Sebastien Lepez Is Changing the Advertising Industry by Combining Humans + Technologies
What’s your story?
I spent 18 years working in Advertising and Marketing for corporate companies before finally making the leap of faith and following my dream of launching my own business: Jolt Digital.
I worked for the biggest advertising companies (WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic) and also worked on the client side, where I led Digital Marketing for one of the most digitally advanced brands: Acuvue, Johnson & Johnson.
While I was working at J&J, one day I watched a video from the famous entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, who said “Regret is poison.” This is what made me realise that I didn’t want to continue speculating that one day I will launch my own business, or maybe, never do it! I didn’t want to live with regrets. So I did it and Jolt Digital was born!
I created an agency that is using technologies such as AdTech and MarTech to increase performance. We are trying to change the industry by combining humans + technologies.
What excites you most about your industry?
The advertising industry, or the agency businesses to be more precise, need a lot of change if they want to survive in the future. New technologies are disrupting the old model and agencies are not adapting to it. There is a big opportunity to change the game, revolutionise an industry. That’s what excites me and why I’ve created Jolt Digital!
What’s your connection to Asia?
I arrived in Singapore 10 years ago after 8 years in London. When I was living in London I wanted to discover new cultures and go where the growth was. This is why I decided, 10 years ago, to pack my bags and move to Singapore.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Shanghai! Because when you go there you are constantly learning new things. It could be work related, but outside of work, it’s about new concepts that are being created, for example.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There is a lot of advice that I have received in my career or learnt through reading, especially in the past 1.5 years, since I have become an entrepreneur. However, there is one that recently popped back into my head, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” This is a big driver for me and it helps me to aim high. Maybe I won’t reach that high but I’ll certainly go higher than if I dreamt small.
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson is an entrepreneur I have always been fascinated by and who continues to inspire me. He brings some simple and human lessons that I can relate to. Another entrepreneur who is also a game changer and who wants to change the world beyond him is Elon Musk.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I come across a lot of new technologies in my job and am amazed by them. But I also like to look beyond my own remit and learn from outside of work. I am a big fan of National Geographic magazine and have been reading it for years. Recently there was an article about an NGO (African Parks) which tries to save wildlife and parks in Africa. They have made huge progress and this is a very successful initiative. This made me think that if humans can come together around one simple cause, amazing things can be done. It’s not about territory or power but more about a good cause that rallies people. Same thing can be applied to business.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started my business 10 years ago! At that time, I believe I had more energy, and fewer financial attachments. Although, I’ve read recently that people launching businesses in their 40s are more successful than those in their 20s!
How do you unwind?
Sports! Since I launched my company I have become a sports addict! I do about 5 to 6 hours of exercise a week: running, cycling, swimming, gym, squash. It is very important to me as it helps me keep my sanity and brings some balance.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love it, as it’s easy to go there, it’s beautiful, the food is delicious, and the people are amazing! An ideal place to relax, wherever you go in Thailand!
Everyone in business should read this book:
“How Brands Grow” by Byron Sharp.
Shameless plug for your business:
We use a lot of technologies around the world that help deliver better performance for marketing campaigns. No shame in using tech that is already there, because we know they are game changing, and the competition is not even thinking about it!
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.