I founded Nomadic with a specific vision. One that hasn’t wavered much. I wanted to create an agency that helps brands engage with an increasingly nomadic consumer in a rapidly-evolving marketing landscape (that’s where the name comes from). A partner for ambitious marketers, intent on changing the way things are done. A professional home for talented people who are enthusiastic about the industry’s transformation. And a magnet for the best independent talent in the world. But I didn’t want to be the CEO.
I got into this business to create. It was the mid-90’s, and making TV spots seemed like a great way for a creative soul like me to earn a living (especially after four summer internships at Fallon Worldwide—arguably the world’s best creative agency at the time). It didn’t take long for my interest in advertising to turn into a passion for helping brands create valuable connections with consumers. In turn, I developed an obsession with cultivating agency culture, the not-so-secret “secret” to the success of pretty much everything. The pursuit of these passions yielded a set of skills and experiences that became my strengths. Strengths I could use to realize the vision I had for Nomadic. Instead, I became the agency’s managing partner (its acting CEO, if you will). A role that required a set of skills that I simply didn’t have.
After years of writing business plans, managing partner expectations, running business development and managing the profit & loss statement with spotty success, I came to an important epiphany: I was so in the wrong job. After all, my goal was to realize a vision, not run a company. And in order to honor that goal, the agency needed my strengths. Instead, it was being held back by my weaknesses. So, I decided to hire a CEO.
I offered the job to a long-time mentor of mine, Rob Buchner. The 24-year Fallon alumni and former CEO of Mithun Agency, who was serendipitously looking for his next gig. He wanted to use his 30 years of progressive agency experience to modernize the agency model, but was frustrated with the delusions and limitations of the legacy agency system. And he did not want to start his own agency (because he’s sane). So, I offered him my job. Two years later, he said yes.
It’s been about two months since Rob joined Nomadic. Already, I’m refocused on my passions. And the business is leveraging my greatest strengths. As a result, I’m inspired, motivated and happy—three feelings that can’t be overestimated in life or work. More importantly, the agency has a leader that has blazed trails before. A leader who helped create the Fallon culture which produced some of the most awarded creative work ever. A leader who helped incorporate forward- thinking strategic disciplines like connection planning. A leader who pioneered digital branded content through the creation of BMW Films and Amazon Theater. He’s a proven, trustworthy leader and a good human being. I know because he’s a friend of 26 years. One who shares my vision and values. I feel privileged to call him our CEO.