Rob Campbell and why it pays to shake things up

China, Tiger Mums, rock bands and the Buddhist Calendar are just a handful of the many things Rob and I talk about on this episode.

Rob is a mischief-maker and passionately believes in culture, creativity, and chaos.

He’s worked with names like NIKE, Virgin, and Metallica at agencies including Cynic, Wieden+Kennedy, and R/GA and has proudly been called an “asshole” by Lars Ulrich, Richard Branson, and Dan Wieden.

I ask Rob what’s he’s done in his life that has perhaps raised some eyebrows, but that he’s most proud of.

He tells us his covid story. And shares the positive side that has come out of all of this for him, and for many others he knows as well.

We hear how three African American women fundamentally changed his view on the world.

How being exposed to completely different cultures have shaped his life.

And he tells us the secret to being someone who is interesting, intriguing, and successful.

Rob is such a breath of fresh air. You’ll love this episode. Have a listen.

00:00:07:18 – 00:00:29:11
Philippa White
So the questions are these How can we really activate the best of the private sector to meet the challenges of the real world? Is there a way to accelerate my career that doesn’t involve boring online or classroom courses? And can I really impact people in the developing world with the skills that I have? Can I finally feel proud of what I know?

00:00:30:03 – 00:01:01:01
Philippa White
Those are the questions and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Philippa White and this is TIE Unearthed. Keep listening and you can follow us on our journey as we show you how we’re connecting the private sector with the social sector to make change. Hello everyone. Philippa White here and welcome to Episode nine of TIE’s Podcast.

00:01:01:11 – 00:01:42:01
Philippa White
Today I’m speaking with my friend Rob Campbell. Hi, Rob. Listen, let me introduce you to our listeners so that everybody knows just how brilliant you are. So, so despite coming from Nottingham, being a session guitarist for some of the worst of eighties nineties pop stars supporting a team that is a football embarrassment and having a revolting obsession with Birkenstocks, which by the way, I love Birkenstocks to Rob has somehow managed to have a 30 year career in creativity, working as a strategist in countries that include China, America, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

00:01:42:18 – 00:02:11:07
Philippa White
He’s developed strategy for everything from airport lounges. People want to miss their plane to stay in, to mopeds that think they’re a four by four on two wheels right through to Olympic global Olympic campaigns that define sport in the hearts and minds of culture all around the world. He’s worked with names like Nike, Virgin, Metallica at agencies including Cynic, widening Kennedy and RGA and has proudly been called an asshole.

00:02:11:07 – 00:02:18:16
Philippa White
By large, Rick. Richard Branson and Dan Widen. Well, that’s quite a claim to fame. Yeah.

00:02:19:24 – 00:02:21:00
Rob Campbell
I knew it.

00:02:21:17 – 00:02:47:15
Philippa White
All right. So Rob is a well-known speaker writer. Mitch is mischief maker and passionately believes in culture, creativity and chaos. And he also has an unhealthy obsession with listing things in threes. And I have to say that last, last part made me laugh. So now when we met in January, just before the world kind of imploded, exploded Donald at James Welch’s fantastic tea and dicky evenings in London.

00:02:47:15 – 00:03:09:19
Philippa White
And you were the guest speaker. And after we talked about our shared interest in shaking things up and challenging the status quo, I knew that we’d be lifelong friends. So I love how you see the world. I love how you your approach to life, your comments on things, just the way that you embrace life. And I just want you to tell me and our listeners, have you always been a rebel?

00:03:09:22 – 00:03:11:19
Philippa White
Like, where does this come from?

00:03:12:22 – 00:03:42:10
Rob Campbell
I mean, Rebel makes it sound like I’m doing it just because I want to do it. And so to me, my email up, I don’t know why that’s something I not ever looked at it that way. In all honesty, I was really lucky that I, I had parents who were really passionate about, you know, saying what they felt was right and exploring that rather than just going with what’s the most popular viewpoint.

00:03:42:24 – 00:04:05:07
Rob Campbell
And so and I’ve always had bosses that kind of embraced that as well. So that I mean, I know rebels are supposed to be cool, but my way with the word rebel is it feels like you’re just doing it for the sake of doing it. And that’s just not what is up for me. It’s just I get very frustrated when people view the world just through their lens and think that means everyone feels the same way.

00:04:05:07 – 00:04:26:15
Rob Campbell
And I’ve been really privileged to live around the world and find out how much of the things I thought were right were absolutely wrong. And I just would like to I’m not saying I’m right. I’m just saying that maybe you’re not quite as right as you were. And there’s there’s space in there for a bit more objectivity. Rub it in.

