Cannes Lions 2014: ‘You can build mediocrity easily; excellence takes time’: Ben Jones, AKQA

Hiring senior developers in India, looks to scale by 2015; creative team in ‘next phase’ to fuel full service ambition

Jun 20, 2014 04:08:00 AM | Article | Gokul Krishnamurthy

The 1,600-strong team at AKQA is growing. The tech-meets-creativity solutions shop that was acquired by WPP in 2012 is looking to grow its currently ‘small’ India presence and hiring talent. The agency forayed into Brazil earlier this year.
Speaking with Campaign India on the sidelines of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Ben Jones, chief technology officer, said, “We are already in India. It’s a small team now, but we have big, ambitious plans. We’re about creativity through software, not just dreams. The type of people we’re hiring are the best of the best. It’s not about scale for us, it’s about engineering excellence.”
The agency is currently hiring senior developers, in what Jones terms ‘phase one’ of its entry plan. The current team is working on a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for client Adobe. There have been queries for a full service offering from clients, notes the technology head. He added that in the ‘next phase’ of growth, the agency would look at adding creative talent, to offer the full suite of services as it does across the world.
On the quality of engineers in India, Jones said, “When in Gurgaon, a client representative wanted to come and meet the team. He said, ‘You have such an incredible team’. The skills in India are phenomenal. It’s all about picking the right people. They are no different from our best people in any other market in many ways; only more diligent with great attention to detail.”
Without putting a number to the Indian team, he added, “Currently it is a small number. But by next year it will be sizeable. Finding the right talent isn’t easy. You can build mediocrity easily; excellence takes time.”
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