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24 hours with Tyler Greer, director, global sales strategy at Exponential

In this 24 hours with, Exponential's Tyler Greer discusses Dire Straits, the T-Rex the ever-present lure of the ping pong table.

The morning

It’s very early and my kidneys hurt.

I’ll kick off the way all needy and connection-addicted global citizens start: squinting through the darkness into my phone screen, shifting between work and social feed.

Many emails from work people: bad. Heaps of likes from my latest post: good. Everyone I know is in Europe: bad and good depending on how much I like them. Now my eyes hurt too.

Over porridge I accidentally read about dinosaurs. The T-Rex, specifically. Something interesting there I think I will find a use for later.

On the bike. It’s a long ride to the office. There’s a headwind.

Late morning

At my desk, wondering how long a period I need to spend here before hitting the ping pong table, and looking at the emails I didn’t open earlier.

I’ve been tasked with working with some of our sales teams globally to help craft a fresh go-to-market approach.

This means moving away from talking about us to talking about them. Sounds easy. It isn’t.

The goal is to create a narrative compelling enough that the listener forgets they’re being sold to at all. It can happen. Watch an Apple ad.

Something else I must do is complete a presentation for an event at which I am keynote speaker.

The key is to pretend everyone is dressed and that you’re in your underwear. Or something.

I’ll get to that. For now, there’s a ping pong game to lose.

In the middle

Locked in the smallest office we have. Headphones in and music on shuffle. When did I download Dire Straits? If I shift to the left I feel the dull ache still residing in my kidneys.

I’m up to my Adam’s apple in PowerPoint, trying to crack a way to make the idea of data sound entertaining to the poor saps who’ll be listening to me talk about it for 45 minutes.

Sounds hard. It is. But it’s also inherently fascinating if viewed the right way. It’s also integral to what we do as a company.

The problem, mostly, is that the industry is obsessed with the mechanics of data rather than the human insight it can provide, and the efficiency in campaign it can achieve, and the stories it can help us tell.

Somewhere in this the dinosaurs will play a role. Just don’t know what yet. But what I do know since this morning is that there are a whole lot less T-Rex skeletons floating around than I thought.

Lunchtime

It’s lunchtime. I make my own lunch. Not gunna be a part of the lunch-industrial rip-off complex. Wake up, sheeple.

Later

A brief has come in. It’s a good one. A big one. They want everything.

We gather like Georgian monks and tear it apart, try to understand exactly what’s needed and the ways in which our data, creative and buying models might come together to offer the right solution for the client. This is good stuff.

The sales team here is excellent. They have awards to prove it. The hardest part of any strategist’s role is to get the internal teams to buy in to the direction you’re suggesting. But they trust me and I trust them and the proposal that comes together looks great. Let’s hope the agency to whom we’re presenting agrees.

Between working with the team to answer briefs and building out my large industry-based commentary presentation I get to enjoy both the immediate and the long-term aspects of media.

It’s almost impossible to understand one without the other.

I ride home. There’s a headwind.

At the end

Before she falls asleep, I tell my two-point-five-year-old daughter about my day. It’s therapeutic for me and, critically, makes her sleepy.

I tell her I had a successful call with my US counterparts about sales collateral, a Skype with Singapore, answered a complex brief, almost finished my presentation for next week. That’s a pretty good day.

I tell her what I learned about the T-Rex. That in over 150 years of dino-digging we’ve only ever excavated 15 skeletons. And of those, only two are near complete. That’s it. Yet think of what we know about them, how clear they are in our collective imaginations.

That’s because we have data, lots of it, from many other places: geology, climate, animals, other dinosaurs, Pete Evans, and everything else that informs the discipline of palaeontology.

And we bring that data together, and we create a story. For example, Jurassic Park. I tell her I have the missing piece of my deck. She’s asleep. Another satisfied audience member.

I tuck her in and tell her I’ll see her at 4am when she’ll crawl into our bed and commence the morning ritual of kicking me in the kidneys until I wake.

Tyler Greer is director, global sales strategy at Exponential.

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