00:04:26:24 – 00:04:34:11
Rob Campbell
And I suppose. Yeah. My father was a lawyer, my mum was family, my mum was Italian. They were all lawyers against Mafia.

00:04:35:05 – 00:04:36:18
Philippa White
So boy, oh my God.

00:04:37:02 – 00:04:54:07
Rob Campbell
It’s been quite an eventful and yeah, I suppose I learned at way absorbed a bit about being able to try and make people think more openly about stuff. Whether I’m good at it is another thing altogether. But yeah, it’s always been there whenever.

00:04:54:07 – 00:05:21:11
Philippa White
Can you, can you give examples. Yeah. Go. Yeah. Can you give me an example of, of something that you are particularly proud of just to bring to life a way that you have managed to get people to perhaps just see something in a different way. Or perhaps you did go against the grain quite a bit, and perhaps it it did raise some eyebrows, but actually you felt genuinely quite proud of it and thought, yeah, you know what, my parents would be proud.

00:05:22:17 – 00:05:46:20
Rob Campbell
Well, I suppose the thing that is one of the things I’m the proudest of, and it was also one of the happiest times in my life was living in China. I cannot tell you what a privilege that’s been. I, I miss it. I miss it more than anywhere I’ve ever lived. And without doubt, there’s a lot of really messed up stuff there as there is in all around the world.

00:05:47:02 – 00:06:18:02
Rob Campbell
But the western world’s myopic and prejudiced view of what actually that country is about and the values I loved. I felt a real honor to represent China, the culture of that, and putting some sort of transparency and honesty and understanding into Western brands and people’s minds. FACE Yeah, I know. I can’t tell you how much my life there meant to me.

00:06:18:02 – 00:06:40:18
Rob Campbell
My son was born there. And for me, I’m, I mean, I’m probably more Chinese than Western and many of the values and a lot of people go, you know, I, they don’t understand what it is that and some the history and that and that nuance and and they treat a lot of people really badly. And I’m not suggesting in any way that the government there is the most perfect.

00:06:40:18 – 00:06:59:22
Rob Campbell
But then I don’t think any government in the world is most perfect. And there’s there’s terrible things that happen is everywhere, as I said. But fundamentally, I, I prided myself on having an amazing team and knowing amazing people that allowed me to say to people, This is what you think is going on. But you need to understand what’s actually going on and why.

00:06:59:22 – 00:07:11:22
Rob Campbell
And maybe just then you’ll start to understand that the view you had is more prejudice than truth. And maybe moves the way forward. And yeah, that’s probably the thing that and the private stuff.

00:07:12:23 – 00:07:23:22
Philippa White
And so what can you give an example of what perhaps and what what was something that you created when you were there that you think, well, you know what, that’s exactly what I wasn’t meant to do.

00:07:24:04 – 00:07:58:07
Rob Campbell
One of the things that I always was really proud of was when the tiger mom phrase was banded about which basically a lot of Westerners used as Chinese mothers who are almost the way possession son was almost like this hard, heartless, vicious utterly focused on the child’s and unquestionable success. It was almost like the way it was presented in the West was very, very brutal, quite frankly.

00:07:58:07 – 00:08:18:24
Rob Campbell
Yeah. And I was doing some work for PG for the Olympics at Wayne County, and I remember writing this one thing, which was it was, to be honest, it was the start, the brief, but it went through everyone at my company and at P&G just to put the context, and I exaggerated it slightly to reflect. But it was in the West.

00:08:18:24 – 00:08:37:16
Rob Campbell
If you have a child like sport, then you might drop them off on a Saturday at 9 a.m. and pick them up 3 hours later. But in China, if the government believes that your child has athletic ability, you might drop them off at 9 a.m. on a Saturday and not be able to pick them up for three years later.

00:08:37:16 – 00:08:59:08
Rob Campbell
And it was about and it was about the ultimate sacrifice of love, you know? I mean, yeah, yeah, you’re so quick to judge people, but the sacrifice that mothers make is incredible. Yeah. And so, yeah, you start off a journey. We did some stuff. But yeah, it’s I take great. Yeah. Great love for that country.

00:09:00:09 – 00:09:06:12
Philippa White
Yeah. And tell me why can you give one example of why you were called an asshole by one of those three people?

00:09:06:18 – 00:09:23:13
Rob Campbell
Oh, yeah, because I just didn’t agree. I mean, it’s like and then not not really a rude prick or something like that, but it’s just like, you know, I remember Dan was in China and he was saying some stuff about China. I just think then you’re absolutely wrong. And he wasn’t being a it when he said that’s all it was.

00:09:23:13 – 00:09:24:08
Rob Campbell
Certainly wasn’t like.

00:09:24:13 – 00:09:25:18
Philippa White
I know, of course.

