Sol Ghafoor: What makes him tick?

10 Questions thrown at the Head of Strategy at Publicis•Poke

The Head of Strategy at Publicis•Poke regrets not having always trusted his instincts when making career decisions but considers becoming a planner/strategists his best move.

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Sol Ghafoor in his own words

"I started off wanting to be a games developer, but soon learned that I preferred writing to coding. First agency job at AKQA, learned everything I could about comms and experiences. Then moved over to Publicis, then Poke to lead Heineken globally. Now I lead strategy for our newly formed agency Publicis•Poke, to create Living Ideas for our clients."

1. If your house was burning down, what one thing would you save (excluding people and pets)?

My mountain bike from 2003. It’s the first one I built myself, and the dearest thing to me, (apart from my family of course). I was planning on passing it on to my son, but I probably won’t!

2. What is your favourite word?

Cogitate - because it doesn’t sound like what it means.

3. What do you wish you’d invented?

Smart light bulbs.

4. If it wasn’t advertising, what career would you have chosen?

I’d run a mountain bike shop in the wilderness.

5. What have been your best and worst business decisions?

Best: Deciding to become a planner / strategist, best job decision ever.

Worst: Passed up an opportunity to work for a start-up. They’re pretty big now. Should have trusted my instincts.

6. What is your most over told personal anecdote?

It involves a very literal brush with death. That’s as much as I can say.

7. What’s been the best thing you’ve read recently (article, book, tweet etc)?

Lines in the Sand, A.A. Gill – a friend gave this to me recently. Insightful, eye-opening and a profoundly sad but truthful account of refugee stories from around the world. Everyone should try to read it.

8. What’s your most hated business jargon?

Putting things on my “radar”.

9. What advice would you give your younger self?

Have lots of passions and interests. It’s the only way to connect the dots.

10. What song or film has influenced you the most?

The Matrix – the fact that it exists, means that it could be real.

Quick fire questions

  1. Breakfast / lunch / dinner?
    Dinner.

  2. Cats or dogs?
    Neither.

  3. City, sea, fields or mountains?
    Mountains.

  4. Early bird or night owl?
    Night owl.

  5. Head or heart?
    Both.