Fill my Poke shoes? Win my shoes.


Judging by the amount of lovely emails and messages I’ve had, lots of people seem to know that I’m leaving Poke. But at the same time there’s probably a bunch of people who are safely insulated from ‘industry media‘ who have no idea.

Here’s the story so far. The events of last year forced me and Sophie to take a look at our lives. To ask ourselves “what’s it all about” and to consider the life that we wanted to make for our new family. We were asking ourselves a lot of questions, then out of the blue, an answer popped up.

We’ve been given the chance to go and raise our little family in one of the most amazing cities in the world: Portland, Oregon. 

I feel very lucky.

In fact I’m a bloody fortunate fellow all round. I’ve also been given the opportunity to work at W+K, one of the most inspiring and creative companies in the world. I’m going to write about the shape of that opportunity and why I’m so excited to be going there in a follow-up post (and probably for the rest of my blogging days). For now I want to write a bit about the amazing place that I’m leaving behind.

We’re leaving in a couple of weeks, and unfortunately Google still can’t figure out how we get there:

Poke to Wieden & Kennedy Inc - Google Maps

Aside from not knowing how to, leaving Poke has been one of the toughest choices I’ve ever had to make. It feels strange to feel like a company is both like your baby and your family – especially when you have babies and a family. But that’s how Poke has felt for the last 8 and a bit years.

I love Poke as a group of people, a place AND a thing. I’ve always struggled with whether ‘Poke is’ or ‘Poke are’, and that struggle is part of what makes it so special. The thing is made by the people, and it feels like the people are stronger because of the thing. I love what it stands for. I love its culture. I love its playfulness. I love their talent. I love their laughter. And their groans. And I love the passion and excitement.

And it’s been a place that’s allowed me to be me. It’s made me stronger and smarter. And it’s given me the chance to have stupid ideas safe in the knowledge that there are other people who will understand what I’m talking about and ultimately make it better than I ever could have imagined.

Over the years it’s felt a little cult-like from time to time, but that’s because Poke has been been really careful who it’s hired – trying to preserve a balance and a sense of ‘Pokeness’. But it’s that particular blend of people that makes it such a special place. It’s not that everyone always agrees about things, but there is an over-arching sense of respect and mutual admiration that makes it feel like no place I’ve ever been before.

And of course there are many individuals who I love dearly, I’ll miss them all especially the lovely Mr Roope with whom I’ve had a wonderfully fertile creative relationship for many years – before Poke was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

So it’ll be no shock that the thought of leaving makes me a bit teary. In fact I’m wandering around with the queerest set of emotions right now. If you shook up a bag full of sadness, fear, excitement and optimism for the future that would only describe a tiny fraction of it.

Poke will continue to go from stength to strength under Nik’s expert eye, and there’s a great team in place creatively, strategically and technically. But there’s a desk about to come free if anyone’s looking for a new challenge…

Poke are looking for someone who’s able to conceive of (and direct) work of a similar level to: (ideally better). I imagine that this person will have been working in the game for as long as Poke’s been around. Poke are also in the market for a senior strategic person – someone who’s creatively minded and able to deal with clients at the highest possible level.

Whoever gets the the job can have my actual shoes too, I’ll leave them in my locker – they’re a very comfortable pair of Nike Air Moire in royal blue, UK size 9, Nike+ compatible, and they’ve only been worn a couple of times.

I’m not going to tell you how to apply. If you can’t figure out how to get in touch with someone who can point you in the right direction I guess you’ve fallen at the first hurdle.

I’ll miss Poke. And I hope it misses me (but not too much).

11 thoughts on “Fill my Poke shoes? Win my shoes.”

  1. what is portland's gain in London's huge loss. Good luck on your big adventure out west. Portland is meant to be beautiful. W+K are lucky to have you.

  2. I'm just as excited and as surprised as you are. Looking forward to your observations on it all as it unfolds. Congratulations.

  3. OK this is going to sound weird but where's the yellow sketch pad from? I suffer from a magpie like reaction to all yellow things. Good luck with the move.

  4. Wow, that is big news. It'll be sad to not hear of your doings at Poke. Strangely enough my wife will be in Portland later in the year. So, just in case you forget something, I'll send her over with it.

    I'd love to fill your shoes, but I suspect I'd fill my pants first.

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