An ELSEr story

Pedro Espírito Santo

How would you describe your career path to arriving at ELSE?

It all started off 20 years ago, when I was working as a night-shift receptionist in a hotel in Portugal. At the time I’d been out of high-school for a few years and I really didn’t have a clue about what to do with my future. One night, while I was browsing the web at work, I came across this incredible Flash website (remember Flash?). It was full of animation and it looked amazing. I’d never seen anything like it before (bear in mind this was 2001 – websites were boring back then). That website spawned an idea in my mind: “Hey, web designer… yeah, I could do that…”. Long story short, I went to uni, moved to London, found myself a web design internship, went on to work at a few different agencies, had a go at working in-house, by joining Capital One, and now here I am.

Can you share with us any of your failures? And what you learned from them?

I think my biggest failure throughout my career was not believing in myself sometimes. Fortunately, over time, and through a lot of ‘banging my head against the wall’, I learned how to get around that.

What does success look like to you?

Shutting down my machine at the end of the day knowing that I learned something new that day.

Why did you want to work at ELSE?

Before ELSE I was at a well-known agency called LBi (now Digitas UK). LBi was huge and it made my CV look great but I wasn’t happy there. I felt like a small cog in a big machine. So, after a few years there I decided I wanted to find a small, cosy agency, where I could feel at home. ELSE looked just like that.

What skills have you found vital to your job?

Being confidently humble. Questioning everything.

Do you have a passion or interest you want to tell us about?

I love music, particularly making music. Writing songs (mostly sad ones) and playing them, especially if I’m doing it with friends. If only I was any good at it!

How do you maintain work-life balance?

I work really hard during my work hours – and then I close my laptop and don’t think about it until 9am next morning.

What’s your personal brand?

I never thought about it to be honest… maybe I do have a personal brand, but I don’t t know. Might be worth asking other people about it. All I know is that I give my best every time. Maybe that’s my personal brand!

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?

Try not to take it too seriously. Enjoy the perks of it. Never stop learning.

Who inspires you?

Everyone. Every single person that I’ve ever crossed paths with has inspired me in some shape or form, and I believe that’ll be the case for the rest of my life.

If you wrote a novel, what would it be about?

It would be a fantasised, embellished version of my whole life. Pretty boring stuff…

How would you like to be remembered?

As the guy who wrote a book about himself? Nah, just kidding. As a good father, husband, friend and professional. In that order.

Is there a quote that motivates you?

There’s a quote from Fernando Pessoa’s poem, ‘Mar Português’, that my dad used to say to me all the time (usually when I was being lazy about doing something):

Tudo vale a pena se a alma não é pequena”.

Directly translated to English, we would get something like “everything is worth it if the soul isn’t small”. It basically means (to me at least) that if you put your mind to something, if you do it with the best of intentions, and if you try your best, any effort in life is worth undertaking.


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