Typical 24: Marino Gualano, MainAd
Human Resources

Typical 24: Marino Gualano, MainAd

Marino Gualano

Job title: General Manager and Co-Founder

Company: MainAd

Location: Pescara, Italy

Years’ experience: 15 years in digital advertising and 11 years in logistics and foreign trade


1. What time do you reach the office each day?
I’m almost always the first person in, just before 8am, ready to unlock the front door and start the day. The only exception is when I’m in need of a coffee fix, in which case I’ll reach the office around 8.30am.

2. Is your job varied?
Very much so. My co-founders and I started MainAd 10 years ago, and as with the evolution of any business, in the beginning, you have to ‘wear many hats’. I did everything from recruitment to being the receptionist! Now, my role covers legal, business development, and overall management – it’s a broad spectrum of responsibility.

3. Is your job creative?
It is. Within the digital industry, you can’t wait for a standard solution to appear before you. You have to be creative, dynamic, and a risk-taker to create the perfect product and ensure it works. The advertising technology landscape is constantly evolving, there’s no time to be anything but creative to keep up with emerging advancements.

4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
As my role is incredibly varied there is no “normal day”, however an upcoming focus will be continuing to expand into the Far East, meaning a lot of traveling.

5. Do you personalize your desk?
I like to keep my private and work life separate, so tend to not personalize my desk. I prefer a clean work environment, free of paperwork – but I still manage to accumulate newspapers and contracts! However, I would say that my laptop is my real desk – allowing me to work anywhere and everywhere.

6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
I consider myself as very creative, both personally and professionally. I believe creativity is needed to spot the potential in an opportunity and take it to the next level and is an attribute we seek in companies that go through MainAd’s incubator, Booster Seed.

7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I don’t – I’m not a superstitious person at all. What I do believe in is positive energy, if you believe in something enough then you can do it – life is there for the taking!

8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
At this stage in my career, I very rarely work alone. It’s important to involve others, and now the majority of my time is spent as part of a group, whether that is with my fellow founders or the marketing team for example.

9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
From start to finish, around 14 hours a day. My working day begins as soon as I wake up – from 7am I check urgent requests and read reports while eating breakfast. As a global company I have to work across multiple timezones, meaning my day usually ends at 9pm when I catch up with the last communications from our offices in Chile.

10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
There’s a danger of becoming caught up in emails and spending too much time focused on your inbox and working reactively. I try to limit myself to checking emails for 10 minutes every hour. The rest of my day is spent coordinating work groups, I estimate that equals eight hours in meetings, two hours preparing agendas, and the rest on calls. 
I also force myself to put aside one hour for my own time – my ‘meditation’ hour. But not in the traditional sense, I call it ‘business meditation’, where I read news shared with me by my management team and fellow entrepreneurs. I use this time to think about how the day’s news will impact MainAd’s projects, and potential opportunities.

11. Do you use social media much for work?
LinkedIn is an invaluable resource, which I can’t work without. For the rest of MainAd’s social media activity, our UK-based marketing team looks after our various online profiles.

12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love to see plans becoming real – watching my team develop and work on a project before it goes live. The development of an idea is so rewarding to see. This can be anything for me – the opening of a new office, launch of a product, bringing a new client on board – essentially, witnessing the fruition of something through teamwork is without doubt my favourite part of this job.

13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
While I’m at work, I like silence to concentrate on the task at hand. But from 7pm, I’ll switch on a variety of genres, depending on the time of year – from classical music such as Chopin, to rock bands including Pink Floyd, U2, and ACDC, and I particularly enjoy the UK radio show, Capital FM.

14. What do you do for lunch?
Pasta. I live by the belief of having carbs in the afternoon, and protein in the evening – I am Italian, after all!

15. Do you socialize with work colleagues?
As a General Manager, it’s my duty to be attentive to staff, clients, and suppliers at all times. I regularly take clients and suppliers out to lunch, dinner, and networking events. And with the MainAd team, we’re like a family, and I believe it’s important to spend quality time together.

16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
I can't think of a specific task I was happy to get rid of, but I like that I can now focus my time on developing relationships with contacts for the good of the company.

17. What is your last task of your day?
Preparing my agenda for the following day.

18. How do you like to relax after work?
I play a lot of sports but mainly swimming. It’s a solo activity, which gives me time to concentrate on my breathing and clear my mind so I can really relax.

19. Do you keep checking emails through the evening?
I finish my working day at 9pm, so by that point, the evening is almost over! But for correspondence beyond then, I’ll only respond to urgent emails.

20. Do you take work projects home with you?
No, not really – well, not physically at least. I picked up a great piece of advice from a book I once read – concentrate on the solution you’re looking for, and then stop thinking about it to refresh your mind – the next day, the answer will come to you.

21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Well done!
At 20 years old, I was somewhat of a pioneer and took risks – while I was travelling I hitch hiked and embraced new experiences without fear. I believe that everything that happens is important in shaping you as the person you are today.

22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose? 
A helicopter pilot – that would be very fun!

23. What device did you use to answer these questions? 
My laptop.

24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
I’m not very sentimental about devices, at all, so my work laptop is also my personal device.


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