Andy Whitlock: why the world needs more magic

Andy Whitlock

Before joining Lost My Name, Andy created amazing things for clients at acclaimed agencies Made By Many and Poke. We had a chat with him about what we can expect from his talk at Dots, as well as why curiosity and magic are so important to humanity.

What can we expect from your talk at Dots?

Lots of metaphors about kids. We make things for kids. My son was born around the same time I joined the company. A startup is a bit like a kid. Well, first a bump, then a baby, then a kid. I’m going to talk about the messy, scary, uncertainty of the early days and also about good optimisation and bad optimisation.

Why does the world need more magic?

Magic is about hope, especially when children are concerned. We want to believe that the future holds things we don’t expect. When children see magic they believe that anything is possible. And if every child in the world believed that then there is hope for all humanity. Yes, really!

What inspired you to make the leap from digital agency to personalised children’s books?

I know the CEO very well and he shares my philosophy about the crossover between product and marketing, which gave me the confidence to leap. I also wanted to try life without clients – no offence to clients. Lost My Name promised relative autonomy to conceive, make and release things without anyone getting to interrogate them before they reach real people. You know, when you actually find out if it was the right thing to do instead of debating it subjectively. That promise turned out to be true. Really, I didn’t move to “children’s books”, I moved to a company that wants to delight children and inspire grownups to spend more memorable, magical moments with them. Personalised books are one way to do that.

I also wanted to be part of something special. This is something special.

How important is it to instil curiosity in children/ society in general?

Is there anything more important than encouraging people to believe that today’s world does not set any constraints in terms of what tomorrow’s can look like?

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced/predict you’ll face in your career?

My greatest challenge has also been my greatest advantage, depending on how I choose to look at it. I’ve always been a serial generalist. Specialising scares me because all your eggs go into one basket. Not only that, you end up with a bias that what you do is the best solution to a given problem. The generalist’s path is scary, but once you build enough experience in each discipline, you end up in a very strong position to adapt to challenges of all shapes and sizes.

In the future, my greatest challenge is the one that inevitably emerges with age: staying on top of change; fighting the laziness where you want to believe you’ve worked it all out and you can relax a bit.

That you already have ‘experience’. As someone clever once said, ‘experts’ are by definition experts on the past. No one knows the answers to the most difficult questions – the best we can do is know what we need to do to find out.

What are you most looking forward to doing at Lost My Name over the next 5 years?

We’re currently building a content platform that I hope will become one of the best sources on the internet for grownups and kids to do fun, inspiring, creative things together. I’m excited about getting more involved in the product pipeline and I genuinely believe we can bring things into the world that make people happy. There are also certain technologies that are beginning to mature enough to enable entirely new experiences at a mass level. I’m being deliberately vague 😉

Are there any other Dots speakers you’re particularly looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing Caroline Webb’s talk. I’ve been guilty of failing at a healthy work-life balance. It’s a really important thing. I hope she can fix me.

To hear Andy’s story, as well as the other fantastic speakers, join us for Dots on Friday 16th September – get your ticket.