Letter to My Younger Self: Jonathan Emmins, Amplify

Jonathan Emmins, founder of Amplify, writes to his hedonistic younger self and reflects on the pink mohawk he sported in 2001.

Letter to My Younger Self: Jonathan Emmins, Amplify
Letter to My Younger Self: Jonathan Emmins, Amplify

Dear 1993 Jonathan,

Let's face it, you're equal parts geek and hedonist. The good news is you're beginning to outgrow the 'school square' tag. People are coming round to the weird music you've always liked and hiding away in art class is starting to produce work you're finally proud of. Sadly, that stupid asymmetrical fringe won't be your best move, but fear not, there's a pink mohawk (2001) and a lopsided mullet (2003) to come that will render this a relatively minor style-blight.

You're working and playing hard - squeezing every drop out of life as you look for constant stimulus. Seeking and discovering. Good stuff.

Everything seems so important right now, doesn't it? It always will. When there are so many exciting choices, and a finite number of hours in the day, how do you judge and focus on what is truly important? Trust your instinct, even though it doesn't always get things right. However, when you override your instinct and do what you think is the 'sensible thing', it never works out.

Work out what you love and make a career out of it. Your love and passion for people, culture, creativity and collaboration is what drives you. It helps you overcome your shyness and becomes the guiding principle for Amplify, the agency you will set up in 2008.

Think about where you can make a difference - you can't be good at everything. Work with those who complement what you are good at, and never be threatened by people more talented than you. In early life, focus on being a creator. In later life don't stop that, but use your experience to help facilitate creativity and support other creators.

Work out what's important to you. Be a good bloke, pioneer creativity, seek collaboration and have the confidence and integrity to say no if something's not right - and never take yourself too seriously. Many of these principles are also the principles of Amplify.

Approach the world through child's eyes. Never lose your sense of play, and have fun. As you get older you'll start to think you need to be more serious and risk-adverse, with playing and fun positioned as a luxury. This is a bad thing. See the funny side, and resist conforming.

You're headstrong, so you'll be the judge if any of these thoughts serve a purpose. Regardless, when it comes to it, you'll know what's important and what's not.

Best wishes

Jonathan Emmins
Jonathan founded Amplify in 2008, before which he was director and partner at youth and student marketing agency Making Waves. Amplify has worked for a diverse range of clients, including Converse, Playstation, Innocent, Wagamama and Activision. Jonathan oversees all creative output from the 41-strong agency, as well as Amplify X, its network of more than 280 partners.

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