In honour of yet another made-up day in the social media calendar, "National Bosses Day", we thought we'd jump on board with some topical content and introduce Bridge & Tunnel's co-founders, Owen and Vijay.
So without further ado...
Firstly, tell us more about life before Bridge & Tunnel…VP - I left university not knowing much about the marketing and advertising world, and knowing that I absolutely did not want to pursue law as a career. I graduated at a time when social media was in its relative infancy and joined a very early social media startup before moving over to a hybrid experiential and social agency where Owen and I first met and worked together. Over the years I’d go on to work at integrated agencies before freelancing at tech and mobile startups before going on to join Jack Morton overseeing their interactive offering. Owen and I met for a drink at a time when we were both keen to make the next serious move, and Bridge & Tunnel was born…
OF - Before setting up Bridge & Tunnel I was on the management team at a BMB, a London based creative agency founded by ad land legend Trevor Beattie. I spent 8 happy years working for BMB and met some of my favourite people there. I also had a side hustle working as a Director for Devil PR, a music PR and management agency, which I co-founded back in 2008.
What was your first job?
VP - A hybrid designer/developer and account manager for a social media and events startup. Our team was so small I’d be on a call with a client discussing changes to apps or projects. I’d hang up after assuring client’s we’d get the ‘dev team’ onto it, and then desperately trying to figure out how to make a piece of code work.
OF - My first real job was as an Online Marketing Executive for a rock/metal record label called Visible Noise. I was put in charge of all the digital marketing activity because I was the only person who had any clue about digital, social networks and building websites. Although I consider Visible Noise was my first real job I’ve always had little money-making schemes since I was a kid like selling sweets on the school bus, selling pirated CDr’s, booking gigs and the list goes on.
A highlight of your career to date?
VP - Pursuing a startup idea, rapidly building prototypes, meeting and pitching VC’s only to be turned down and have the venture die a painful death. Most people wouldn’t consider that a highlight in any sense, but it was for me.The experience and what we went through taught me so much, and every misstep on that road eventually led me here…
OF - Founding a startup music social network > getting it funded > making loads of naive mistakes > watching it crash and burn. That was the steepest learning curve of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
What makes Bridge & Tunnel different to other agencies out there?
VP - Our performance focus. We’ve spent so much time around other social agencies who focus on outdated metrics or workflows, when we decided to setup we knew that creating a new model that proved ROI and directly drive revenue through attribution and full-funnel campaigns, was something that was not only possible, but something massively underserved or sidestepped by the vast majority of agencies out there.
OF - We’re not an agency, we’re a consultancy.
We are commercially hardwired, we care more about our clients’ bottom line than we do about advertising industry accolades.
We have a no “dickhead policy” for all hires. Life is too short to work with dickheads.
If you could give one piece of advice for anyone looking to start their own business, what would it be?
VP - Seek advice and speak to other founders before setting out. But also be wary of self-doubt. Leaving the relative safety of a job and salary can play on your mind and prevent you taking the leap. Back yourself, be ready to fail and learn quickly. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s an incredible journey.
OF - Hire people who are smarter than you and surround yourself with people who are willing to challenge and inspire you.
And finally, if you could invite anyone on a dinner date, who would it be and why?
VP - Ed Catmull. One of the founders of Pixar. Hearing his experiences and thoughts on the intersection of art, creativity and technology is inspiring. His book ‘Creativity Inc’ is a brilliant read for anyone in the creative industry, interested in scaling a business or learning about the early Silicon Valley days.
OF - Ian MacKaye. Founder of Dischord Records, singer in Minor Threat and Fugazi. When I first heard Minor Threat and listened to the lyrics it forever changed me. His music, lyrics and socio-political activism are a constant source of inspiration and creativity for me.