Alaa Demachkie Cre­ative Direc­tor, SPARK*

Cre­ative Direc­tor of SPARK*

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

When I was a kid, about nine or 10 years old, I used to won­der how prod­ucts or brands got to be fea­tured on TV. I used to think that Ray­ovac bat­ter­ies and Nido were so good that TV chan­nels just de­cided to make ads for them. That wasn't how I started though. I just wanted to be a pro­gram­mer. Com­put­ers fas­ci­nated me – I was in­spired by Vis­ual Ba­sic and Bor­land, and a cou­ple of months later I dis­cov­ered Adobe and Corel. They had more colours, vi­brancy, fun and that was it. I was hooked and ended up dis­cov­er­ing how ads are made in a soft­ware devel­op­ment com­pany. There have been lots of books and no desks. My real ed­u­ca­tion came from the peo­ple and cre­atives I worked with. Some taught me and oth­ers chal­lenged me. Since I never grad­u­ated from any­where, I feel like I’m con­stantly study­ing. I be­lieve that grad­u­a­tion gives you a sense of ac­com­plish­ment that makes you feel like ‘learn­ing time’ is over. I feel blessed that I didn't con­tinue on this road, and in­stead forced my­self to study and learn from ev­ery­thing around me, as I still do. My ap­proach is to be flex­i­ble (my team would be rolling their eyes now). For me, flex­i­bil­ity is not a com­pro­mise as some might think. What we do isn't sci­en­tific and doesn't have a set of for­mu­las that guar­an­tee suc­cess or fail­ure. That’s why I be­lieve in be­ing flex­i­ble in my views and my thought process, es­pe­cially when re­ceiv­ing feed­back or opin­ions that may cause some to raise their eye­brows. I’ve been known to be stub­born in the past, but ex­pe­ri­ence shows you that you never know where a great idea or so­lu­tion might come from. It's al­ways a pleasant sur­prise. Do things that dis­com­fort you. Good ideas should scare you a lit­tle – it’s usu­ally a sign of cre­ativ­ity. Think with your heart and ex­e­cute with your brain be­cause your gut is quicker, and your brain can make sense of any­thing at its own pace. It’s eas­ier said than done be­cause you will fail – It’s in­evitable in this busi­ness – but logic isn’t a guar­an­tee to suc­cess; an ex­pe­ri­enced gut in­stinct is. Don’t blame your team first or sec­ond or third for a mishap. If you’re in charge, start by ques­tion­ing your­self 10 times first be­cause at the end of the day it’s your re­spon­si­bil­ity any­way. I learned the hard way that highs and lows are re­ally all about how you look at things. When you find your true north and stick to it, ev­ery­thing else be­comes a jour­ney of ups and downs that make things in­ter­est­ing. I usu­ally look back at my lows and find con­nec­tions to my highs. It all be­comes a bal­anc­ing act of dif­fer­ent in­ten­si­ties of highs once you un­der­stand and em­brace the process.

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