A view from the top
A view from Gaston Legorburu

A view from the top

This week, I finished my first book. I have to admit, it was a hard process. I've tried to write a business book before and failed. But, this time, I was merciless. Forcing yourself to come up with 60,000 words in a matter of months somehow helps get it done.

In advertising, you are continually having to distil complex ideas, so being able to use that many words is a freeing and different experience. I’m both excited and panicked to see it in print because, if it’s bad, people will think I’m full of shit. Once it’s out there, there is no way of hiding it.

I used to not be able to sleep on a plane. This was because I would spend the whole time on the plane Tweeting and blogging. I would also catch up on my sports, hoping my teams were winning. But my job keeps me busy so, after two trips to Asia, I learned how to sleep on a flight. The second the plane takes off, I’m the guy who is snoring.

I’m based in South Beach, Miami, but I hardly spend any time there. Like almost every other person who has written a View from the Top, I spend most of my week travelling to different offices or events.

In my role, I have to be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I’m an evangelist for the agency’s vision, a gatherer of interesting and talented people and an activist for the power of creativity. I also clock up the air miles, bouncing around all over the place – New York, London, Singapore, Australia or Shanghai. We have about 7,000 employees across 31 cities around the world and I have to get in front of all those employees and offices. Last week, I stayed within the confines of the Americas.

On Sunday, I went to São Paulo to check in with the team over there and review a pitch we’re working on for a key global client. Opening an office in a new market is all about getting the right talent and connecting to the right values. I want clients to feel that working with SapientNitro is a consistent experience, wherever they are.

Inspiring creative people across design, advertising, brand strategy, user experience and creative technology to develop amazing work is the easiest part of my job – because anyone with a good heart and a modicum of charisma could pull that off. It’s like asking musicians if they want to make great music (who would say no to that?).

After São Paulo, it was off to Atlanta to meet with my boss, Alan Herrick. We are planning a leadership off-site in a few weeks and so we worked on that and managed to put in some time honing strategy. I landed in Atlanta at around 6am, so I was the first one in the office and was able to greet everyone as they showed up for work. It was great to see how people were reacting to seeing me in the office. Their faces were priceless. By the afternoon, I was in New York interviewing for a creative leadership role there. I met a candidate for lunch and then it was back to Miami in time to sleep.

When I am not travelling for work, I try to spend as much time with my 15-year-old son as I can. This weekend, I took him to a local racetrack as a treat. It almost gave me a heart attack watching him try to be a Nascar driver.  I’m currently teaching him how to drive, so graduating to a race car probably wasn’t the most relaxing thing we could have done together. I should have stuck with the automotive car, and then upgraded to a race car in a few years. It was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I did all week.

Gaston Legorburu is the worldwide chief creative officer at SapientNitro