Crawford Hollingworth: Breaking paradigms – Transcript

Tamara Littleton  00:12

This is the genuine humans podcast brought to you by Social Element. I’m Tamara Littleton. 

Wendy Christie  00:18

And I’m Wendy Christie.

Tamara Littleton  00:22

In our podcast, we’ll discover the stories of the leaders behind the brands and the trailblazers who are making a real difference in our industry. We’ll delve into how they got to where they are today. 

Wendy Christie  00:33

And we’ll hear about the genuine humans who supported and influenced them along the way.

Tamara Littleton  00:44

Welcome back to genuine humans. I’m here with my co-host, Wendy Christie. Wendy, how are you doing? 

Wendy Christie  00:49

Hello. Yeah, I’m good. Thank you. How are you? 

Tamara Littleton  00:52

I’m very good. And I’m also a little bit overexcited because we’re joined today by Crawford Hollingworth, who many of you will know. Crawford is a behavioural change expert and global chairman and co-founder of the behavioural architects. He has also written How Your Brain is Wired with Cathy Tomlinson, which should be on everyone’s reading list. And I’m now holding it up in front of the camera and loving it. Welcome to the podcast, Crawford.

Crawford Hollingworth  01:22

It’s very lovely to be here, Tamara and Wendy. Thank you.

Tamara Littleton  01:26

Crawford. I want to know more about what led you to write your book with Cathy. But I also want to take you back in time, I’d like to understand where did your career start. And why the interest in behavioural science? Can you start from the early days and take us through your journey?

Crawford Hollingworth  01:46

Yes, I can try and do that. I’m getting so old, I forget too much. My journey began quite a long time ago. But I guess I think that the early part of my life was what probably guided where I am now today. So, I guess, in a nutshell, my first 20 years were complicated years. And I guess that’s kind of relevant to, I think, my journey and my discovery of the kind of who I was; in fact, when you were talking to me the other day, I looked back at a school report from the third school that I was expelled from. And I was interested in the fact that they summarise me as a high IQ, low-performing, dysfunctional person. 

Tamara Littleton  02:30


Crawford Hollingworth  02:32

And I rather for that as an interesting summary, because my mother always said she was quite proud of what I’ve achieved there. So, I thought that was quite interesting. I think I think I had quite a chaotic, complicated childhood, which sort of, I think it meant I was meant to go to medical school, like my parents, who are very high-performing doctors, and kind of didn’t, and ran off to New York at the age of 18. I don’t know why New York had no reason to go to New York; it seems to be a long way away. And I guess that I began to kind of discover myself a bit that I had a very crazy, mad time, even being on the number one rated soap opera in America for a number of months.

Tamara Littleton  03:16

Wait, what?

Crawford Hollingworth  03:16

I know, I know, crazy shit, but I began to…I think something weird happened, I had a very bad brain injury when I was four, and I think my brain maybe developed a bit more, but I suddenly became kind of really interested in human behaviour in my 20s, and that led to a period of lots of psychology, and I’m not just talking therapy here, Tamara, it was doing degrees, applied social psychology, behavioural psychology and led me into my first intervention in terms of behaviour and behavioural change, which was sort of working with family therapy and working alongside Bernardo’s and developing projected techniques to try to understand dysfunction in family units and I loved it, absolutely fascinating, particularly when you’re a dysfunctional late performer – which I think I will have a T-shirt made for that. Now. I realised I didn’t. I looked at my report for a long time. And I kind of guess I kind of was interested in that world and couldn’t become an academic. And suddenly, actually, I probably could become an academic, but I probably flattering myself. 

I met quite an interesting gentleman called Paul and ended up having this weird day at an agency called Boase Massimi Pollitt, BMP and the home of planning. And suddenly, I found myself becoming a planner. at what turned out to be, I didn’t realise the most extraordinary creative agency in the world at the time – and also, I guess, the sense of 80s madness. Well, unfortunately, I think I might have developed a nickname called Bollinger, but we won’t go into that today. 

And then a few other agencies like Abbott Mead. 

