Dylan Pugh: rugby player to global exec at Spotify
Dylan Pugh has worked in the digital media and technology world for the past 14 years. He is currently driving global partnerships with the world's leading brands and agencies at Spotify, having worked with the likes of Zynga and PlayStation previously. Prior to working in media, Dylan had a professional rugby career at Bath, Neath and London Welsh.
GlobalWelsh caught up with Dylan to see what makes him tick.
You are Global Agency Lead for Spotify - what does this involve and what does a typical day look like?
My role is to create global partnerships with the world's leading brands and agencies, to help monetise Spotify's free tier. As it's a global role, I deal with our teams in every market from Australia to the US, so my days often start very early in the morning and end late at night. Most days are spent either in Google Hangouts with colleagues from other markets, or out seeing clients in London
What's the journey been for you from Wales to your current role?
I started my adult life off as a professional rugby player and moved to London through that, when I signed for London Welsh from Neath. Whilst at London Welsh, I played golf with a guy that owned an advertising company and he offered me a job. Then I worked my way up in that industry, joining Spotify four years ago. My Welsh characteristics and traits have helped me a lot to get to where I am today actually...
When I joined London Welsh from Neath, I went from a very down to earth environment to one that was quite affluent, middle-class and very different to my upbringing. But I tried not to change who I was - and my character added a new dimension to the team - which made me popular and got the respect of the team.
Liking a sing-song was important to build my character. It helped people think I was a "good bloke" and people are more likely to take a punt on someone that they like, who has a good personality. I actually sang the Welsh national anthem on my first day at Spotify to about 50 Americans in New Jersey...true story!
I have to do a lot of presentations/keynotes at work and I am confident with public speaking. I put this down to the fact that I was in the Eisteddfod from an early age and therefore having to perform in front of crowds.
What advice would you give Welsh people looking for an opportunity with a big global brand like Spotify?
Be confident in yourself and proud to come from Wales. Most people see that as a refreshing change and it can act as a good point of difference or ice-breaker. People literally have zero negative assumptions or perceptions when you say you come from Wales, but Welsh people can sometimes assume that they might and therefore act less confidently.
Do you think you would ever return to Wales and what do you miss about it?
IAt this stage, it's not looking likely that we will move back to Wales. We have settled where we live but we have moved to the outskirts of London, down the M4, so it's easier to get home! The thing I miss the most is speaking Welsh - I only get to do that when I speak to my parents or come home. That's why I love going to London Welsh RFC - as there's a lot of Welsh speakers there and it is such a hidden gem - a stereotypical Welsh community in the heart of West London.
Why did you join the GlobalWelsh community and what initiatives or programmes would you like to see?
I joined because I want to give something back and to promote Wales to the wider world. If there's any young entrepreneurs with business ideas in Wales, I would love to help them by either being a mentor, giving some advice, connect them to people I know that could help them etc In terms of initiatives, I would like to see a forum for budding new entrepreneurs from Wales to tap into the GlobalWelsh network for help with their business or idea.
Wales faces a tough challenge in the next few years - are you optimistic or worried about it?
I feel that people from Wales would often take the attitude that "only people in London get the big breaks" and therefore not go the extra mile, not really believe in themselves or not really take the initiative themselves. So I would advise young people in Wales to not just sit around feeling sorry for themselves and bemoan the situation they are in - but take the initiative, make shit happen and be productive with your downtime.
If you have an area that you’re passionate about, research it and be as educated as you can about it. We'd love to start up an awards initiative to recognise Welsh people doing legendary things and making a mark around the world. Also...
"be confident and believe in yourself. The fact that you come from Wales is a benefit, not a hindrance..."
Dylan Pugh has worked in the digital media and technology world for the past 14 years. He is currently driving global partnerships with the world's leading brands and agencies at online music platform Spotify, having worked with the likes of Zynga and PlayStation in the past. Prior to working in media, he had a professional rugby career at Bath, Neath and London Welsh.
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