#whorunNYad: Antonio Guerrero
I met Antonio in Barcelona in 2010, on my first day at Buzz. But I had already heard about his digital projects and attended a couple of editions of the monthly networking event he co-organized, Cava & Twitts. After many meetings, pitches, business flights and taxi rides, we became friends. He moved to New York one year before I did, and was one of the people that inspired the #whorunNYad concept. And here we are, sharing a coffee again at yet another beautiful office, and this time he’s leading the tour.
Let me introduce you to Antonio Guerrero.
In the creative industry…
Who are you, what do you do and where?
I work in strategy, digital strategy specifically, at R/GA New York.
Why do you do what you do?
It’s a mixture of circumstances and an evolving sense of purpose. On one hand, I ended up working in advertising because I was very young and eager to learn and do things in the digital world. One thing led to the other and I found myself at 18 working at an advertising agency in Barcelona, and curiosity kept on driving me towards the next opportunities. At some point I was again eager to grow professionally and at a personal level and that meant moving to New York.
My profession allowed me to grow personally as well, and that’s why I say that my sense of purpose has changed over time: sometimes what drives you is having a comfortable life, sometimes what drives you is doing great work, and ideally you want to have both – or at least that’s how I feel about it. So the reason why I do what I do is because I keep learning, I keep being challenged. At the end of the day we (strategists) are sales people, creatives and consultants, and that’s something I feel comfortable about, the mix of all of those profiles. If it wasn’t that way, I wouldn’t feel strongly about what we do, to be honest. It’s selling, but being smart, doing things that are simple and relevant, which is in my view what makes the work smart.
What keeps you inspired?
Reading about what others do, not necessarily within the marketing world. I try to read a lot, that’s the way I get inspiration. Specially working in social, I feel it’s necessary to read about what’s going on around me: political issues, social issues that surround us and affect the circumstances in which we find ourselves these days. That, weirdly enough, can be both tragic and inspiring. There are lots of opportunities when you’re trying to develop a campaign or an idea that can resonate with people in social, that can generate attention and get people to talk about something.
The other thing that inspires me is being with super intelligent people. It is very fulfilling on a personal level, because it’s great to be with senior people, or not so senior but just talented and smart. I think each of us has a very specific way to think, and when you connect with people that have found their own way to come up with ideas and to challenge your ideas, that is a great way to get inspired.
What brought you here?
I guess it was, on one hand, my eagerness to pursue the idea of going to a place that in my mind symbolized the best of the best in my industry and where I’d be able to connect with people that I was expecting were going to be very interesting and smart and inspiring.
And then, on the other hand, I was lucky enough to win the Green Card Lottery so it wouldn’t be fair to say “I wanted to come to NY, and I made it”. I got really lucky in that journey.
So I guess that’s it: a mixture of motivation and luck.
What keeps you sane?
Living in Brooklyn. Some people are like “Why would you want to live in NY and not live in Manhattan?”, because it’s the place to be for people that haven’t lived here before. I knew right from the very beginning when I got here that I needed that balance of living in a quieter place. The contrast of working in Midtown, which is crazy busy and loud, and then going back to your place and listening to the birds… it’s great and something I look forward to every day.
That is probably the most important thing to keep me sane in this city: having a good balance of work-related things to keep developing your skills and other things that have to do with your personal life. I need my time and my space to do my own shit: my music, hanging out with friends… the simplest things of life.
I do think that you can have that balance in New York, contrary to what people think, this city being a stressful place, where people are driven by their profession… It’s true to a certain extent, but ultimately you are who you are and you’re going to find that balance. And we’re Spanish, we were brought up in a very different culture that appreciates life outside of the office! So for me, that balance is important to keep me healthy.
Where do you go to get great coffee / drinks?
There’s this beautiful place in Bushwick Avenue called The Topaz. There’s a thousand places in New York, but that place is special to me, because it’s beautiful, not too packed, drinks are relatively cheap… so this bar is my go-to place when I don’t know where to go. It’s also great for dates, which are a thing in New York, people date!
For coffee, there’s this little hidden place in Clinton Hill. Actually the company has some other locations, it’s called the Brooklyn Roasting Company. But that specific location close to Navy Yard is so cute, on a corner, has a lot of light. It’s not easy to get there, but once you’re there it feels really nice, like a hidden spot to feel isolated from other things.