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Future Leaders with David Craik

A review by Claire Mathieson, Republic of Media

A Rebel without a clue...

This week was our second installment of the Future Leaders online events. Hosted by Naomi McCann from Seafish, our speaker was David Craik – Managing Director, Bright Signals.

“Marketing is like the weather – hard to predict and you never know what’s round the corner.”

Writing this review has been challenging but that can’t compare to the challenge David had to tell his story, all the way from growing up in Embo in Sutherland, to beating the competition against all odds to win the biggest account Bright Signals has ever had - and all within an hour. David took us through a story of 5 fuck ups – a guide through some of his hardest challenges & decisions; from admitting defeat on a startup to retiring clients. But most importantly this was a story of 5 lessons and they allowed him to create Bright Signals (with no agency experience) and evolve it & himself over time.

David’s story was honest and I think most people in the room could relate to feeling like an imposter when trying to accept success. It showed that achievements follow mistakes, hard work and a degree of luck but that the most important thing is to be true to yourself and enjoy the day to day or the successes will never follow. However, what particularly spoke to me, was the challenge not to be scared of mistakes and to think bigger; than your ‘sector’ or your area, and in our case Scotland. There is nothing stopping us creating world leading work and if you look around you, we’re doing it already.

Here’s David’s story in 5 lessons:

Lesson 1: Life is not a conveyor belt. If you’re on the wrong bus get off. Success is less about doing the thing right. It’s more about doing the right thing.

Lesson 2: Perfection really is the enemy of progress. Good ideas are transferrable. Life is a series of opportunities. Don’t let ‘the plan’ get in the way.

Lesson 3: If you want a different answer, ask a different question. Fear of fuck ups stifles freedom of thought. Be braver, by making peace with failure.

Lesson 4: Purpose & people are worth more than profit. Be tenacious. Success is hard work. Nothing stands still. Nor should it. Always say yes to lunch.

Lesson 5: You only get one movie. Anything could happen in the next scene. You have everything to lose. Or maybe, nothing to lose.

In summary: You will fuck up too. Then you’ll bounce back. You will die too. You won’t bounce back from that. Embrace failure. Be distinctive. Take a stand. Don’t be afraid to change the plan. Life is a rollercoaster. Rollercoasters are fun.

A few books were also discussed that helped David along his was – so if you want to know more have a read:


Review by: @clairemathieson – Account Director, Republic of Media

Speaker: @DavidCraikManaging Director, Bright Signals