Opinion

24 Hours With… Ben Shipley, managing director Spectrum Group

24_Hours_With_logo_PR24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella’s world. Today we speak with Ben Shipley, Group Managing Director, Spectrum GroupBen Shipley

6:07am There are three minutes before Samsung’s masterpiece Morning Flower erupts from my phone and earns me an elbow in then ribs from my darling, sleeping wife. I silently disable it as my feet hit the floor and routine programming takes over. I grind coffee for my morning stovetop fix, diving under a shower until it is ready.

My first intellectual challenge of the morning comes soon after, as Otis, my Ninjago-loving five-year-old is woken by my ruckus.

“Daddy, would Sensei Wu beat a shark with his Spinjitsu?” I buy enough time to rustle breakfast by asking if they’re fighting on land or in water.

Two poached eggs and one school uniform later we agree on land it’s easy but he’d probably need the Blue Ninja’s Ice Nunchucks if they we’re fighting in the ocean. I can’t help but smile as I hear him delivering opinion as fact to my wife as I leave the house.

7:30am I join a few hundred of my fellow inner-westies on the platform at Summer Hill. I cycle through my phone to get a handle on what is happening in and around my world today. There’s the usual array of market volatility, technology amazingness and doomsday viruses. I could not be more pleased to learn that you can be caught off your foot in an International cricket match. Go Black Caps.

The platform announcer cuts through my Spotify playlist and the sticky Monday air. I offer up a silent prayer that the train approaching my stop won’t be an ancient aluminium sauna-on-wheels. My prayers are, once again, unanswered and I slowly melt my way towards Central.

8:50am If the rail lines have been good to me, it’s before nine when I arrive at the office and greet my shining teams. I love these first few minutes of the day when everything seems possible. My work wife KJ takes me through the things that need decisions or signatures and I turn myself to task.

I’m interviewing a new FD for the business this morning with my group CFO from IPMG. She nailed my questions, and as he tests out her functional knowledge, I notice she has blue toenails. I decide right then she’s hired.

I spend some time around the office with the teams, checking in on client work and dropping the odd dad joke, before heading back to my desk and a heaving inbox, and avoiding back to back meetings.

1:45pm It is almost two before I get a chance to even think about eating. The foodies in the office have been raving about Burgers by Josh, which has popped up over at the Upper Deck on Greenwood Plaza, literally a stone’s throw from my desk.

I usually try and follow Keith Ferrazzi’s advice and Never Eat Alone, but today is an exception. So I watch the hordes lining up for burgers and wait for my own. It is everything I had been told to expect. Full of flavour, bacon, onion rings, beef and pretty much everything else, crowned with a jalapeno popper. This man is a burger genius.

Half an hour later I’m back in the office. My afternoon is made up of reviewing pitches and building out our new business approach, based around a much clearer articulation of how great we are at helping brands and businesses tell stories about technology, and a smooth integration of content, social, paid media and public relations as the way to make that happen. I’ve become a fast fan of Sales Navigator on LinkedIn and I spend some time stalking, learning and looking for tech, airlines and banking prospects.

2:45pm Brian Corrigan, the ex-AFR journalist who leads my content marketing business pokes his head into my office. He heads the fastest growing bit of our agency and the last six months have been a constant improvement as we better articulate what Brian can do and just how measurable it is.

Our catch-ups are always fun and full of new opportunities, as well as well-timed and lengthy segues on sport, beer and anything else that comes up. We run through the clients and prospects we’re working on before putting the finishing touches on the first content we’ve developed to promote our business, Your MDF is Broken and How to Fix It based on some solid work and data that we’ve delivered to clients.

BC is chuffed with the content and the way his team has got it up; his Liverpudlian charm rubs off on me and we agree to put some paid behind his efforts.

6:00pm I leave work by six so I can see my boy before he conks out. My connection to get home at Central is pretty tight if you go off the fictional masterwork that is the TransportNSW train timetable. The upside of this unpredictably long journey is being able to sneak in a couple of episodes of In the mind of a chef, this week’s Netflix addiction.

I met David Chang when I was still blogging about cocktails on a regular basis and I’ve been a massive fan ever since. His pastry chef teaches me to transmute black and slimy bananas into flavescent Momofuku Banana Cream Pie. I make a couple of notes on the technique and arrive home hungry.

7:00pm By now my wife has bathed and fed Otis. I join in the conversation about what happened at school. I overact amazement at stories of pigeons who steal popcorn and open bags with their feet.

I usually cook. Ottolenghi’s watermelon and feta salad with chili glazed chicken tonight for my wife and I, the tactile tasks of making my mise en place (apologies, too many cooking shows) are a welcome break from the broken workflow that comes with the Managing Director business cards.

On reflection, I didn’t appreciate how in control of my own time and tasks I was in my most recent roles.

Once I’ve assembled everything on the plate, we eat and jostle for TV remote supremacy. The stakes are high, I want QI, and she wants Farmer Wants a Wife. Half an hour later I decide that Lachie seems like a nice enough guy, do the dishes and leave the room.

9:00pm I make my final stint on the keys and screen in the little office we’ve carved out in the spare bedroom at home. Tonight it is the slides I’m going to present to my teams at our off-site this week. I’m presenting our new business plan and direction, as well as answering every question they’ve submitted anonymously about where we’re going next. I’ve never been as invested, or nervous, or excited.

I get a text from BC. “Two real leads in the first day!” Apparently we’re not the only ones who think that MDF’s are broken. Wicked, and yes, I really say that.

11:15pm I start to slow down, power off my Surface and roll next door to bed.

11:30pm A few pages of The Palace Job on my Kindle app before lights out, shades of Terry Pratchett and a smilingly good read.

Later, I concentrate on the whir of the fan and a few words with my wife. Peaceful darkness crowds the last few thoughts of the day out of my mind, and I drift off to sleep.

Flavescent Momofuku Banana Cream Pie.

Ben Shipley is presenting at CommsCon on March 23. He’ll be giving attendees a peek behind the curtain to understand what takes work from being creatively cool to award winning. For more information on the program and how to book tickets click the banner below.

CommsCon new banner ad post Feb 18

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