David Eastman: CEO, BSSP

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m endlessly curious. About people, about technology and about creativity. I’m fortunate to work in an industry that involves all three. So, I’m someone who is going to ask you a lot of questions. And if I can possibly make you laugh I will.

Bio: With twenty years of digital transformation, leadership, and strategy experience working with some of the world’s best-known brands, David has held global leadership positions at multiple independent and holding-company-owned digital, integrated, and creative agencies. He joined BSSP in 2017 as a part of the agency’s leadership succession plan and has provided valuable experience as the business continues to grow. Previously, as managing partner of MCD Partners, he led corporate strategy and the eventual sale to the M&C Saatchi Group. Prior to that he was CEO North America and Worldwide Head of Digital for J Walter Thompson.

David is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a Webby judge, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has held board positions at the 4A’s, the Ad Council and the AEF. In addition to published articles and TV appearances, he is a regular conference speaker on themes such as the future of social media, digital transformation, and brands in a digital world. David was born and raised in the UK and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and New York. He currently resides in Menlo Park with his partner and young son Luca.

How did you get into the industry?

The short story is that someone showed me the internet in 1996 and I was hooked. I joined an internet agency startup and I’ve never looked back since. That’s taken me from London to the Bay Area, via Amsterdam and ten years in New York City.

Any emerging industry trends?

The internet is an endless conveyor belt of enabling technologies. Almost everything that was in the RadioShack catalog from 1990 now resides as an app in your phone. Right now I’m very excited about voice and AI.

How do you motivate others?

By giving people maximum opportunity, then getting out of their way and allowing them a safe space to succeed or fail. Nobody really succeeds without failing at some point on the way to success. Often repeatedly. See Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb. He kept failing, until he succeeded.

Career advice to those in ANY industry?

Read Warren Buffet on the “inner scorecard”. “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”

What do I do best?

Listening.

I also try to reflect on Jerry Colonna’s 3 questions:

What am I not saying that needs to be said?

What am I saying that’s not being heard?

What’s being said that I’m not hearing?

What makes me the best version of myself?

When I’m operating “above the line”. Open/curious/committed to learning/feeling a sense of trust. As opposed to operating “below the line”: Contracted/Closed/Defensive/Attached to proving you’re right. (a concept from Jim Dethmer and his Conscious Leadership group)

My Most Challenging Moment?

Making the decision to move my Mom (who has Alzheimer’s) into a full-time care facility. It was simultaneously the right thing to do, and the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

My Motto?

“The man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance” Hunter S Thompson at 20 years old. I’ve carried this quote in my head for a long time. I think about it in relation to matters great and small. In a world filled with accelerating choice, being intentional about what you want to spend your time on, and why, is time well spent.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Almost anything made by Charles and Ray Eames. (I’m writing this sitting on one of their recliners).

Photography by Bill Claxton

Inner Balance Trainer by HeartMath

My Taylor acoustic guitar

My Current Passions?

Reliving the Apollo project and the ’69 moon landing.

“First Man” (movie)

“First to the Moon” (documentary)

“Apollo 11” (documentary)

“13 minutes to the moon” (BBC World Service Podcast)

Watch and listen to all of this, and you realize this was one of the most incredible achievements of all time.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Being present, in the moment (there will never be a time in your life that isn’t now) Thought of the Day: Remember to be present!

Action of the Day: 15 minutes of mindfulness

Deed of the Day: Be present for others

Tip of the Day: Practice mindfulness!

A Day in My Life:

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Eggs/Avocado/Smoked Salmon + Coffee

Fred’s in Sausalito.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Slowly realizing it’s time to get up because my 6 year old is tapping me on the shoulder.

10:00 AM – In a meeting/on a call.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Lunch is normally at my desk. Full-fat Coconut Yogurt with a big dollop of almond butter

7:00 PM - Dinner with my family, usually from the grill

11:00 PM – If I’m not asleep it probably means I’m in another time zone

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Coffee before 10am.

Water/Bubbly

A glass (or two) of Pinot Noir after 7pm

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Waking Up app

What should everyone try at least once?

Sensory deprivation tanks

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In my own head