00:09:25:18 – 00:09:53:08
Rob Campbell
I mean, maybe one of the other it was. But yeah, it was just like yeah. And also I think I remember he asked me if I’d ever want to move to Portland. My response wasn’t what he wanted, and he just goes, I should fire your ass. But it’s always been about I mean, from my perspective, hopefully I, I’d like us all to kind of win better and I is a pretty weird story.

00:09:53:08 – 00:10:09:20
Rob Campbell
So I move to Australia chasing after a woman I’ve met in England who I thought I couldn’t live without, which she could live without me. And then I learned that I could live with her as well. But by the by. But in one of the few days where we got on, I remember we went to this boundaries course.

00:10:09:21 – 00:10:31:20
Rob Campbell
I was going, Oh, I don’t want to go to a boundary schools, but it was really powerful because I remember the first thing that they said was, how many times have you said yes to something you didn’t want to do? And we often talk about that in terms of politeness. And I’m a big believer in also, you know, building credit and and showing you care by caring about something somebody else cares about rather than just you.

00:10:32:01 – 00:10:44:16
Rob Campbell
But quite often we do that for people that we don’t really care about and see that about us. So for me it was quite liberating to just go, Oh, actually now I actually can say now I’ve got a different point of view on this. Can we talk about it?

00:10:45:18 – 00:10:46:00
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:10:46:07 – 00:11:04:18
Rob Campbell
And over the years, I mean, when I was younger, I was I was pretty bull in a china shop. And now I’ve learned how to phrase questions in ways that allow people to express how they feel without judgment. Whereas in the past I probably was terrible at that.

00:11:05:21 – 00:11:06:01
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:11:06:04 – 00:11:22:20
Rob Campbell
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s been amazing seeing my, my father do all that and all that stuff. It’s been. Yeah, yeah. I hope, I hope they’re proud of me. We’ll see. They certainly will be proud of everything. But hopefully overall.

00:11:22:20 – 00:11:26:10
Philippa White
I’m sure they’re proud of you. They are definitely proud of you. You’re doing some great stuff.

00:11:26:14 – 00:11:26:19
Rob Campbell
Yeah.

00:11:26:19 – 00:11:49:20
Philippa White
You know, listen, COVID, COVID has certainly put a spanner in the works for many people and many companies, and Ty is no exception. This is by far been the worst thing to ever happen to us. But in the same breath, I can say it’s also been without question, the best thing to ever happen to us, this moment of COVID.

00:11:49:20 – 00:12:09:00
Philippa White
And we often with time, we often talk about necessity being the mother of invention, the obstacle being the way and in every challenge there is an opportunity is as clich√© as all of that is. It’s there’s just so much truth to that. And we really are a perfect example of that. And I just wanted to know, perhaps you can tell us your COVID story.

00:12:09:00 – 00:12:17:17
Philippa White
I’ve followed your story a lot. I know a lot of people listening to this probably have as well. Can you bring this and your thoughts around all of this to life a little bit for us?

00:12:18:00 – 00:12:43:02
Rob Campbell
Yeah, sure. I mean, I’ll caveat with saying that my situation is very privileged and the fact that I know there’s lots of people and lots of my friends who’ve had a horrific time and I’m very, very aware of that. From a purely, purely personal perspective, 2020 has been one of the best years of my life. And within that I got made redundant.

00:12:43:02 – 00:13:04:22
Rob Campbell
And yet I’m in a very fortunate position of my age. What we’ve been able to build up and say, you know, I’m we had we lived in a house in London with admittedly a postal sized backyard, but it’s a dump site bigger than most people have. And it’s the first time I was ever able to spend as much time with my family.

00:13:05:09 – 00:13:28:24
Rob Campbell
I certainly never had breakfast and dinner with them as much as I have. It’s the longest I’ve not been on a plane for 17 years and I suppose when I got made redundant on one side it was like, Well, it’s happening to everyone. So I was like, okay, but the thing that was really important to me was to own it rather than to be ashamed of it.

00:13:29:18 – 00:14:03:10
Rob Campbell
And it came about because an incredible gentleman I spoke to the day before, he is his reputation is extraordinary. And he’d gone through a redundancy, but he didn’t really could tell people about it. And I, I felt for him and I was like, well, I’m going to try and remove any element of stigma attached to it. So I, I, and I, you know, the doubt or maybe I was very clear, I thanked my company for what they did because I appreciate what they did.

00:14:03:10 – 00:14:15:06
Rob Campbell
They gave me an amazing chance to come back to England after 25 years. They gave me an amazing team. We got to do some stuff. But also the other side is how on earth am I going to get another job if people don’t know if I’ve lost my job?

