Industry Profile: Publicis Sapient director of product engineering Ben Moir

20 August 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Publicis Sapient director of product engineering Ben Moir.

Time in current role/time at the company:
Three months.

How would you describe what the company does?
We help established businesses prepare for the future by getting them to think from the customer perspective and embrace digital.

What do you do day-to-day?
Predominantly my day involves talking to people to understand multiple perspectives and assimilate complex business challenges. My daily challenge is creating space to do quiet thinking but I’m getting better at walking away from screens and putting email on hold.

Define your job in one word:
Purpose.

I got into digital marketing because:
I naturally thrive working with creative folk; it’s proven to complement my mad inventor persona. My first job in 2000 was at a digital agency building Flash websites. Macromedia Flash was the perfect mix of CX, tech and marketing, I still miss that technology.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Semantics and the nuances of how people describe the world are the biggest challenges I face in my role. Working across multiple industries and engineering products that incorporate design, strategy and technology, most of the time I’m trying to map what people say to an underlying simple concept.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
From my perspective the challenges facing every industry are similar. The digital first and tech giants are smart and evolve so quickly the established businesses will be fighting to survive (if they aren’t already). I think our purpose is to help the companies thrive that employ the majority of our population and contribute the most to society. How is it that Facebook has a market capitalisation five times that of Airbus, one of these companies designs and builds flying machines that we use to visit our friends anywhere in the world.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I ran Snepo Research, my own tech-engineering firm for 13 years developing products and marketing tech for most of the major Australian agencies and blue chips.

Who is/has been a great mentor to you and why?
I’m going to give a shout out to John Maeda. I’ve been carrying around his book “Laws of Simplicity” almost like a bible, not knowing the significance until last week when he was appointed as Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Study engineering but learn how to be a designer. Design is the bridge between art and science.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
An artist living in a log cabin, hiking and snowboarding in the backcountry.

My mantra is:
Infinite possibilities.

My favourite advert is:
BMW – In 2018 the car brand asked Juliette Lewis to write a manifesto about gender equality. Google it, there is a message for everyone who cares to listen.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
Spotify Discover Weekly, I’ve been training the algorithm for five years to pick my music and it does a better job than anyone, except maybe a DJ at a live gig.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
Who I am today is almost unrecognisable from the Ben of a couple of years ago. They will never in their wildest imagination be able to figure out what I’ll be like in the future. Time is a mysterious friend so let’s leave it there. Kairos.

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