Human Resources

The CMO Files: Nicholas Worth, Selligent

Nicholas Worth         

 Organisation:  Selligent        

 Job title:  Chief Marketing Officer

 Location:  London, UK


1.             Where were you born and raised?    
Washington, DC

2.             What was your first job?  
Metro Reporter, Raleigh News & Observer in North Carolina. Getting thrown into unfamiliar circumstances, figuring out what’s really going on (often reconciling very different opinions of what transpired), and writing on deadline is pretty good training for most things.

3.             What was the first product you got really excited about?   
Radio Shack TRS-80 portable computer. I was a sports reporter for The Harvard Crimson newspaper and filed game stories using this tiny 8KB word processor that used a dial-up modem, complete with plastic couplers to put over the phone handset. It gave me a glimpse of what was to come.

4.             Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
A friend of mine, Charlotte Ellertson, who never learned to stop and calculate the odds before trying to accomplish something meaningful. She pushed the FDA to approve RU-486 and over-the-counter emergency contraception using good science and her personal determination.

5.             What has been your greatest achievement?  
I co-founded a digital agency called Schematic, in Los Angeles in 1999. My partner and I started with a couple of colleagues and grew it to 350 people in six offices by the time we sold it to WPP eight years later. We hired and nurtured some of the best user experience, creative, technology and project management talent in the emerging field of digital services design. Creating a culture that attracted the best was our proudest achievement.

6.             What has been your biggest mistake?
All the moments when I have been driven by fear.

7.             What is your greatest strength?
I tell a good story. When my son was very small, I loved crafting a new bedtime story every night based on a silly twist to what had happened during his day. 

8.             What is your biggest weakness?
Impatience and sloppiness with details

9.             What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers? 
My colleagues think that marketing should be focused on external audiences. We often forget how critical it is to align internal audiences around what we want to say about the brand. They are our most important messengers.

10.         Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
I like to say, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” And I hate the misappropriation of the word strategy to describe things that are not in the least strategic.

11.         What makes you stressed?
Objections to good ideas based on the difficulty of making the change, rather than the desirability of the outcome.

12.         What do you do to relax? 
Walk my dog in the English countryside while listening to a podcast.

13.         What is your favourite song?
Redemption Song by Bob Marley – especially the line “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our mind”.

14.         Which book taught you most? 
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White tells you what you need to know about love and loss.

15.         Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
The baseball and ice hockey teams from Washington DC, the Nationals and the Capitals. Being a baseball fan, in particular, keeps me grounded in American culture.

16.         Which country would you like to work in?
Sweden – I love the Swedes’ effortless cool, comfortable self-awareness and beautiful design.

17.         Which company do you think has the best marketing?
I think Beyoncé has created an incredible brand, maintaining her artistic integrity while achieving enormous commercial success. Lots to learn from her.

18.         What do you love most about your job?
When a team member comes to me a with a great idea and I get to say, “Yes, that’s exactly it. Go make It happen.”

19.         What is your favourite book?
Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse – because Wodehouse’s razor sharp prose never fails to make me laugh.

20.         What keeps you awake at night?


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