Jono Brain co-founded creative digital agency Anything in 2014 alongside Mark Holt.
The agency now works with leading brands including Quorn, Swizzels, Liverpool FC and Urbansplash, offering services including prototyping and user testing, UX design, animation, front-end and back-end development, among others.
Previously, Jono held roles at leading agencies including Code Computerlove, where he was Solutions Manager; and Love Creative, where he was Technical Director.
He told us the lessons he’s learnt.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
I love getting the train to work. It’s a 25-minute journey and I see it as time for myself to think about the day ahead and prepare myself mentally.
During the COVID lockdowns, I found it really difficult not having that time and it is truly amazing what those 25 minutes can do for your mind and clarity.
What’s been your luckiest break?
Wini Tse, Louis Georgiou and Tony Foggett made me the first employee at Code Computerlove back in the late 90s. Despite having no relevant qualifications or a degree, they gave me a chance and I made sure I took it.
What’s your best failure?
I worked for Bank of America developing their UK website. Bank of America sadly cancelled launching in the UK, and therefore the website never went live.
Although disappointing at the time, it was a great experience to work client-side and it gave me a much better perspective and appreciation of what it is like on the other side of the fence.
What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
Probably better to ask me this again in a couple of months. We recently announced to the Anything team that from May this year, we are going to trial working a four-day week.
We believe we can achieve the same results working fewer hours – and by enabling people to have more time to manage their lives or spend time with loved ones or exploring other interests, the payback would be a happier, less stressed and more productive team.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
If I’m completely honest, it is rare for me to read a book.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Find more time for yourself away from your computer and experience life. I worked ridiculously long hours, often through the night and at weekends to hit deadlines. We make sure that Anything isn’t about working late – the team is encouraged to have a life outside work.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
I would have to say Louis Georgiou at Code Computerlove. He was really influential in my early days. I really admired how he was both technical and creative and that’s definitely something I’ve tried to emulate.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
I am a huge basketball fan. As well as playing for a team, I watch the Manchester Giants and also coach my son’s team.
How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?
It has given leaders confidence to not be scared to do things differently. It really put a spotlight on the importance of taking care of each other and yourself in a more thoughtful way.
Mental health and wellbeing are hugely important for everyone and I am much more conscious of it. This has been a big factor in Anything’s ambition to move to a four-day working week.
What does success look like to you?
We have an ambitious but achievable growth plan for the next five years, expanding both the team and our client base. From experience, we know that growing can impact the culture of a company.
Success for me is to expand while maintaining a happy team and agency environment, getting the right work-life balance, and continuing the high standard of work our clients love us for.