This week, Ruthie Bird sat down with NYC marketing and technology guru, Chad Rodriguez, over a cup of coffee to discuss his take on being a successful professional in New York City. Here are some fun facts about Chad and insight from his experience in the city:
What’s your passion? I’ve always worked with brands, it’s the common thread that runs through my work. My background is with music and I grew up as a musician writing songs for record labels. Now, I bring what I learned back then into my work.
There is a simple relationship between songwriting and branding. Some brands are boring, some brands are awesome, and some brands are interesting. It’s the same with a song. A good song always helps you remember the hook, and that’s what I try to do: I write the brand’s hook. When I work with a brand I ask the question, “What’s the hook?” A brand needs to be memorable and it needs to tell a story that people can connect to. Some brands do this really well, and some brands don’t. I’ve worked in creative concept roles, I’ve been a director, I’ve worked as a VP, and I’ve been a strategist-I’ve done a lot of different things, but in everything, my job has been to tell a story. That’s why I like the title storyteller. One day when I have a job that allows me to create my own title, I’ll probably say that I am the Directory of Storytelling. That would be a pretty cool thing to say.
Why NYC? I moved to New York as a faith decision to plant a church. I worked for a bit in Marketing/Business in Australia, where I lived before I came here. My faith sits at the core of everything-not in a weird, creepy way, but it’s the source of what I do. We need good people who do their work well. That is why I like working in big business and with big brands and big companies, because I know the world needs smart people who good things. You can be smart and be a Christian, it’s not impossible. When I moved to NYC, I knew that whatever I would do, I would work with big brands and that’s exactly what happened. My first job in the city was with Prada, then I went to John Varvatos, and then on to VaynerMedia. They all shared that common thread of branding. The talent and quality of people that I work with and have worked with still baffles me everyday.
Two years later, I’m still working with and pastoring, Liberty Church. It’s growing really well and I’m a big fan.
What does it mean to be successful? Honestly, success means to know who you are. The people who are the most successful know what they are really good and really bad at. A lot of people in NYC are fighting for space to talk. They don’t know who or what they are. You can see it in the way they jump from one job to another and their whole persona changes based on what they do. It tires people out, it wears them down, and I think its one of the reasons why people leave the city. In my experience, the most successful people are okay with who they are and this plays directly into what they do.
What’s your secret for success?
Try not to worry so much. Do good work, own it to the best of your ability, and the opportunity and the promotions come. Speak what you are passionate about instead of what you think people want to hear. Know that every problem has a solution. Relax and find the answer. Be secure enough to find smart people you can bring around you to find an answer.
Favorite spot in the city?
My favorite brunch spot is The Jane on Houston Street. It’s an unassuming little restaurants with the best French toast you’ll ever eat. It’s a cool place with an easy vibe and apparently they have the best bloody Mary’s-but don’t like them-I like black coffee. Make sure to get there super early or make a reservation, or else you’ll be waiting for an hour and a half for a table.
I’m a coffee freak and I love the coffee in the city. I think the Bowery Coffee is the best in the city-and they don’t have WiFi so people aren’t camped out there forever. I also like to hang out at Prodigy in the West Village and Saturday Surf on Crosby Street in SoHo.
Follow Chad on twitter: @ChadRodriguez