The Brain Tap Series: Interview 17 – Neil Perkin

It’s high time I dusted the cobwebs off the interview series. Who better to do that with than Neil Perkin? Famously of the dodgy goatee (I didn’t say that, he did!), Neil was the Director of Marketing & Strategy at IPC Media till a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what he has to say about media, Pingu and then some:

1. What is the most interesting job you’ve ever held and what lessons did you learn from it?

I should probably say my role at IPC Media where I was for a number of years and from which I continually learnt, but I’ve just left to set up my own business so I have a feeling that my learning curve in the short to medium-term future will be even steeper. Oh, and I once had a job in the cassette department of Tower Records (that shows my age) where I learned that Prince is even smaller in real life than you expect him to be.

2. Name one creative project or idea that made you wish you’d thought of it.

Not one creative project, but more a revolutionary funding platform for many. Kickstarter crowdsources micro-funding for “artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, and explorers”. Like Kiva, it’s the human stories that make it so compelling. Platforms to connect people like this are what the web was made for.

3. Name one site or service that you’d invest in if you were a venture capitalist.

I’ve been mildly obsessing about Local Motors (I wrote about them here, the ‘next generation’ US car company that use designs crowdsourced from a community of thousands of passionate advocates to build genuinely different cars which can be sold and serviced through a network local units. It turns the high cost, lengthy design process and the highly centralized manufacturing model of traditional car production completely on its head. And that’s why I like it.

4. Name your favourite fictional character and an existing gadget or service they’d find useful.

Slightly off brief but my youngest daughter was once really into Pingu – now there’s a penguin that could seriously benefit from Google Translate.

(Anjali’s note: LOL!)

5. Do you think that for brands to reach out to a young consumer base, it has to have a digital component?

Absolutely not. There are so many options that I don’t think any medium is an absolute must for reaching any audience. Having said that, digital is clearly embedded in young people’s lives and an excellent medium for reaching them and for amplifying and spreading strong ideas. The Coke Happiness Machine is a good recent example of that.

6. What are your main hobbies and how do they influence your work?

Last year I ran my first marathon and I’m doing the Virgin London Marathon this year. Distance running is quite a zen thing to do. When you’re out on a good long run, it’s good thinking time. So you often come up with good ideas. As long as you’re then not too knackered to do anything about them.

7. Who’d be the best person to play you in a movie about your life?

Anyone with a dodgy goatee. If not, there’s always Pingu.


Thanks, Neil!

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