The Fishbowl: Nick Hewat, Pinterest
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Nick Hewat, sales director at Pinterest.
Nick Hewat has been sales director at Pinterest since July 2021.
Prior to that he has held a mixture of sales and leadership roles across publishing and radio brands including The Guardian, Telegraph Media Group, Absolute Radio, Virgin Radio and Capital Radio.
Describe your WFH setup in no more than 10 words.
Work in progress. Fancy new chair, Ikea desk, hunched shoulders.
**Peer question** What’s been your biggest challenge this year and what are you doing about it?
Our industry’s health is linked to economic health so it’s a tough year for advertising.
Our job this year is to improve the comprehension of Pinterest — to inform what’s on the mental bookshelf of our overstretched customers when they think of us — and to make sure our value proposition is crystal clear.
**Question from Richard Bon, UK managing director and Europe commercial lead at Clear Channel.
**Peer question** If you could click your fingers and change one thing about the way your company operates, what would it be?
I’d like us all to be together more often.
** Question from Dave Randall, commercial director at Future.
If you could learn any new skill from scratch, what would it be?
I’d like to learn to play the piano. Got the fingers for it.
What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?
I’m late to it but Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Anyone who has read it will know the part when I cried. I read a lot of business books but case studies don’t do that for me.
What are clients most excited about right now?
We’re truly in an era of effectiveness. Clients want to be able to more precisely measure the efficacy of their campaigns and welcome the insight that we can bring.
Oh, and AI. Obvs.
What is part of your daily routine that you look forward to every day?
Morning coffee with about 20 subscriber emails after the gym.
**Peer question** What moment (or event) was the biggest turning point in your career?
It’s 1999 and Capital Radio has sent me on a prestigious week-long residential training course called Leadership Trust. Here, you are grouped with complete strangers, given increasingly complex tasks to fulfil with different degrees of authority — sometimes you are the worker, sometimes the Queen bee. At the end of each task, everyone is allowed one word to describe their feelings. It’s brilliantly done.
And what I discovered is what Brené Brown says, “who we are is how we lead”. That’s nuanced — if you are smart, you can change your leadership style based on the challenge at hand — but the maxim “character is fate” is essentially true. I can’t remember much about what I did last week but that course has stuck with me.
If you won £10m on the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
I’d buy some flats and rent them out to public service workers at no more than 10% of their earnings. I’m working backwards from the project title, “10% rent”.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
In my dreams, I’ve written a bestselling book and will be touring the studios and on the after dinner speaking circuit. In reality, I’m hoping my judgement and experience will still be useful to someone, somewhere.
Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.