This week kicked off in one of the most inspiring ways.
Why? How? What happened?
I had a ticket to the first Vivid Ideas Game Changers talks series: Conversations with Global Creative Industries Leaders, and on Monday night, we were privy to the one and only Tyler Brûlè.
Hosted and curated by Jess Scully, Brûlè was meant to only speak of his beginnings and stories for 40 minutes before the audience could ask him questions, but his story and the paths that he had taken that illustrated his career were so damn entertaining. So much so, I don’t think anyone cared that his speech/presentation went over the hour. I think I speak for everyone when I say that he could have spoken all night and we would have been putty in his hands.
For those of you who have no idea who Tyler Brûlè is? Shame on you. Just kidding.
Let me break it down for you – as much as I possibly can. Well actually, scratch that. Vivid Ideas has a much better description for you:
“One of the most influential global figures in publishing and branding, Tyler is the founder of Wallpaper and Monocle magazines, editor-in-chief of Monocle and columnist for the Financial Times.
“He’s also the founder and CEO of Winkreative, the creative agency that fashion icons, airlines and countries turn to for branding advice.
“With a radio station, fashion line, retail shopfronts in Tokyo, London, New York and Singapore, and a new title, The Forecast, emerging from the Monocle stable, Tyler’s global influence continues to grow.”
To me, Brûlè (along with his publications and many accomplishments) appeals to the forward thinkers, the makers, the creative individuals, etc. But how did he get to that platform?
Let’s go back.
Brûlè took us on a creative discussion of his journey thus far; first off, down memory lane to where he’s originally from – Canada; a country he tends to compare to Australia. He also told us the first time he ever came to Australia in 1988, during his third year of Uni.
Shortly after that particular trip, he decided that Journalism was going to be the path he would take and decided to move to London in hopes of working with the BBC. For the record, he did – as a reporter.
But I have to mention his mother’s reaction when she helped him move over. She burst into tears and cried out, ‘You might have been born in the asshole of Canada, but Manchester is the asshole of Europe.’ #MumQuotes
From BBC, he landed a correspondent job with the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes, then went off to working with Fox News, but he ended up leaving that place in a hurry. When he went back to Europe, he reflect on a time when he was reporting for a German magazine, and saw himself in a life-and-death situation. On assignment in war-torn Afghanistan in 1994, his car was hit 39 times, his colleague was shot in the back of the head during a sniper attack. He honestly thought it was the end. And it felt like we were there with him as he told the story. Intense.
“You have to deliver a great magazine to be the core of your brand.”
He mentioned the Sydney pop-up of Monocle at The Stables in Surry Hills. He’s also on the look-out for an Australian barista, then proceeded to give us his hotel room details, if anyone was interested in an interview. 😛
Ending his talk, Tyler Brûlè gave us a list of advice to take on board:
1. Treat the world as your market and go beyond traditional boundaries.
2. Hire people based on potentials.
3. Avoid hiring people who also happen to be assholes (Can Tyler sit on a plane with you for 9 hours and like you by the end of it?) – “If you think you’re too good for this business, you won’t have a place in this business.”
4. Lead from the front.
5. Remember first impressions and last impressions count for everything.
6. Don’t feel you need to respond to every new technological trend. (“That’s the problem with a lot of print today. They want to be avant-garde, but is it the correct business model for your business? There’s a role for social media, sure, but there’s no need to join every platform.”)
7. Follow your gut, not focus groups or chatter.
8. Get out and report.
9. Don’t be swayed by loud-mouthed sectors with a vested interest.*
(*Make no mistake, the money’s still on paper.)
Looking back now, I’m not sure if there was supposed to be 10 points, but I only wrote down 9. So I’m sorry, if there was. My bad.
Anyhow, what followed on was a back-and-forth Q&A between Tyler and Jess, and then he answered questions from the audience.
Here’s a few key quotes:
- “I’m stunned that Australia has no voice when you go up the block (i.e. Asia). Australia needs to have a voice at the table in its own backyard. It’s a missed opportunity.”
- “There’s a can-do-ism recognised in Australians, and it’s incredibly important.”
- When talking about regaining the focus and forgetting the 140 character tweet, Brule fired back: “What happened to the apprenticeship? Having the top skills are not earned overnight. It’s a craft and skill that needs to be developed. We need to build the foundation. Not everyone needs to go to Uni. The Government needs to change their narrative; remind people of the value-building before they delve into a project.”
- “I have no design background. I am a journalist. I have an opinion or two about design that I like. I was surrounded by a lot of magazines growing up. I was never told ‘No’ if I could have a certain magazine. There was always print at home.
- What’s the most progressive city in the world? “Not London. Lisbon – the city has passion and soul to it. We are forgetting the value of what a city has to be. It’s about humanity. It comes down to those simple qualities reflecting the quality of life.”
- And then a little rant about Australia: “This country is on the verge of becoming the world’s dumbest nation,” which was actually greeted with a round of applause from the audience. “Our reputation is really in the shits. People think we’re a little bit nuts here.”
And on that note, it was also the end of the discussion.
Tyler Brûlè appeared at the Roslyn Packer Theatre as a guest of Vivid Sydney.
The Monocle Pop-Up will run from Sunday May 24 to Sunday June 21.
352 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
The Stables Opening Hours
Mon to Wed 11am–5.30pm