Meet Alex, Head of Partnerships
Tell us a little bit about you
At 8 years old I was shipped off to embark on 14 years of boarding spread across 2 schools & 1 uni. Living at school had its upsides - particularly all the sport that was on offer, as well as being lucky enough to have an extraordinary art department where I was able to create on a daily basis. I am dyslexic, so anything logical (like Maths) or where I could use my hands, was always preferable to reading and writing essays.
This interest took me to Newcastle University, where I explored the weird and wonderful world of Fine Art. I fell in love with installation art over my 4 year course, inspired by Olafur Eliasson & Carsten Höller, therefore for my final public exhibition I built a room showcasing the 4 dimensions of space using red pigment from smoke bomb residue.
I’ve continued to stay creative, but eventually got sucked into the world of AdTech joining Captify in 2017 in their Partnerships team.
Describe your role at Picnic
“No day is the same”, it might sounds cliche for a startup but within partnerships we work in a constantly changing environment. Managing supply for the business is our bread & butter, but we stretch from new revenue streams to reducing the businesses risk of our existing product via alternative solutions.
We have a brilliant balance of relationship management and data analytics, in one day you could be analysing site code to optimise our formats performance & delivery in the morning, then spending the afternoon at a 3hr lunch, setting the world to right with a partner who may become a new marketplace supplier.
Ultimately it’s a brilliant role if you’re willing to be bold, think outside of the box, trust your colleagues and be open to new ideas / change.
What excites you most about the industry?
The Entrepreneurialism and innovation demanded from an industry that is constantly evolving and changing.
When I first joined the industry in 2017, like most grads, change wasn’t something I was too comfortable with, but as I’ve spent longer in the industry I’ve seen first hand the opportunities that comes with change and how fast moving start-ups like Picnic can take advantage of those inflection points.
What are your passions outside of work?
I’m unable to sit still, always looking for the next activity or adventure. This has lead me to indulge in my 3 big loves in life, Travel, Food & Sport. I’ve travelled to every continent (except Antartica), helped by a well timed new years resolution in 2019 to travel to a new place every month. Eaten some of the greatest food in the world, helped significantly by Media’s love for lunching at some of London’s best restaurants (although £5 medium Pizza Hut deep-pan pepperoni is still in my top 5). And have spent many hours playing and watching (COYS) football, I’ve destroyed my body running a sub 4hr marathon, and have achieved being in the top 0.5% of Peloton’s rankings.
Outside of that, my creative side is always looking for my next big idea. I mentioned entrepreneurialism as one of my favourite things about the advertising industry, and it doesn’t top there! I have tried - and failed - 3 side hustles (I’m sure 4th time lucky is what they say...), while also constantly on the lookout for development opportunities. Which has led this dyslexic back to education... I am currently enrolled in an MBA, and have previously completed coding courses in HTML, CSS, Swift & Python. I’ll leave the coding to the engineering team though.
What’s your favourite Picnic format?
Swipe Right. Why?
Because I was lucky enough to play a part in helping build this award winning format, from inception through to delivery!
Tell us more...
During Summer 2020, we’d finally been allowed out for Business Events so we ran a company offsite which had two parts scheduled:
1. Team building exercise
2. Back of a napkin brainstorming session.
The first part was incredibly important, as without it we wouldn’t have got the creative juices flowing (especially as I was only a couple of months in!). Myself and 2 colleagues had the pleasure to be tasked with dropping an egg from the 4th floor of our building and making sure it didn’t crack. Long story short... despite metres of loo roll, a rubber glove parachute and a very positive attitude, our egg cracked...
After a successful (or unsuccessful, depends if you are looking at it from the egg’s perspective) team building exercise, we could finally get our napkin out and start visualising Picnic’s next new format.
After a few discussions and good - but not great - ideas being thrown about, we came onto a winner. Enter an unnamed colleague’s dating life: Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, etc... they luckily had the full spread of apps on their phone and after a couple of swipes they’d sketched up the new format in less than 5 mins. The rest is history!
Finally, tell us a fun fact about you that people may not know.
At a work social at my previous company, I was encouraged to take on the Tank & Paddles eating challenge: 1 Yard Pizza (of your choice) and 1 A4 sized tray of Mac & Cheese (again of your choice) all within 15 minutes. After 3 pints I felt my time had come and signed up. After 14 minutes 55 seconds I’d successfully taken down a yard of pepperoni pizza, a plain mac & cheese, and most of a bottle of Prosecco to help everything go down (really wrong choice of drink...)!
I felt far from a champion and spent most of the rest of the night heavily regretting my decision. But at least I’m now set with my fun fact for life.