(Chief Strategy Officer, Centerline Digital)
A little over two years ago, I attempted to put myself out there and connect with more of my online network in the real world. John Lane was one of those people I tried to connect with.
Even better bourbon.
There was far too much in common to not try to connect with John. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, his travel and our schedules just never lined up. So I struck out.
However, in early 2014 we gave it another shot and I’m so glad we did.
John leads an incredible team over at Centerline, whose clients include IBM, General Electric, National Instruments and Lowe’s Home Improvement. What I especially love about John and his team is that they pride themselves on creating multi-discipline employees.
I’ve talked at some length with John about the idea of T-shaped employees and some of the limitations we see in that for creative/marketing positions. His team however is one of the best I’ve seen in developing people who straddle the line between designer and marketer, in part because John himself plays both of those roles so well. I am really excited to see how it helps them develop exciting new opportunities for their clients down the road.
But that ability to walk that line is what really inspires me about John. It is something I have always strived to do, sometimes more successfully than others. The challenge is they can often be opposing forces: the creative side and the business side. Yet John continues to be one of the top marketers in our area, while also driving a creative strategy and culture at Centerline.
And that’s why I love picking his brain. He’s brilliant.
The balance he is able to strike keeps him constantly focused on the cutting edge, yet grounded in finding real-world applications that drive results for Centerline and its clients.
For instance, a few months ago I popped over to the Triangle AMA’s content marketing special interest group meeting because John was leading it. The weather was not friendly, so only a small group of people actually showed. But it meant that we actually got to spend some real time talking about people’s challenges. I had a blast brainstorming content ideas for an extermination/pest control control. Most of that was getting to bounce ideas back-and-forth with John.
That’s what I love. The banter. The snowballing of one person’s thought into a discussion of emotional connection and engagement. Not everyone’s built like that, so it was a pleasure to get a chance to do that with John. I left fired up.
So, thank you, John.
It has been an abolute pleasure getting to know you over the last year, and having the opportunity to pick your brain. Thanks for all the ideas and motivation to keep pushing.