What I've Learnt: Guy Cookson-Rabouhi, Marketing Director & Partner, Hotfoot Design
Guy Cookson-Rabouhi oversees marketing at Lancaster-based Hotfoot Design, a specialist web design and brand agency.
Hotfoot was launched in 2006 by Charlie Haywood and now works with clients including Rolls Royce, Citizens Advice, and NHS Health & Wellbeing.
Prior to joining Hotfoot in 2015, Cookson-Rabouhi co-founded digital advertising company Azullo; led on marketing and communications for Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND); and co-founded and edited Mosquito Magazine, an art and design title.
We found out all the lessons Guy has learnt...
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
My wife, Louiza, and I, get up at about 5:30am most mornings and go to the gym. When we get back I put the Bialetti on the stove for a strong coffee. It's a great way to set the day off.
What's been your luckiest break?
I joined Hotfoot about seven years ago. I'd been spending half the week in London, but with a young family I wanted to do something closer to home. With my business partners, Charlie and Aidan, we've built something really special, and I'm excited about where things are heading.
What's your best failure?
Good question. I learnt a huge amount co-founding a design magazine back in the early 2000s. We depended on advertising as much as subscribers, but we didn't have a clear enough value proposition for brands and agencies. That was an invaluable lesson.
What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?
In financial terms, definitely property. In terms of time, it's been encouraging our children - Oscar, Mateo and Mimi - to try every kind of food imaginable. Meal times used to be a battle. Now they're a joy.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
I love 'The Art of Looking Sideways' by Alan Fletcher, one of the founding partners of Pentagram. You can open it up at random and get lost in it immediately.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Don't take yourself so seriously!
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
My Dad has always taken his own path, and he taught me I shouldn't compromise and get a "safe" job doing something I didn't love.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
My grandfather, who was from an Irish family, was posted to India during the second world war, where he met Nina Luschwitz, a widow with two children. They married, came to England, and had twins, one of which was my mother. Many families have similar stories, but I just love the unlikeliness of it all.
How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?
Many brands have realised they can easily access talent around the country, and we've definitely benefited from that, with projects we've done recently for Rolls Royce, DCC plc, the NHS and others.
Zoom is a great equaliser.
What does success look like to you?
It's having the freedom to do great work with brilliant people. There's nothing better. But it's also not having to worry about keeping the wolf from the door.
We've done work with Morecambe Bay Foodbank and the numbers of people struggling at the moment is deeply concerning. As a society we need to change that.