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Meet the Team - Thom Watt

Get to know our Associate Partner, Digital

How did you begin your career in Digital?

I’ve definitely come the long way around. I started my career in the early Wild West days of the internet, doing what’s come to be known as digital marketing, working with the Big Three - Bebo, MySpace and Geocities. Back when the internet was in black and white. 

From there I moved into working in tech and in journalism, before joining Weber Shandwick in 2015 and leading their digital/online team in Scotland. 

What’s been the most memorable experience at SPEY?

There’s been so much already, and so much more that we can’t quite talk about just yet. My favourite project so far has definitely been helping to launch Lochlea Distillery. They’ve got an amazing story and a fantastic whisky. It’s been a lot of fun working with them.

What’s been your favourite project to work on so far in your career?

I’ve been very lucky to work on some incredible projects over the years, not least some of the things we’re doing right now. 

My favourite project is probably the one I feel I learned the most from, and did the most growing up in. My first job was with a startup business called Texperts, way back in the days of Ye Olde Internet. When we started, we were quite literally working from our rooms and staying in touch via messenger apps. We built that up to the point that it was bought by a US-business, and I got the experience of working in New York, Philadelphia and Manila. 

When we started, I had to go and work in my brother’s living room because I couldn’t get broadband. When I left, we had an office on Madison Avenue and had just done an advert for the SuperBowl. I learned so much from some incredible, inspirational people. 

What do you get up to when you’re not at work?

A lot of musical things. I play the guitar a lot, collect albums (about 5,000 CDs and counting - so digital!) and love going to see live music. I will happily bore you about Steve Albini’s drum sound, Ross Robinson’s impact on the production of music for the streaming generation or why that cover artwork means something. I apologise in advance. 

I’m a big football fan and supporter of Aberdeen FC. Which was great, and then wasn’t, and then was okay, and then wasn’t, and is kind-of-fine now. 

I hate running, but I run a lot. I love swimming, but I don’t swim enough. And I look after a small fluffy white cat called Romy. 

What is your favourite book/podcast?

This is a tough one to narrow down. For podcasts, my current favourite is Broken Record. It’s either Malcolm Gladwell or Rick Rubin discussing music and creativity with a famous musician. There’s so many fascinating conversations in it, and throwaway lines that you could live your life by. On one I listened to recently Jason Isbell said “inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just turn up and get to work.” That’s really stuck with me. Don’t go looking for the big ideas, get stuck in and be ready for when they come to you. 

My favourite book of all time is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I re-read it every couple of years. I think everyone could benefit from studying Douglas Adams’ sentences and dry, witty use of language. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” Quite.


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