Close-Up: 24 hours with ... Ajaz Ahmed, AKQA

Name: Ajaz Ahmed
Job: Chairman, AKQA
Professional mission: There is nothing so stable as change
Personal mantra: Take the long-term view

5.05am Awoken with gentle tap on shoulder from beautiful woman. Not my wife, alas, but stewardess on Virgin Atlantic from Johannesburg to London.

5.30am Drink tea and make list of things to get done once we land.

7.15am Notice UK residents queue in immigration seems slower than non-EU queue. Thank God for Iris scan technology and I'm through.

8.00am Sense of queue-jumping triumph is shortlived as I have to contend with M4 at rush hour.

8.05am Feel vibration in pocket. Realise I have coverage and am disproportionately delighted. Reach for mobile and scroll through texts. Check e-mail, voicemail (seven new messages: four from AKQA, two from clients and one from mum).

9.00am Hardly any traffic on M4. Despite delight about quiet motorway, I appear to have done next to nothing with my time. Grab my "to do" list and start making calls. On way into London, I look at the posters along Cromwell Road and wonder about the back-story. What was the client trying to achieve? Why do they all look the same? Conclude that advertising is now less exciting, more formulaic.

9.45am Home sweet home. Broadband to the max.

12.30pm Lunch with potential new recruit who has a lot of potential. Had breakfast with same candidate a few weeks ago. She wants a change from "traditional". Am immediately reminded of her energy, her lack of buzzwords in an industry that's obsessed with them and tell her she's hired. Job done.

3.00pm Meet at client head office. Spend time catching up and seeing clients I have not seen for weeks. Discuss forthcoming ideas and opportunities and feel energised and excited about what's ahead.

6.15pm Walk back home with brain still buzzing from last meeting and can't wait to get stuck in to the work. Due to take a conference call shortly with our US offices.

7.00pm Conference call reveals more opportunities, which puts me in a better mood. Decide it's time for a celebration for our team and plan to sort something for Friday.

9.00pm It's been a relentless day, but nothing compared with what Jack Bauer achieves in 24 hours. Jack never seems to break a smile, but I'm feeling happier than I have ever done in my life.

Topics