And then this thing that happens to me quite a lot in my life, which is I think it really, again, one of those things, I think it’s really good to sometimes change everything. And even though it feels very scary, it’s very easy to do the same. And all through my life, I’ve sort of got a little bit off, I get a bit bored quite quickly. It’s not necessarily a good characteristic. And I got a bit bored; I was that sort of 29-year-old, I’m sorry, 1980 stereotype. I’m a 29-year-old director of an ad agency driving a 911; shoot me now. But it’s that kind of world where it was, and I decided to do something different and started talking to a few people, really interesting people, really nice guys, who were running an agency called Simons Palmer, which is a very, very successful agency for anyone old enough to remember it. 

It led to me creating my first company, which is, again, not so much about behaviour as it was about changing things. It was about disruption and about doing things differently. 

And that’s, I guess, Tamara and Wendy, that’s always kind of drove me had like vision was created because a word of research was essentially looking at trying to drive into the future using your rearview mirror. And everything was retrospective; nothing was about what was coming; it was all about analysing what had been. And it was like, come on, this is mad. And headlight vision was, as it says on the tin, it was shining; its headlights create a vision and drive change. And we all set about identifying the kind of behavioural energies, the energies that shaped you and me and helped clients connect to the energies, which are really changing the world. We live in the crazy, crazy fast energies in the late 80s and 90s. And suddenly, I found this was just such a fascinating world, we had fake popcorn, doing stuff in America, interesting people trying to say how the world is changing, and helping you as a brand change. And all the kind of cool brands wanted to be part of this. 

I look back at it. And you kind of took you for granted a bit. But people like the Sony PlayStation were new, and they were one of our first clients. And then Nike came, and I remember like, you know, going to Portland and meeting these kinds of crazy people and even Phil Knight and via those days, and we’re doing loads of interesting work for them and then sending us around the world just to watch the trends evolving. And then companies like Diageo and the big players came in. And again, what I really love about that journey, and once again, it’s really fabulous to create, I’m very lucky that I’ve had the ability to work with very talented people, but we created the first global set of CO hunters in I think it’s like 49 cities around the world, they were called global streetscapers. They looked at what was cool on the streets, what was happening, what were the trends. And remember the way we don’t have phones whenever you have phones or the computers that were developed at this stage.

I started writing a column in a magazine, which hopefully some of you know, called Dazed and Confused. And it was really cool that photographers like Rankin launched it. It was just a really interesting time to be part of the youth movement. 

Tamara Littleton  07:06

How were you finding those streets? Was it a streetscape, as you said, these people?

Crawford Hollingworth  08:53

I mean, sometimes you just find it because you look at what people write. And you find people who are kind of cultural influences, in the same way, that you might have an influence on the internet. Now you find people who know their cities have got their fingers on that proverbial pulse and everything. And again, they just see things. They see emerging patterns, emerging trends, you know, you’re sitting in a cafe in Japan, and you see streetwear changing, music tastes change in bars changing. 

One of our jobs for Diageo was to do quarterly reports on, I think, 20 cities around the world and what are the new cool bars. It was a tough world. 

And then, and then I guess I was in my mid-30s – we launched a product called Engaged which was really cool about old people over 50s not saying anything of the result anymore. And I think it was the only thing we really looked at. All these trends are the trends shaping this new world; people don’t die at 50 anymore. They live long lives. And I think we have the honour of being the first time on the front page of the Financial Times, where an article about our work talks about the increase in sex in the over 50s. I think it was the only time the word sex had been on the front page of the FT, which is very cool. We did lots of crazy interviews and then a much bigger product, which became an ancillary product that exists in good Global Behavioural Energies. It is also quantitative, it looks at those big energies, like your relationship with space, time, and people changing, and it looked how brands the kind of hooks that come out of those energies and how brands can harness those hooks to energize their change and propel them into the future. 

It was a really, really fascinating time. We grew really quickly in New York and London, where we launched it never that big, but we became quite quickly interested by the classic, you know, into Publix, Omnicom WPP and, and sold to WPP after only, I think, only four years or four and a half years. 

Tamara Littleton  11:03

Wow. Yeah. 

Crawford Hollingworth  11:04

And then had a lovely time there doing some really cool stuff again, trying to help clients look into the future and harness the future. And we merged with the Henley Center. That was one of the things we did after a few years, and then we bought an agency, Yankelovich, which is a super cool trend agency in America. 

