Let's Play: 20 Questions with Michael Manny

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It’s the height of Summer, and we’re ready to have a little fun with the blog. We’re starting a new series called “Let’s Play: 20 Questions”, where we throw Q’s at each other with zero prep time and write A’s as fast as we can. Quotes below are verbatim, so enjoy hearing our [sometimes too-real] voices. First up is our Creative Director, Michael Manny!

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

"Imaginative, stubborn, adventurous."

Biggest professional and personal pet peeve?

"Too many parts, for both."

The top source of professional inspiration?

"Comedy, comedy in general . . . I find that a lot of the gains made in the meeting room, especially when you're working to express an idea to a client come from being able to have fun doing that, and for the room to have fun can grease the wheels a lot in our business."

What have been your biggest wins and biggest misses been to date?

"Wins . . . . fatherhood. Misses . . . . fatherhood."

What/Who is your spirit animal?

"This a true story… I was told by a somewhat self-proclaimed Korean prophet on market street that my spirit was an elephant."

 What is your company culture like?

"Evolving.....it's a lot like life. We're all trying to get better, individually, and as a group, kind of like a family!  We're trying to learn each other all the time and navigate the world and lift each other up."

Is the customer always right?

"No...definitely not. If the customer was always right, we wouldn't have jobs. The point of this arrangement is to help our customer make the best-educated decisions that they can. I think they employ us to help do so much of that work that comes to making the decision and they generally like it when we influence the decision they do make in the end. They want to feel like due diligence has been done. I'd say no, and surprisingly most of our customers don't want to be right....but want help arriving at the right answer."

Words of wisdom for up-and-coming talent?

"I would say learn to speak about your ideas, and always look at the youth, and look at youth culture. Spot trends in art and communication."

Dream city to expand to first?

"LA. That's easy."

Most overrated artist of all time?

"Wow. that's a good question actually . . . . . . somebody's feelings are gonna get hurt. Let me have a couple seconds here . . . . . I'm gonna have to say U2. The band U2. I kinda have a thing about U2. Tough question though. Good question."

Who makes you laugh the hardest?

"My best friend Zack De Vincent."

Proudest moment at Harlo?

"This is pretty real, so this past year we presented a video concept to La Tortilla Factory, and it was somewhat new territory for us, we presented video scripts, with a scripted comedic approach to some video spots for them, and I was just saying last night to a coworker that walking out of that meeting was the best I've felt at Harlo...and my agency life honestly."

"Agency" word you are tired of hearing?

“Budget”?

Biggest surprise you've ever had?

"Ever? I would say when my parents moved and bought a place in California. They just called me, this was last year. They had been out here touring in an RV and just sent me a picture of a cabin...and I was blown away, I never saw it coming, then they sent me a picture of them holding the keys. It was absolutely spontaneous. I rarely get that caught off guard. It blew me away."

What are your deal breakers?

"Non-humorous pessimism, vegetarians, people who don't dance."

What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

"To not take things for granted, nothing is promised."

Who do you wish you could meet again for the first time?

"This is kinda personal, but. .I'm gonna say my dad...and just leave it at that."

Do you take work home with you?

"Oh yeah, yeah, everywhere."

Favorite news or culture blog?

"Behance, big fan of Behance, I would say it's between them and The Onion."

When were you the most star struck?

"Straight up? front row at Beyoncé. . . . I didn't expect it to feel like that."

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