00:14:16:11 – 00:14:16:19
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:14:17:11 – 00:14:45:20
Rob Campbell
And then within that I, I’ve always had quite an entrepreneurial spirit with side projects and a number of the people I had done side projects for and immediately said, well, we would like to more formally do this relationship. So our income was sorted very quickly and I’m hugely fortunate and, and it allowed us to look at this time very differently.

00:14:45:20 – 00:15:11:13
Rob Campbell
We bought a house and we were excited. It didn’t Roberts have any of that enjoyment now I abso really appreciate it. As I said, that is a very privileged position and know one of the things I’ve tried to do with the projects that I’ve been working on is bring people in who I know, where legally I’m allowed to be engaged in stuff because I want to kind of share that.

00:15:12:00 – 00:15:22:21
Rob Campbell
But we what I’ve also found interesting with 2020 my, my best friend, so I’ve known his for days younger than me and I’ve known him since the day he was born.

00:15:23:07 – 00:15:24:15
Philippa White
And Paul.

00:15:24:20 – 00:15:52:18
Rob Campbell
Yeah. Paul, I. Yeah, I love him. I love him. So he he now because my parents have died, he has no me longer than any other person on this planet. And he’s a print worker, a job he hated for 26 years. He hated it. And and I hope his boss overhears this thing because his boss treated him like shit and I really hate myself.

00:15:53:17 – 00:16:14:19
Rob Campbell
But when we lived in America with that, we got we flew them out. Join us because in all the years I lived in China, Paul never came to see me in America. He was there like in shops like you get. Anyway, he talked about wanting to do this like cotton cart business and we kind of bullied him in with love into doing it.

00:16:15:06 – 00:16:35:22
Rob Campbell
Anyway, he got laid on to furlough and then when he got called back in he goes, I don’t want to do this anymore. And that was actually the trigger for him to go full time with the coffee business. That is great. Frothy Coffee Man in Nottingham. Gin Derby is amazing, but it’s like seeing that and seeing the pride he has in it.

00:16:36:10 – 00:17:03:05
Rob Campbell
And just a is honestly just happy is he? He’s a better marketer than most people would ever with that title achieved. But he’s had and and the problem with COVID is that I think it’s obviously disrupted so many lives. There is a positive there’s a lot of people starting to question what are they working for, but what are they working towards?

00:17:04:12 – 00:17:37:23
Rob Campbell
And in a weird way for me to spend so much time with my family and still do creative projects with people, I just would never have dreamt I could ever get to work with. That’s kind of what I’ve been working for, and it’s ironic. It’s come through the worst of times. Yeah, but partly it’s also been about not pivoting and all this bullshit business language journey out, but it’s also been about I know what I’m good at and maybe it’s I’ve found different ways to express that rather than changing who I am.

00:17:37:23 – 00:17:51:01
Rob Campbell
Yeah, but it’s been well it’s been one. Yeah. As I said, one of the best years of my life and I and I don’t see that with any attempt to like bring it up. It truly has.

00:17:52:12 – 00:18:03:22
Philippa White
Yeah. Amazing. Now, I remember you also telling me a story once about the biggest thing that has happened to you in five years. And I wonder, can you tell us what happened and how it changed your perspective on things?

00:18:04:11 – 00:18:48:15
Rob Campbell
Well, I mean, there’s there’s lots of things that have happened to me, but one of the biggest, biggest things was when I was in America. And I got to work with three African-American women, Maya, three, and Chelsea, and they fundamentally changed my life. And at that point, I was, what, 47? Yeah. And they fundamentally changed my life because they how well they were because I lived in so many countries, I thought I kind of understood nuances of culture and I do.

00:18:48:15 – 00:19:17:01
Rob Campbell
I mean, it’s not like I’m ignorant to it. But when you went to America, I realized one, I was naive in a lot of things, but to just how I was complicit in something I’m so vehemently against, which obviously is racism, prejudice. I, I got brought up in the most liberal house you could. I mean, when you have a barrister who specializes in basically human rights and ethics, I know that, you know you’re going to grow up with that.

00:19:18:18 – 00:19:45:22
Rob Campbell
And then I because of the generosity of these three women, they helped me. They helped me realize that not being racist was nowhere near enough. And they and they continue to be just amazing people in my life. And I have felt part of it is because I have a young I’m really came to the party of being a parent so old.

00:19:46:05 – 00:20:13:11
Rob Campbell
Oh, my God. But like she was, I think. But the other part is because I have a young son, I want him to look at me as someone who realizes you have to fight for change, not just go. I don’t want people to keep doing things that are bad. And yeah, I’ve been I feel I’ve got to make up for a huge amount of lost and wasted time.

00:20:13:11 – 00:20:33:22
Rob Campbell
Again, just to be very clear, it’s not that I was ever racist or prejudiced by a defined aspect, but by not standing up as strongly as I probably could have, definitely should have. I was complicit in some of the things that have been going on, and I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to let that happen. And I.

00:20:34:08 – 00:20:34:14
Rob Campbell
Yeah.

00:20:34:15 – 00:20:45:04
Philippa White
And and how how did they, how did they get you seeing things in a different way. What did they do that inspired you?

00:20:46:01 – 00:21:07:09
Rob Campbell
So when I start new jobs and I’m going to start a new job soon, so they’re going to have a horrific time with this. And I like just spending a lot of time getting to know the character of people. And what was really interesting with Maya sounds like she’s been real. She’s been quite standoffish to me, and I found that really bizarre.

00:21:07:09 – 00:21:39:10
Rob Campbell
Like, I’m her boss. I come from all over the world. I’m not married and I just laugh. And then somehow it is all this is my ego that’s causing this is not her. It’s my ego, you know, it’s like I have to earn the trust and I’m expecting it. And and then I’m quite frankly, it was just about being interested because I was genuinely interested and I wanted my my job is to help the people who work for me achieve more than they thought they could.

00:21:39:10 – 00:22:06:06
Rob Campbell
Doing that is my job to give them a space to be vulnerable and creative and authentic. And if you’re an African American in America or even African, but if you’re a person of color anywhere in the world, you have to adapt to the majority culture to stand a chance of anything. You have to work harder to be paid lower.

00:22:06:20 – 00:22:20:14
Rob Campbell
And I find that absolutely horrific. And I’m far more aware of these situations. And I will do all I can to counter that because it was never my intent. But I must have been complicit in my abandonment.

00:22:21:20 – 00:22:24:03
Philippa White
And do they know that you had said they had such an impact?

00:22:24:05 – 00:22:46:20
Rob Campbell
I mean, I have you. Yeah, I did some work in Brixton finishing school, which is a creative school here in London. And I mean, the most impressive thing about me talking about them right now is that I haven’t cried because normally I cry, but I talk about them and it’s cry because I’m just so. But they make me I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

00:22:47:01 – 00:23:00:07
Rob Campbell
And it’s just not because I think the world I yeah, they fundamentally change my life. I absolutely impact is total and sustained or amazing.

00:23:01:01 – 00:23:25:05
Philippa White
Now today we are launching our first project with the TIE accelerator program and your friend Jason Oke is taking part, which is super exciting. And for those of you who are listening that don’t know our TIE accelerator program allows people to raise their game by using their skills to impact the world. And they change their perspective by seeing the world in a completely different light, seeing the power of what they know.

00:23:25:13 – 00:23:48:21
Philippa White
And the results have been pretty extraordinary. The TIE accelerator program specifically is a six. A virtual six week program takes 2 hours a day. You can do it from home. It’s CPD accredited, and this particular project will be working to support an organization in Syria and Iraq that provides hope and a future for people who are impacted by torture, war and terror.

00:23:48:21 – 00:24:04:00
Philippa White
So it’s an amazing organization. Now, I know that you’re a fan of TIE in the program, and I just wondered, do you have anything that you maybe want to share with our listeners about it, particularly for people wondering if they should get involved? Just keen to know your thoughts?

00:24:04:00 – 00:24:30:10
Rob Campbell
I mean, I think that the people I’ve met in my life who have been the most interesting, intriguing and quite often more successful, have been the ones who’ve been raised learning on a constant basis. And when you get to a certain age, you can you can feel a bit intimidated by that because you can go, Wow, I don’t I don’t know things as much more.

00:24:30:15 – 00:24:44:14
Rob Campbell
So you stick with what you know. My mum, my mum used to always say care about what others care about and you’ll basically get paid in the in knowledge and awareness. And I think what TIE.

00:24:45:01 – 00:24:45:09
Philippa White
I like.

00:24:45:09 – 00:25:14:07
Rob Campbell
To TIE for me does is you’re able to use your talent in ways you didn’t imagine, which is just amble believably rewarding. But, and this is a bit that people only find out at the end, the experience that they’ve had actually teaches them a whole lot of other things about how that talent can be evolved, developed or grown because it opens doors to things you might not have seen before.

00:25:14:18 – 00:25:28:05
Rob Campbell
And I think when we first met and you told me about it, I was like, Oh, and then we have all these mutual friends, which is also bizarre, but like as we chat, you know, we know every wanting to say, I.

00:25:28:05 – 00:25:31:17
Philippa White
Would not make it go. Yeah, exactly. How is this?

00:25:32:00 – 00:25:47:18
Rob Campbell
I just think it’s a phenomenal aspect because a lot of people look into it thinking, what can I do to help? And they do it for all the right reasons. But I don’t know if they really realize till the end is just how much they grow because of that an area they.

00:25:47:18 – 00:25:48:23
Philippa White
Can grow totally.

00:25:48:24 – 00:26:14:00
Rob Campbell
In, areas that will actually have huge professional value in it. Like for me, not in the sense when I went to China, I mean, China was the first country I’ve ever lived in where literally I was a true, very privileged but true minority. And I did a presentation in Australia which was basically called You don’t have to be a save a masochist to live in China, but it helps.

00:26:14:06 – 00:26:45:14
Rob Campbell
But it was all about how I’d grown as a human and all the things I learned and the values that I now bring into my job with the people I work in. And the way I work with clients is directly because I put myself in that situation. I went in thinking when I came out going, I’ve had to relearn normal, my normal to such an extent that it’s had an incredible impact and the Tide and TIE allows you to do that without necessarily having to do such a huge move.

00:26:45:15 – 00:26:47:01
Rob Campbell
Well, that’s fantastic.

00:26:47:06 – 00:26:56:18
Philippa White
Yeah. Yeah, amazing. Actually, it’s just interesting listening to you talk because I finished my business degree in TIEland.

00:26:56:18 – 00:26:57:01
Rob Campbell
Right.

00:26:57:13 – 00:27:17:22
Philippa White
And I lived in Bangkok for six months and I traveled a lot. I mean, having been born in South Africa, I’d been to around Africa, a couple of countries around Africa. Of course I lived in Canada, but I went to Europe visiting family in the UK but also travels around Europe. So I’d been lucky enough to have exposure to different places, but I’d never been to Asia before.

00:27:18:12 – 00:27:52:01
Philippa White
And Asia. Oh my God. The only way I explained it was that it turned everything that I assumed as being sort of the way that things are done and just turned it on my head. And it was just extraordinary because it’s so funny how it’s so easy for us to just assume that the way that we do things or the way that things are done are just the way that things are done and the way and when I actually was funny because when I got to to Bangkok, it was in 2001, but it was like a sort of January 2001.

00:27:52:01 – 00:28:21:06
Philippa White
So we had just gone through the year 2000 kind of Nostradamus has said that the whole world is going to end in the year 2000. You know, obviously there the computer thing, but it was more than that. I mean, it was sort of this, oh my God, what is going to happen in the year 2000? And and I remember arriving in Bangkok and still being a little bit kind of I don’t know, overwhelmed, I guess, by this this sort of crazy thing that, okay, the year 2000 is now finished.

00:28:21:06 – 00:28:37:21
Philippa White
It’s the year to tell, gosh, okay, we’ve all survived. And I remember getting there and talking to people at my university and saying, yes, I mean, it was it was kind of crazy, isn’t it, this whole sort of year 2000 thing. And they said, yeah, it’s just, you know, it’s not the year 2000 here. And I say, What are you talking about then?

00:28:38:04 – 00:29:02:21
Philippa White
You know, we use a completely different calendar. It’s like it’s not the year 2000. Yeah, I thought, why that. What. Hold what. This is insane. And it’s I mean, then you sort of stop and think, of course, you know, the Buddhist calendar, the Jewish calendar, the, you know, how is it that we in the West honestly believe that the world revolves around our calendar, like just before it just suddenly threw it all of that out for me.

00:29:02:21 – 00:29:09:12
Philippa White
And I thought, Oh my God, I am such like it’s so arrogant for us to assume that everything just, you know.

00:29:09:14 – 00:29:32:07
Rob Campbell
It’s all so unlike when people are used to tell people that China only has one time zone and people can really like yeah. And they would, they would find that so confusing. I guess when it’s a communist country, of course it does, you know, and people. All right. And then again, those weird laws I was doing this campaign for Gap.

00:29:32:10 – 00:29:49:12
Rob Campbell
I think we’re in the US but the China and they were they rang me to see if these ads they had would work. I can’t remember all the details of such a long time ago, but it was about a time machine or something. And I said, Oh, you know, we’re allowed to go back in time. You’re not allowed to do stuff that goes back in time.

00:29:49:12 – 00:30:08:19
Rob Campbell
I’m I got the wrong. But I think they said, no, no, you can only go one way. And that’s a legal aspect because I think we go, yeah, and it’s just like there’s some, there’s some weird laws in China. There is this weird law that you can observe. So the law is in a public toilet. And I love the idea that there is like that is against the law.

00:30:08:20 – 00:30:45:09
Rob Campbell
There were three flies there, so there’s woman but then I would say to the 5000 year old culture, like it’s like, what would you mean? It’s like and people forget all this stuff and they forget how there are threads that bring cultures through. And I, I, the thing I loved so much about being that is having to reload what a value system was, understand what filial responsibility was, and have all the prejudices and how culturally influencing my mind slowly one by one destroyed.

00:30:45:15 – 00:31:02:10
Rob Campbell
So and for example, when people talk about China as polluting the world go well and once again, yes, it’s still, you know, far less than America has been given the length of time America was number one. But also, China is the biggest investor in green tech because they don’t want a polluted world. It’s not like they want it.

00:31:02:10 – 00:31:20:09
Rob Campbell
They’re absolutely trying to do it. And it’s people just like do what’s the top headline? But when you get to these other countries, you go, Oh yeah, in Japan I’ve got to live. So in Japan, my wife and I were just walking around and we found this guy who was a coma master and there were like these eight.

00:31:20:19 – 00:31:22:09
Philippa White
Eight and what master.

00:31:22:23 – 00:31:24:09
Rob Campbell
Code, master and.

00:31:25:03 – 00:31:26:09
Philippa White
Master and right.

00:31:27:02 – 00:31:44:07
Rob Campbell
Hand carving out of words, sending down codes, and then when they finish the go and hand it to this guy who’d run it down his bags now to put it in this basket for finished or just shake his hand and give it back to them. And I’m ongoing. That’s amazing. You know, and.

00:31:44:07 – 00:31:46:19
Philippa White
It’s that is amazing. Yeah.

00:31:47:14 – 00:31:57:19
Rob Campbell
It’s such there’s such a richness and that’s but you only do it if you’re exposed to it. You’re reading about it. It’s not exactly. You have to be in it now.

00:31:58:18 – 00:32:15:09
Philippa White
Totally, totally, totally. I obviously couldn’t agree more. Now, listen, you are such a busy guy and every time I talk to you, you’re up to something different or have another extraordinary story to tell. Tell me, what are you working on at the moment or what exciting plans do you have in the pipeline that you want to share with our listeners?

00:32:15:09 – 00:32:21:06
Philippa White
You mentioned about starting a new job. What’s what’s the what’s what’s your next adventure?

00:32:21:15 – 00:32:46:03
Rob Campbell
At the moment? I’m just doing a range of weird, wonderful stuff, quite frankly. And then we were really quite happy about doing a lot. As I said, we just literally just bought this house. And then one of my favorite companies on the planet, a company called Comenzo, who I almost lived in about five years ago, rang me. And what’s ironic about that is five years ago I almost joined.

00:32:46:10 – 00:33:13:23
Rob Campbell
I said to my wife, I just five years too soon, just five years too soon. And then almost to the day they rang me and my wife’s Australian and you know, so there is this thing where I go, well, I love them. My wife could be closer to her mum for a while and our son could grow up in a place that I think is one of the most beautiful, culturally embracing places on earth, which is in New Zealand.

00:33:14:12 – 00:33:19:04
Rob Campbell
So February-March, we’re going to go over there, keep the adventure going.

00:33:19:23 – 00:33:20:16
Philippa White
Amazing.

00:33:21:08 – 00:33:45:09
Rob Campbell
Amazing. Excited about it. Our cat is now cats. Singapore Street Cat. This will be her sixth country in 13 years. So she she so happy it’s like yeah we’re like the me I’ve never really had a career plan. I’ve kind of just gone where I’ve been intrigued, which is why I’ve ended up in all these different places. And this is another one I love.

00:33:45:16 – 00:33:57:11
Rob Campbell
I love how they do things in the world I’m looking to learn and hopefully, you know, make them be even better once I’ve spent time there. But yeah, we’re super excited about yeah, yeah.

00:33:57:21 – 00:34:19:17
Philippa White
That’s amazing. And talking. I mean, it’s just embracing new things and, you know, pushing yourself and looking for opportunities. And honestly, I just I believe in that and I know that this moment has been really difficult for a lot of people. I mean, a lot of people. But I there’s always a silver lining. And I do think that the importance with any difficult time, you’ve got to find it.

00:34:19:17 – 00:34:33:21
Philippa White
You got to look for it because it’s there and and, you know, follow that to be able to find interesting opportunities. And I, you know, doors close, but other doors open and how exciting. I mean, you’re you know, I mean.

00:34:34:16 – 00:34:59:15
Rob Campbell
This has happened to me twice now. The first time I was living in Australia, I had 20 working days to go to a job where I’d be kicked out. It was it was horrific. I was looking after my parents because my dad had had a stroke and my mum wasn’t working, so I was there. And what that led to was 16 years of the most creatively and culturally thrilling time of my life.