We realised that Headlight Vision, Hanley Center, and Yankelovich was, were okay through an ad agency but not so good for your brand. So, it became The Futures Company, which you guys will probably also know, and then we became part of Kantar. 

I guess the journey for me was someone who, like, wow, that was some roller coaster ride. I’ve loved all the change and disruption things; we’ve helped brands, literally pioneer new things, new brands, new spaces, and then it will get a little bit like doing the same thing. And weird stuff happens. 

So, when you when you’ve been in the world a long time, things get a bit stale, and my head gets a bit stale. And there’s kind of like a perfect storm brewing, which was unknown to me and took me back to my kind of early days, which was that one of the things happening was everyone was getting bored with attitudinal change. We were changing attitudes all the time. And more and more behaviour wasn’t following this kind of intention/action gap was getting wider and wider and wider. And clients get more frustrated, going like, “Well, we change the attitudes, but nothing’s happening – behaviour’s not following”. 

At that same time, there was lots of about 14 years ago, there was lots of really interesting thinking coming out of MIT coming out of Harvard, about behavioural psychology, about behavioural science, about behavioural economics. And wow, suddenly, it was like there was this new sweet shop opening that says actually forget attitudes. Yeah, behaviour that we’ve all ignored. Because we don’t really understand it, we can actually now begin to find the blueprint of behaviour; we can actually begin to say like, wow, what is it that is actually causing someone to do something or not do something we can begin to almost map the brain at the same time where, you know, the kind of genome was unravelling the double helix, we’re learning more about genetics, the brain was suddenly becoming a scientific thing that was versus a clever theory, it was real knowledge about how it is structured. And if you understand the structure of something that leads to behaviour, it is incredibly empowering for them to look at how to change it. Now, I guess you know, this history a little bit, I guess, there’s a bit of a dark patch comes in my life, then. With lots of things I’ve done, there have been good patches and bad patches, classic British understatement. But my current company wasn’t so excited about what we were thinking of doing. Me and my fellow founders, Sian Davies and Sarah Davies, spent about two years on unpaid gardening leave, as you do.


Anyway, Behavioural Architects was born. And it had a really simple mission and still has a kind of that mission, which is to bring the new behavioural sciences, a new understanding of your brain, my brain, to share how these frameworks, these concepts, you know, can help anyone understand behaviour. And if you understand why someone’s doing something, you are really empowered by that blueprint to know how to change it. And even work we do these days in Google decoding decisions and the messy middle. It’s all the same, understand why someone’s doing something and that empowers you to then use these amazing concepts to nudge and steer it in different directions. And to be honest, we’ve had we’ve had one hell of a ball. I mean, it’s been a tough 12 years. 

Crawford Hollingworth  14:55

Yeah, you know, I’m not going to get political here; talk about COVID, and it’s been a bit mad. But we have been so blessed by inspirational clients and governments and people who want to do things differently and want to grasp new understanding to create real change in the world. Real change in their brands, working with Diageo, Mondelez, Google, Amazon, IKEA, and Disney. I mean, I could name 50-60 clients who have been extraordinary in supporting our 12 years in Shanghai, Sydney, Melbourne, London and a little bit in New York. And I guess that still kind of takes me in a very quick way to where I am or where I was two years ago, or three years ago, and COVID hit. And Cathy, who’s always worked really closely with me in behavioural science, just sat going, “Behavioural science has changed our lives.” It’s changed how, oh God, my daughter will kill me, but I remember my daughter once was dancing on the table in a mad crazy way when she was much younger. And I got angry, thinking she was going to fall off the table. And that’s my reaction was anger, wrongly, anger. And Cathy looked at my daughter and said, “Wow, hasn’t she become independent?”

Tamara Littleton  16:25

A different take. 

