatives probably get more protective of their work. The fact that creative work is so subjective can also stir things up and make it more difficult to agree or disagree with feedback.
All in all, it’s been a really cool episode and I can’t wait for the next one!
Until then, make sure you listen to the whole thing: