In among the turkey, presents, and alcohol (hic), I’ve taken a little time to reflect on the last 12 months at PDG Advertising. It has been quite a year. Choosing six things was almost impossible because there have been so many, but here are some of the highlights from the past year at PDG Advertising.
Highlight #1: Finding A Place To Be
We have executed a number of things to develop a better level of structure around the business, one of which is our move into a private office. This was pretty important in providing a level of stability and somewhere to stand while we commit to doing great things for customers. We have to thank The Foundry @ East Belfast Enterprise in this for their innovative office space.
Highlight #2: Changing Our Name
For those of you on this journey with me, you will know that I have never settled with the name Peter Doak Global. I have literally gone hours and hours, even days, stressing about the name of the business. In the end, on the advice of a podcast from Gary Vaynerchuck, I settled on Peter Doak Global with the plan to focus on ensuring an excellent product and figuring out a better name later. PDG Advertising isn’t perfect, but I see it as another step towards something that will truly display what we do: creating exceptional advertising that can compete with and win against anything else out there in the world.
Highlight #3: Reading
I have read more books in 2017 than I ever have before in the whole of my life. I wouldn’t call the books self-help—rather, business books—but they certainly have helped me. The two that stick out are How Google Works and Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success. The two key points that I drew from these two books were: Create small teams of smart, creative people who are determined to achieve, and keep things insanely simple. These two points have helped me with customer delivery and decision making.
Highlight #4: Giving Back
This year has been the second year I have been privileged to help with YENI’s (Young Enterprise Northern Ireland) Business Programme. It is an absolute joy to help with. To see young people organize themselves into a team, the speed at which they work, how they support each other, and how they overcome issues is just amazing. This year I can truly say it was euphoric when I saw the team on the 6pm news showcasing the app they had made. This might be the top highlight of 2017, strangely more than the successful financial year we had.
Highlight #5: Travel
It always amazes me that when you travel, you expand your mind massively. I have a map on my wall and I look at it every day thinking about all the places I would like to see someday. This year I went to New York for two weeks, to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and also, randomly, to Cork for a couple of days. In New York I was blown away by the scale of what humans can do when they put their minds to it. The size of the buildings, the sheer beauty of some of the places I saw, and the combination of nationalities condensed into one area was just amazing. In Scotland, I was taken aback by the pure beauty of the place and I came across a really special—and this isn’t morbid at all—grave. The grave was in an old kirkyard and it was the grave of a man called Adam Smith. I had never heard the name before, but looking into him gave me more insight into global and social economics than I could ever imagine. The trip to Cork was fantastic as well; if you like scenery and a melodic Irish accent, go to Cork.
Highlight #6: Focused Delivery
All of the previous highlights are important in creating a great service for customers. Two years and a bit into this business, and we are at the very, very early stages of creating something special. We are now really understanding the way that consumers react to advertisements online, what it takes to create a truly great campaign, and how to capitalize quickly on the opportunity that the internet currently provides. Taking the time to understand the three key areas of any campaign is the only way to deliver a superior service to customers. The three areas, if you are interested, are: 1) The place you intend on sending traffic to, 2) Who you are going to get your advert in front of, and 3) What advert you are going to put in front of those people. Get that right and you have little opportunity to not be successful.
There has been so much happening over the last year that I am truly looking forward to the year ahead, even the next 5 years ahead, and I wanted to take a little moment to thank all of those people who have made time for me over the year. My family and friends, who bear the brunt of my ramblings about how I am going to conquer the world and always, always listen and provide good advice for me without expecting anything back. My team members, who amaze me every day. My customers: It’s odd, but I have learned so much from them, their patience, their openness to innovation, their commitment to what I do for them, and their faith that we are on the right path. The YENI guys: I really am thankful that they have allowed me to be a part of their amazing business. The Mindsight Team, an absolute inspiration. Our delivery partners, third party companies we work with to service companies. The office space I rent from East Belfast Enterprise and all of the tenants, who are now friends of mine and help keep me focused on what I need to be. My two amazing mentors, one a colleague from a past work life and one a really appreciated resource from Invest NI and Belfast City Council. If you don’t think you have been mentioned here, you have, you are included in friends and family. There are so many people who have been so supportive through this journey and I remember every single person and contribution. Thank you all.
So what’s going to happen in 2018? Well, we can’t tell the future, but I look forward to the people, the business opportunities, the travel, growing the business, and seeing where we can take this in the next 12 months. Happy New Year, and I hope it brings you all the joy you can imagine and more. – Peter