Talking b2b tech, public relations jobs and Latin
We sat down with Ghislain d’Andlau, the latest member of our ever-growing lorry tech team. Here’s what he had to say about b2b tech PR, public relations jobs in London, practical jokes and not over-dressing for meetings.
How did you get into b2b tech PR and find your way to the lorries?
After university, I was an intern at a start-up, where we had to develop a smartphone app. It was a good introduction to the tech world. My next internship was at a PR firm. I enjoyed the combination of the flexibility and constantly changing universe of the tech world and public relations. I’ve been in PR ever since! I’ve worked for a PR company with clients in all kinds of sectors – it was fascinating but not as exciting as tech PR!
I also really wanted to come to the UK. I studied in Sheffield and had really good memories of my time there. So, in the end, it all added up – I wanted to work in tech, PR and in the UK. During Christmas break, I started looking for firms and found the Lorries. It was a great fit.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested working in b2b tech PR?
Working in b2b tech PR is more than a job, it’s a culture. It shapes the way you think and influences your view of business and tech news. You never really stop working because innovation never stops! You always want to deliver impressive results to your clients and to do so; you have to continually look out best practice – as this industry and the way you can reach customers is always changing. Tracking the national press and also the tech trade press, such as Computer Business Review is always part of my day. But you also have to keep an eye out in day-to-day life. Speaking with my 12-year-old nephew a few years ago helped me understand the trends in the app world.
Part of your brain must always be active, looking, analysing and on the move. My advice would be to always be on the lookout or innovation, and open to new ideas. In b2b tech PR it’s important always to keep your mind fresh.
What skills are essential for b2b PR
Some people say, “yes we can” but when you work in tech PR it’s closer to “yes we must”. The tech sectors we work in are some of the most competitive in the market, as well as the fastest evolving. Delivering strong stories isn’t just an option, it’s a must have. You have to be determined and focused. It’s always fun but can be an intense job because you have to keep up with what’s happening in your core sectors. It’s also a job that requires teamwork. You work as part of a team, and the success, just like the failures, are collective ones.
What is your favourite part of working in PR?
Things are fast moving! Most days everything goes as planned but sometimes there can be an unexpected piece of news or a challenge that you have to drop everything to deal with. In those moments it’s easy to think ‘how am I going to manage?’ But then when I leave work and I’ve dealt with a crisis management issue or managed a last-minute deadline, I feel a real great. To me, that’s the best thing in PR. The feeling that says “yes I did”.
What’s the best part of working at the lorries?
The overall atmosphere is at the same time a friendly and warm, but also intellectually stimulating. That’s a mix you rarely find. Most workplaces are friendly or intellectually stimulating. So this combination makes it a unique place to grow intellectually but also as a person in a new country. You spend a lot of time at work, so it’s nice to work with people who understand the importance of a balance between personal and professional life. The Lorries will expect the best of you and help you grow, without pressuring you like an orange used to make juice!
How would you describe your day job to a child?
Humana ante oculos foede cum vita jaceret in terris, oppressa gravi sub religione quae caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat,horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans, primum Graius homo mortales tollere contra est oculos ausus, primusque obsistere contra ; quem neque fama deum nec fulmina nec minitanti murmure compressit caelum, sed eo magis acrem inritat animi virtutem, ecfringere ut arta naturae primus portarum claustra cupiret.
(Ed – What? Kids don’t speak Latin anymore? O tempora O mores!)
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I must confess I have a weak spot for doughnuts! There are lorry rumours that I have them for breakfast! But I refuse to answer such accusations without a lawyer!
What’s something not many people know about you?
I am a massive fan of practical jokes – electric shock pull head chewing gum or hand buzzers. I have been ever since I was a kid! I love those little gadgets; they always amaze me. Sometimes on the weekend I go on the internet and check out the last developments. I’m a little obsessed! I have to stop myself from buying any because I could spend a fortune! As a kid, it would be an ultimate present – it’s amazing I never got bored with them.
Most embarrassing moment?
The first thing that pops into my mind is my first day at Uni as a post-grad student. I was a bit nervous and came in with a suit, wearing my best shirt and tie.
I managed to arrive late, and also got lost. When I finally reached the classroom none of the other students had dressed up, let alone were wearing a tie! They were all so casual… I sat down in the front row, looking like a lawyer! To make matters worse, the person on my right was wearing flip-flops and the guy on my left had dreadlocks! Despite my first day, the year went fine and turned out to be one of the best experiences I ever had. I was in Rome, could it be anything else?