Crawford Hollingworth  16:26

And we looked at it. And I thought it was just a reframe. And I realised, all our lives have changed, you know, whether we’re putting notes outside that play on social norms, so, our fellow residents recycle, or whatever it is, we realised that it changed our lives. And the book that you kindly showed earlier, was writing a book, not for all the businesses we work with around the world or the government’s, but just for normal people. And there was always a simple mantra, which is, the more you understand how your brain is wired, the more the little things you can do; tiny little changes make a big difference, hence that reframing, if you’re fed up with someone, then even if you think maybe they’re having a bad day, you feel better about it. You know, if you do something nice to someone, a bit of reciprocity, you actually start like a flutter butterfly wings; you don’t know where that will go, but you’re probably making the world a better place somewhere else. The book takes you on a journey of understanding your brain and how people are playing to that understanding. And then all Cathy’s work at the end looks at how teaching people about the brain made them change their lives and hundreds of little ideas. If I would challenge anyone, I really mean that I’ll give that money back. If he doesn’t buy the book, you don’t have to buy the book but buy the book. And if it doesn’t change your behaviour in some way, I will be amazed. Little things. And even if it’s remembering to get off the hedonic treadmill, occasionally, you’ll find it inspiring. 

Tamara Littleton  17:59

And something that I’ve really taken away from the book is that whole concept of not being stuck in autopilot that all of the good stuff happens when you do, you know, take yourself out of that comfort zone and just hearing about your career. And where there were times where you just sort of like suddenly changed direction. I wonder if that’s a bit of a theme for you that you are always sort of talking about disruption, but you’ve been taking yourself out of that comfort zone and going in a different direction as well. 

Crawford Hollingworth  18:30

I think probably people would say for the good for the worse that I have done that. You know, there are times when I probably should have been more stable. But, if you ask Cathy about the person doing really well in advertising, who comes home and says I’ve had enough, I’m leaving, just as she’s become pregnant, never goes down that well, you know, or the person who lives who moves the family to Oxford, and the next week launches a business in London in New York. But I do think again; one of the things I think is really important, too, is if you are lucky enough to be brave and find ways to challenge things to create things that aren’t really there. There wasn’t any company doing soft behavioural trends as Vision did, and lots of other stuff I’ve done failed miserably. But it’s fabulous to try and break existing paradigms, to break the status quo. It’s so often, you will find people spend their lives making something a little bit better or working with all the same rules that have always been there. You know, I mean, I know people have to do that. But it’s very frustrating, I think as well.

Wendy Christie  19:51

Thank you for sharing that journey with us, Crawford. You’ve touched upon a couple of things that I’d love to talk about. You mentioned your school report and also your brain Injury at four years old. What I wanted to talk about or ask about is what you were like as a child and how much that kind of thing has impacted where you are now.

Crawford Hollingworth  20:12

Whoa, what did my therapist say? Don’t let anyone ask you about what you were like as a child. It’s a very interesting question, actually. And I think I was a bit lost. I think I wasn’t necessarily the kind of blue-eyed blond kid. I think it was a bit difficult. A bit of a pain in the arse, very restless. I don’t know what was going on. I was very inquisitive about things. And I was very interested in people, I think, from an early age. Yeah, I think in quite a clinical way. This is what I have now, which has been a much deeper way. My parents were really pioneering doctors. 

My dad was a very complicated and difficult psychiatrist who actually ultimately decided he didn’t really want his family anymore. But ran a very important hospital called the Maudsley. And was decorated globally many times for his work on families, which is also rather ironic. They were both doing really, really well. 

My mum was a powerful doctor wanting to change life in a quiet way for women and for medicine. And she became things like John Lewis, Director of occupational medicine and medical director at the BBC, to the occupational medical head of the Royal Marsden, where she got cancer, sadly, although she always pointed out it wasn’t infectious. And she’d always laugh about that. 

I think my childhood was a bit kind of mad, a bit sort of crazy. I think if I’m honest with you, I think for about four years of my very key childhood between 13 and 17, I didn’t actually have a home. Because they were, my parents were divorced, they were seeing other people, there was madness, and they were living in different places. I probably shouldn’t say too much, you actually, Wendy, because the brain thing has become quite a big topic in the last few months of my life and in something that no one’s ever discussed before. In my life. 

My sister brought this up at Christmas as a reason why I was always the loved one. And she had a really tough time was the charge. She was always the one getting stars. I was the one being expelled. “And she said yes because no one talks about your brain injury. And no one’s ever said that before your brain damage. She said, No one’s ever said to my kids.” In either case, I was going to say, “Whoa, let’s just go back a moment”. And we’re still getting our heads around that. So we were told never to mention it. But I said I knew I’d fractured my skull badly and everything. But she said you had brain damage; we had to pretend you didn’t. So unfortunately, my mum died a couple of years ago, and so I can’t really ask her about it. We’re living with that at the moment. But I think. for whatever reason, I knew they tested me. 

