Image credit: Phil Gonzalez by Rodrigo Rivas
We’re delighted to bring you this series of interviews with the Head On Photo Awards judges. Today we hear from Phil Gonzalez in Madrid. Phil is a digital consultant, conference speaker, author of five books about social media and Instagram, and the founder the Instagramers Network, the world’s largest Instagram community EVER!!
Please tell us a bit about yourself – who are you and what do you do?
I´m French, born in Paris, from an emigrant Spanish family. After studying in France at a Business School, I decided to come back to my roots, so twenty years ago I moved to Madrid. After several years managing start-ups and digital strategies for large companies, I´m now a digital consultant, conference speaker and influencer. I´ve also worked for 8 years as Head of Digital at Amc Networks International (Iberia and Latin America), which is a leading broadcaster of television channels and producer of series like ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Walking Dead’
In 2010, I started a blog called www.Instagramers.com and founded the Instagramers Network, the most important Instagram fans’ association in the world to date. Instagramers or IGers is nowadays a congregation of millions of members in more than 80 countries.
As part of my social media development, I´m Brand Ambassador of AC Hotels (Marriott), Heineken and Leica in Spain and have organized hundreds of influencer activations since 2010. I´m the author of five books, three of them about Instagram and the others about "Executive Mindfulness" and "Digital Disconnection". I like photography of course, but also all forms of art. I´ve painted black and white canvases for many years and enjoy entertaining as a DJ on the side on weekends.
Can you give an overview of one of your typical workdays?
Since I left my big corporate jobs, I try and enjoy my freedom and my agenda´s flexibility. I usually wake up and go for a run two or three mornings a week and then start with my mentoring sessions with Spanish companies that are evolving their digital transformation strategies. I help them define their goals and improve their business' digital side. I also spend some time on Instagram, of course, and coordinate this great family, this community called Instagramers (@igers is the handle on Instagram). I like to hang out with my friends and always try to go to sleep feeling happy with my day. I used to travel a lot all over the world with my job as a digital manager (U.S.A and Latin America) and as an influencer. With the pandemic though, I´m enjoying mostly Spanish destinations that are close and so amazing.
What skills are required or personal attributes essential for success in your position?
I think the main skill for future generations in this line of work will be emotional intelligence. In a world evolving to automatism, robots and Artificial Intelligence, emotional intelligence and human creativity will always remain as a differential of value in organizations. Since a small boy, I´ve always been very concerned with making people happy. What makes me feel better is to help people enjoy their jobs and projects. As a manager, I´ve always considered myself a helper to find a solution or a way forward, a friend more than a boss, a problem solver, a team animator, a connection maker, or simply a shoulder to cry on.
What parts of your job do you find most challenging? Enjoyable?
Sharing projects is definitely the most enjoyable side of my life. I think projects are like travels. Traveling alone is always nice but sharing trips with friends is the best. You always have someone with you who can share good memories in the future. It's the same in business or in your personal life.
Who or what should we be looking out for in the field today?
Talking about my current work, I mean Instagram, Social Networks and Tourism, I think we should be very attentive to what will happen when the pandemic slowly disappears. I think social networks (and especially Instagram) will have to front new trends of media consumption, Tik Tok and new competitors and it will be interesting to observe how influencer marketing evolves. The tourism industry is and will remain very strained by Covid for some years to come, and will have to adapt too, to new forms of travel, new travelers’ budgets, and needs. A new changing and amazing world to discover!
Thanks to Phil for this great interview. He sure brings another interesting perspective to this year's Head On Photo Awards esteemed judging panel. So go on - enter your best images into the Awards - it's your chance to get recognition and win from our amazing prize pool!! Entries close soon on 31 May so don't miss out.