Paul Dervan on Owning your Mistakes|The Mindset Shift

Our guest for this session of the Mindset Shift is Paul Dervan, CMO of the National Lottery and author of Run with Foxes: Make Better Marketing Decisions. Over the past 20 years, Paul has held numerous leadership marketing positions in companies such as Indeed, Full Tilt and O2.

In this interview, Paul speaks to Tim McCarthy about his childhood growing up in Boston until the age of 5 when him and his family moved back to Dublin. He explains how his dad had a big influence on him growing up. His dad got him interested in reading which Paul believes to have given him a big advantage in life as it made learning easier for him. He also learnt the importance of modesty and generosity from both of his parents which he also tries to carry on today.

Paul explains that he was a ‘lazy’ student but a resilient one. He didn’t struggle in college but he didn’t make a huge effort, however luckily he found it easy to catch up. Before finishing college, Paul went to the US and worked with kids with AIDs and cancer. This had a big influence on Paul, and it is what led him into a social work role after finishing college. He liked the work, but he didn’t like the system, so he left and decided to pursue a career in marketing.

Paul started working in some small companies where there wasn’t a huge marketing structure, but he had the advantage of trying out lots of new things. His big break was when he landed a role in O2 where he worked alongside knowledgeable and experienced marketing managers and got exposed to great marketing in action.

Paul shares with Tim his love for challenges. This would explain why he ran 5 marathons in a row and did an MBA at night while working full time with two very young twins. The next big challenge was writing a book. Paul decided to take a year out of working full time to write his book and spend more time with his family.

He explains to Tim that he decided to write the book because he wished that at the age of 25, he could have gotten more guidance on marketing decision making. In his book, Run with Foxes: Make Better Marketing Decisions, he explains complex concepts in a simplified manner.

Finally, Paul speaks about the importance of speaking openly about our mistakes. He says that if someone can enjoy finding out they are wrong, they will improve their decision making. This is especially important and relevant when working in marketing as Paul says marketing is like betting, it’s impossible to never make a mistake.

See the full video below

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