The Fishbowl: Solène Dassing, Acast

The Fishbowl: Solène Dassing, Acast

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions are drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week, Solène Dassing, director of sales, international, at Acast.

Solène Dassing started her career in France as a communications assistant at Metz Métropole Développement and later became a junior events manager at La Tribune.

She held a similar position at Canal+ and was also an ad sales and partnerships assistant at NBCUniversal.

Dassing spent more than six years in sales at Unruly in London, before moving to Mumsnet and finally Acast in 2022 as a key account director, international. She became director of sales, international, in 2023.

Why are you passionate about media?

People and creativity. 

I’m continually learning from people in this ever-changing industry — surrounded by impressive peers and allies — and the creativity I see dominate our discussions today was unimaginable just five years ago.

When you’re fortunate to work in media, it’s easy to be passionate.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin. I read this in a day. It’s moving, heartbreaking yet touching and uplifting in the end. If you grab a book to read this weekend, make it this one.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to do your job one day?

Be curious, not judgemental. Stolen from Ted Lasso (!), but it really stuck with me. 

In my role, you need to listen and allow yourself to not know. It’s important to avoid jumping to conclusions too quickly and to ask questions. 

Have a thirst for knowledge and be willing to challenge yourself and others.

What keeps coming up in conversations with clients at the moment?

Without a doubt, “attention” and “AI”.  There’s now wide recognition of just how impactful podcast advertising is, but it’s still so rewarding to give the results on “attention” to our clients. 

I believe there is a place for AI within podcasting when used to enhance the human storytelling experience, rather than replace it. It will be fascinating to see how far AI goes in the podcasting sector. 

Name all the streaming platforms you subscribe to.

Amazon Prime, Spotify and Netflix.

What’s the bravest thing you have ever done?

Moving to the UK on my own. At the time, I didn’t know anyone and was fresh out of university. I was meant to only spend six months in London for a fixed-term contract at Unruly (now Nexxen), but I enjoyed myself so much that I never looked back.

It’s been nine years since I arrived and I have met so many amazing people that I don’t imagine ever going back to France, much to the despair of my mother.

Peer question: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

The emphasis on short-form content. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube (via Shorts) continue to be powerhouses in media. However, the real value lies in longer-form “slow media”, aka podcasting. While short-form content plays a vital role and holds its value, it is not the be-all and end-all.

Question from Ed Couchman, general manager, Snap; now head of sales, UK and northern Europe, Spotify

Peer question: Where or what do you get your best creative inspiration from?

Popular culture and music. I absolutely love learning from the creative inspiration of other people (and particularly of some of my favourite artists, including David Bowie and Pink Floyd). It really pushes and inspires me to add more creativity in both my personal and professional life.

Question from Katie Bowden, director of commercial, audio, Global

Peer question: What has been your most embarrassing professional moment?

During the very early days of lockdown, when working remotely was still a strange experience, I delivered a whole presentation while being muted and with sound off. Surprisingly enough, some people on the call stayed until the end!

Question from Verica Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer, Channel 4

Peer question: What’s the best piece of advice a boss or colleague has ever given you?

“No-one who is great at something was always great at it.”

Question from Laura Chase, chief commercial officer, WeAre8

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 ella.sagar@uk.adwanted.com.

Adwanted UK are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine. To access our audio industry directory, visit audioscape.info and to find your new job in audio visit The Media Leader Jobs, a dedicated marketplace for media, advertising and adtech roles.

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