00:35:00:08 – 00:35:21:04
Rob Campbell
So when I got made redundant again, naively, I went, Well, maybe lightning strikes twice. Forget the fact that I’m old, you know, and my attitude. And it’s easier for us because we’ve done this a lot. And but my future has been if you’re open to everything, anything can happen. Basically.

00:35:21:14 – 00:35:24:05
Philippa White
I totally agree. That’s such a great.

00:35:24:09 – 00:35:53:02
Rob Campbell
I appreciate that. Amazing a lot of people but it might not be like there’s there’s also a friend of mine’s going to come to call gap jumpers, which is like this weird recruitment company that wants to help people with really good skills in one industry get jobs in others. Like there are people out. Yeah, but yeah, for us it’s been I’m very fortunate that I’m I’m wildly immature and very stubborn and at the same time.

00:35:53:14 – 00:36:17:09
Rob Campbell
And so it’s like for me it was like when that happened and I got all these things I loved all the projects that I do. I loved working with kind of weird, weird people. And yeah, kilonzo are beautifully ridiculous. And so I’m looking forward to but being my home amazing.

00:36:17:10 – 00:36:35:18
Philippa White
Well, I’m so excited for you. I look forward to following your stories and your blog makes me laugh. I love you so yeah, I’m. Look, although it’s sad that I probably won’t see you for the amount of time that you’re busy. At least I don’t think I’ll be going to the mainland anytime soon. But it’s. But I. Yeah, I will.

00:36:35:18 – 00:36:39:11
Philippa White
Of course, follow you closely through our social network.

00:36:40:03 – 00:36:57:06
Rob Campbell
I mean, what you’re doing is amazing, good. And I think anyone that does it well, the fact that everyone that does it feels it changed. Changed where? That road in life, when is the greatest testimony to what you and Ty do? So and the more we do that.

00:36:57:06 – 00:36:58:13
Philippa White
Thank you. Thank you.

00:36:58:14 – 00:37:19:02
Rob Campbell
The more actually the more different roads we can go down. And at the end of the day, for me anyway, I like the idea of being old and going, Oh yeah, you cheeky buggy, you did that. And that comes from the experiences you have. So the more you embrace things that you might not be comfortable with, the more comfortable you’ll be with what the possibilities could be.

00:37:20:15 – 00:37:48:22
Philippa White
Totally and embrace. Actually, again, I tend to be quoting Sir John Hegarty the entire time of the podcast, but he does have some great nuggets of just ways to live your life. And he talks about expand the power of expanding your personal circle and just this conversation with you today, basically just how, you know, as I’m thinking through everything we’ve talked about, basically it’s that it’s just talking about the power of how, you know, amazing it is when you expand your personal circle and what what.

00:37:48:22 – 00:38:15:17
Rob Campbell
Comes out of that. That’s totally I mean, without doubt the fact because I’ve lived I’ve been fortunate to live and work all around the world, the people I know is it’s I mean, honestly, it’s kind of I’m a I’m a bloke from Nottingham that didn’t go to university because of rubbish at school and I’m going to graft, but I love meeting people who are really interesting.

00:38:15:18 – 00:38:40:20
Rob Campbell
You know, one of the people I worked with in China, you know, he’s he’s a he’s a an eccentric billionaire, but an amazing entrepreneur. And I helped him on this thing. He’s built ways like this luxury fashion mall that is all been designed to look like models, because his attitude was, that’s why you need to do something. It’s just to be better then everything else escapes.

00:38:40:20 – 00:39:09:00
Rob Campbell
It’s It’s an incredible like it’s got robot sheep because that’s what farming will be is incredible. And for me and I still work with him to go from that to these musicians who are classic musicians and all the best in worst ways like that all came about because I just was lucky that I expanded personal circle. Yeah, that’s that’s, you know, that’s like you didn’t have exactly.

00:39:09:12 – 00:39:20:19
Philippa White
Robb, listen, it’s so nice to connect with you. Thank you for taking your time to talk to me. I love our conversations. Thank you for joining this podcast and yeah, have a good year Monday.

00:39:20:19 – 00:39:24:03
Rob Campbell
So much and I hope I do see you whether in New Zealand or in Brazil.

00:39:24:19 – 00:39:25:11
Philippa White
I mean to.

00:39:25:11 – 00:39:26:14
Rob Campbell
Brazil, yes.

00:39:26:16 – 00:39:30:13
Philippa White
Right. Perfect. Once all of this comes that you’ve got you’ve got it embedded with the legend.

00:39:30:17 – 00:39:31:19
Rob Campbell
Thank you so much.

00:39:32:19 – 00:40:11:04
Philippa White
Take care. Thanks, Rob. Take care. Bye.

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