Interview with Andrew Au

Interview with Andrew Au

This week we meet the managing director, Southeast Asia at Imagination.

What’s your golden rule?
Always aim to operate (just) outside your comfort zone. That's where exciting and unexpected things happen - usually for the better... at least my experience has generally been positive.

Who has been your biggest influence?
Cliched to say my father... but my father. It helps tremendously that he was a well regarded executive search consultant (headhunter) in Asia Pacific for many years. I always turn to him for counsel for matters personal and professional.

What is your most hated business expression?
'We don't want budget to constrain your creative thinking'.

What’s the smartest business idea you’ve ever had?
Leaving the client side to join the agency world. I've had the good fortune to work client side on some incredible brands (The Economist, Time Inc.) and don't regret a second spent on the client side. But agency life and work is what keeps me engaged and excited. For me, the positives of the rollercoaster aspect of agency life far outweigh the negatives. Technology's ongoing impact on marketing (and life in general) means I am never allowed to be complacent and have to be always trying to peak around the corner. As an agency leader I am expected by clients to be knowledgeable about emerging trends and their effects on how customers are reached and engaged with. Ultimately being an agency person gives me a socially acceptable reason to be geeky about technology.

Which leader do you admire most and why?
John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar, for running one of the most creative companies on the planet. His ability to lead a creative business that is critically acclaimed and a commercial juggernaut is awe-inspiring. Elon Musk, for being a real life Tony Stark. The world needs more Elon Musks.

What’s your favourite word?
The F word for it's versatility and expressiveness. Despite it being my favourite word I actually don't use it much on account of my two young kids.

Tell us a secret
I have recently re-introduced myself to Lego (specifically Star Wars kits) and highly recommend it as it has a magical ability to transport you back to your childhood in an instant. I also find it quite therapeutic to build the kits. I've started to run out of space at home and have resorted to displaying them in my office. Clients love them and they're always a conversation starter.

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