Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: Nic Hodges

Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: Nic Hodges

To mark the 10 year anniversary of B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards, we’ve embarked on a journey to hunt down our first ever winners and find out what they’re up to now.

In 2010, ten of these individuals were already principals of businesses (mostly agencies).

There were eight suits, five strategists, four creatives and three client-side marketers.

We’ll travel to New York, San Francisco, Massachusetts, London, Singapore and across Australia.

The talented 20-something year olds have become highly successful CEOs, MDs, group heads, investors, founders, creative directors, heads of marketing and, perhaps most importantly, parents.

We’ve already sat down with CHE Proximity boss Chris Howatson.

Next on the list is innovation expert Nic Hodges who now runs a strategic growth advisory for startups and media companies.

Nic Hodges

Then: head of innovation & technology, Mediacom

Now: founder – Blonde3; VP of Growth – inkl

After studying and working in Industrial Design, Hodges completed a Masters in Multimedia while working for a mobile tech start-up.

He then joined what was at the time a fledgeling digital agency, Sputnik. Working as designer, coder and builder he left in 2007, the year it won B&T‘s Interactive Agency gong.

Nic then moved into big agency world, starting at M&C Saatchi Melbourne as digital art director and moving the following year to Sydney, taking up a role initially as creative director of NetX.

The agency had just moved in with Clemenger BBDO where Nic turned the separate digital offerings into one strong integrated agency.

Over the next two years, the agency more than doubled digital revenue and picked up several international awards.

Andy Mallinson, Nic’s former NetX boss and then marketing director at Fitness First said: “Nic is a genius.

“A master of all trades and Jack of none. He has that rare talent in a digital creative of being both conceptual and technical.”

How do you think being nominated affected your career, if at all?

Advertising and media have always been an industry that’s embraced young folk relatively well.

We’re really lucky in that sense, and at the time I was lucky that people had faith in me to lead a significant and critical part of the business.

So in a sense, 30 Under 30 didn’t cause any huge external change.

Internally, however, the recognition gave me real confidence in what I was doing, and my ability to be a leader in the industry.

What’s been the biggest change in your life since then?

The last ten years have been a continuous period of change – that’s the nature of the things I’m fascinated by and the work I love doing. I’ve managed to remain based in Melbourne, but have been fortunate to work around the world with an increasing focus on media companies and start-ups.

These days I run my own strategic growth consultancy, which thankfully keeps the change coming thick and fast.

What words of wisdom would you have shared with your 29-year-old self back then knowing what you do now?

Most people won’t. So it’s those that do who change everything.

What are you most proud of?

There’s certainly not “one big thing” that I’m most proud of over the last ten years. The most rewarding part of what I do is the work with startups.

I work with founders for anything from a few hours to a few months to help them understand how to market and build a brand.

The leaps and bounds that these founders can make in such short periods are absolutely phenomenal.

What do you see as the biggest challenges that face young people in advertising, marketing and media these days?

Not robots. There’s never been more complexity, and more thinking required to create effective and interesting work in this industry.

The jobs aren’t about to be automated, and in fact, the biggest challenge is knowing what to focus on.

Conversely, what’s the biggest opportunity for those under 30 now?

It’s really related to that challenge of knowing what to focus on and knowing what’s next. I feel like many young folk I speak with today are either trying to be generalists or specialists.

I think there’s a danger in both – and I’d say the biggest opportunity is to aim to always be a specialist in 3 to 4 areas, and always be evolving what those things are.

What can the industry do better to attract and retain young talent?

The competition for talent used to be other big businesses. Increasingly it’s smaller, faster growing, and more interesting businesses.

Demonstrating the career opportunities and the variety that comes with this industry is something that I still don’t think is done well enough.

The experience and opportunities in the industry are huge, but it takes a while to realise that.

Entries for B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards for 2019 are now open. For all the details, click here. Tickets are also available for B&T Bootcamp, a day of speed mentoring and masterclasses aimed at up and comers in the industry. 

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