Opinion

Dynamic Duos: Alpha Digital’s Chris Lockwood and Adam Hardy

In this week's Dynamic Duos, Alpha Digital's general manager of product, Chris Lockwood and head of digital experience, Adam Hardy share their story of meeting as infants in the UK, becoming school friends, and eventually both winding up working in the marketing industry in Australia.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Chris Lockwood:

We met when we were about one year old. Our sisters are the same age and went to the same school, so Chris and I crossed paths at that point. But it wasn’t until about 10-11 years later that we connected.

It was the first day of high school, and we were just 2 nervous 11-year-olds talking about playing guitar, skateboarding, and we talked about owning a business which was called Hard Lock. I mean, this is 20-odd years ago, but we sort of found friends in each other pretty quickly.

I guess we’re still friends because of a nature/nurture scenario, in that, because we grew up together from 11 years old, we were in the same high school form for five years, and because we became close friends so soon, we started to sort of mold each other.

Fast forward to when I was living in Australia, I was working at a web design agency and struggling to find a job on the Gold Coast doing that. Chris was already settled at Alpha and approached me to suggest that I look into SEO work. In retrospect, I guess he had the inside scoop and knew then that people needed SEO’s. The first thing I did was type in ‘SEO jobs’ into LinkedIn and the first thing that popped up was Alpha Digital.

I reached out to Chris, mostly to see if he had any problem with me applying for a role they were advertising. I certainly didn’t want or expect a reference or any kind of leg up – it just looked like a cool place to work so I gave it a crack. Here we are now – 5 years later.

I still get asked the question a lot “is it weird working with Chris?”. I think it can be a lot more awkward on his side than mine. But we have developed a shared understanding that when it’s work, it’s work and when it’s not, it’s not. There are times when we say “this is a work conversation, and I’m coming to you as my manager” or “this is a personal conversation, and I’m coming to you as a friend”.

Adam Hardy:

Technically we met at nursery school. Our parents took us to the same toddler group for socialisation.

So, years later when we went to secondary school, Adam and I were in the same form class at school, and we ended up sitting next to each other. On day one on the same desk next to each other, along with a few other people. I think because we were intellectually very similar, we were put in a lot of the same classes – that’s the way it worked at our school. You were peered with people of similar ability in different classes. I think it helped that we have always been fairly similar.

As we got older, we maintained similar interests. We both enjoyed cars, camping, partying, going to festivals from when we were about 15 years old. Later on, after we were done with school (and university) my partner Bethan and I went backpacking around Asia, and after the trip we ended up in Australia. We settled here and given we still had the same friendship group – five of us who used to hang around together, I think there was a bit of FOMO. Now all of us live in Australia.

The first time Adam and I worked together was at Alpha Digital. I think now our relationship is still built on a mutual love of the same nerdy stuff it always has been but also on an understanding of no judgment in either direction. I mean, there have been times when I have been Adam’s direct manager, and it’s fucking awkward. The benefit of the trust and understanding we’ve built is that I know when we talk, it’s in the vault and it has to stay that way.

People who know us from when we were younger often ask me, “Oh, do you see much of Adam?” It’s like, “Yeah, every day, we work together” – I think it shocks them.

Chris on Adam:

Most memorable moment with Adam: When we were at university, we’d both finish working hospitality jobs at 10PM at night and Adam would drive 45 minutes to our house and we’d stay awake hanging out till 3AM and then do it all again the next day.

Describe Adam in one word: Reliable – if I ever needed him, he’s there. I mean, he’ll be late, but he’ll be there.

Adam’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Adam is always late. It’s the most endearing but frustrating thing about him. You ask him to be somewhere at a specific time, and he’ll say, “Oh, I’ll be there mid to late afternoon.” You know he is going to show up an hour later than what you’ve agreed to. It’s just what happens. Or a nicer one is when you go to the airport. I show up late to the airport. Adam turns up as the plane’s about to leave, and it stresses the hell out of me. But it’s just Adam. He also always brings my favourite snacks.

Adam on Chris: 

Most memorable moment with Chris: I think it has to be building dens and forts in the woods near our houses when we were younger.

Describe Adam in one word: Machine. He’s not a corporate robot, he just gets shit done.

Adam’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: This one hits both sides. Chris can walk into any meeting completely unprepared, have someone else do his slides for him. He’ll walk into that meeting, having never even seen the slides before, and give the best presentation you’ve ever seen. He’ll give insights off the cuff and absolutely smash that meeting with no prior context.

I have to prepare for hours beforehand. I need to know the points that I want to cover. Whereas Chris just waltzes in, gives a great presentation and leaves looking like an absolute prodigy.

If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic duos, please email kwelch@mumbrella.com.au.

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