Me in brief? I’m a writer and marketer. Among the UK’s most experienced, thanks to a decade at top-10 global ad agencies across Asia and Europe.
Agencies I’ve worked with include Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, and TBWA, where clients included IBM, American Express, Singapore Airlines, BMW, France Telecom, Marlboro, Tesco, Michelin, and Oracle. I also work with different content marketers and brand consultancies on a project and retainer basis.
Today, my niche is “the hard stuff”. Creative work with strategy and structure, making use of hardcore modelling and analysis smarts learned on a big-name MBA. Mixing hard numbers with softer insights leads to killer concepts: ideas that stay solid when you knock ’em.
Other prose includes an essay series that reached 300,000 people, a Special Letter of insider’s newsletter SNS for 10,000 C-suite execs, a travel site that hit 500,000 pageviews in its first month, and a short fiction site with 3000+ members. I also write thriller fiction as Mark Charteris, sci-fi shorts as Ted Bann, and nonfiction (including the 100 Days, 100 Grand book, Medium, and LinkedIn Pulse) as myself.
My life philosophy
It’s ninefold. Collect the set:
- Live free of compromise; be beholden to no-one.
- Own few things, or they start owning you.
- See the world as it really is, even when it hurts.
- The only person who can get anything done is you.
- Dismiss that which does not matter.
- Everything that happens to you is your fault.
- If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.
- Never have anything you couldn’t walk away from in ten minutes.
On the road
Cities I’ve worked in (for a year+ each) include Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, and London. Markets I know span Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Western Europe and North America.
My favourite part of the world is the American Southwest; some of my happiest hours have been spent on Route 66 with classic rock for company. A close second is Southeast Asia: every city has a story, with food and culture to match. I’ve also travelled far and wide in Europe, Australasia, and North Africa.
Off the page
When daytime turns to playtime, I’m a qualified skydiver and SCUBA diver who also enjoys bouldering, snowboarding, and quality time with a 60kg punchbag. Staying in shape means progressive calisthenics and kettlebell training: the best gym is your own body.
As an ultra-minimalist, everything I own would fit into a car, everything I value into a small backpack. (Basics are my laptop, Kindle, and Radius toothbrush: all else is negotiable.) These days, the things that matter most – ideas, knowledge, literature – cost little and weigh nothing. (My favourite quotes are down with the principle too.)
In the head
I’m an Objectivist, the set of rules for life defined by moral philosopher Ayn Rand. That makes me a libertarian (small ‘l’) – valuing a small state with strong individual rights and high social and economic freedoms.
Interests span physics, economics, politics, physics, literature, architecture, personal development (obvs), business strategy, and all things tech. Like most copywriters, I’m also fascinated by the human condition, with a strong interest in how cognitive biases shape our behaviour.
For some odd reason I also know far too much about shipping containers.
On the shelf
On plane & beach I prefer thrillers: John LeCarré, Elmore Leonard, and hidden gems like John D MacDonald. (I tend not to read anything until it’s a few decades old; letting Time decide greatness isn’t cheating.) All inform my own indie authoring.
As for sci-fi, it’s hard SF, never SFF or F. (Fantasy and Science Fiction are NOT the same thing.) That means Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, David Brin, and anything edited by Gardner Dozois. (If you think sci-fi’s pap, read his annual anthologies for a sense of how breathless the genre can leave you).
What they say
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s largest advertising group WPP: “Chris’s essay ‘Click, click, you’re dead’ focusses the mind – and makes all of us think about where our agencies are going.” The articles he referenced were sent to his top 300 managers globally and won me a judge’s spot at the One Show Interactive, advertising’s Oscars.
Mark Anderson, publisher of the subscription-only SNS Newsletter read by over 10,000 technology and venture capital executives, said: “Those who have already read or met Chris know that he has the kind of very quick intelligence that you’d want in your own creative director – not just someone to pitch you new campaigns, but someone with an incisive understanding of what makes people tick, why they should buy your stuff, and how this all fits in with larger technical, cultural and demographic trends.“
Neil French, legendary creative director and former global creative head of top-10 ad agencies Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, said: “[Chris is] a visionary web thinker.” I later presented at his Asia Creative Directors’ Conference in Bangkok.
Mark Taylor, former Dean of world-ranked Warwick Business School and a former MD of investment firm BlackRock, had this to say to a gathering of MBAs in London: “[Chris said] something that made me think tonight – that Warwick is the business school for mavericks. It’s something I plan to think about more deeply.“
Duncan Collins, the workforce development expert who co-designed the UK’s Investors in People standard and Business Growth Training working with Ministers in the British Government’s Cabinet Office (and has since consulted for over 10,000 small-to-midsize enterprises) said: “Chris is the best writer I know – he can write copy that sells straight off the page! “
Neil Goulder, who acted for HRH Prince Charles as CFO of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment (his Facebook page includes snaps of him with former PMs Gordon Brown and David Cameron – not at the same time!) said: “Chris has an incisive and inquiring mind that goes far beyond marketing – and is certainly the best copywriter I know in London today.“
And that’s me. Now based in London, I’ve lived and worked in six countries, and the travel bug never seems to fade. Contact me here.