I did have a high IQ. I was rubbish at everything. Wendy, I mean, I failed everything. I had U’s and E’s; I was just rubbish at everything. And I guess in those days, people didn’t know about things like dyslexia. But then I was really, really good at hand and ball games, I was good at sport. And I was really good at chess. And I had this kind of weird thing where I’d win stupid chess competitions was kind of bored me, but I found them very easy to do. And I played sport pretty well, at least at the county level anyway, in various things, but I was rubbish at the rest, making my school’s and my parent’s life quite difficult, which is why I said at the beginning, I think something happened, I got into 20, and the rest of my brain or, you know, developed really well and my mum has always been “my son was always my soulmate”, and still is actually, and never ever lost faith in me ever, ever, ever, ever. Never question any stupid thing I did. And believe me, there were many of them. 

Wendy Christie  24:07

Well, here you are. So, thinking about the people that you’ve worked with, over the years, which genuine humans have really influenced you or in your life in general, it doesn’t have to be in work. 

Crawford Hollingworth  24:20

I guess you’re going to have to go back to what I’ve just said a little bit, being repetitive. But I think the environment, in terms of when you were an infant or context, is such an important thing because in a world where we need to make lots of changes, and there are brilliant people trying to make changes. You need to feel that there is support behind you, and you don’t. I’ve never felt I’ve had to look back. I knew that I’ve got support, and that is when you’re a bit crazy; it’s so beautiful. And so again, I will probably say my mum. I mean, my mum is, as I said, she was such a, it’s such a quiet way, she made a difference. She hated fuss, you know when they do the thing for her in the City of London, they remember to all these people came out and said, you know how my mum changed their world, you know, whether it’s creating the first ever secondary cancer care, or, you know, or making it to get another board position for women where women had no board positions, it was stuff that really mattered to her. 

And she never questioned, you know, your son’s been sent home again. Your son’s expelled again; you called into another thing. Your son’s failed in something your son’s done this your son’s, we found your son in a shop doing things you shouldn’t do, you know, and it was just like, “Oh, well.” And when she was made president of occupational medicine in Europe, the first-ever woman to hold the title, I was in the audience. And she said she was so proud. And she said, “I am genuinely proud that my son has been expelled from some of the best schools in this country.”

Tamara Littleton  26:03

What a legend.

Crawford Hollingworth  26:04

And she was a legend. And I think she, every time I and she loved what I did, she loved that it was different than what we talked about, you know, therapies in cancer, we talked about trends, we talked about the world. And, you know, she was generally fascinated by things I was doing. She’s a really no one does this, and this is a really exciting space. But I, I guess it’d be wrong. If I didn’t also mention, Cathy has been my partner and my wife for many years and has always been my intellectual life. She’s always been just my intellectual and often helps me with some of my emotions, which are a bit heavy. And yeah, she just, she just has always made things happen. And when you live in a world where you, you constantly, whenever you’re doing well, you throw it all away. And she could tell you lots of examples. And she’d say, “Well, we learned a lot from it. And it was brilliant. What are we doing next?” And it was never questioned. 

You know, and, and I think, again, if we all, we all need to think really carefully when we want to do things differently, we need to have those people which, you know, it’s a cliche, but not only would they catch me if I fell, but my mum and Cathy, but they’d also go like “God, yeah, that is really exciting! Let’s do that.” Maybe they might say, “Oh, my God, he’s got another idea. Here he goes.” But they’d always support it. And I think, you know, again, I always say to people, when I try and mentor people who tried to do interesting new things, is create a context around you that gives you permission that gives you support that, that that, that you know, or help you make things happen. And I’ve been very lucky, very, very lucky to be gifted the sorts of people who’ve been around me and work with my family and things like that. 

Tamara Littleton  27:25

And actually, if I could just sort of dig into that a little bit more, because I know that Crawford, you and I have had sort of conversations about getting to a stage of our life where we can be more vulnerable and open with the, with the people around us. And, it’s also about finding, obviously, you’ve got Cathy, you’ve got these incredible people around you, but also the networks around us, the sort of the special tribes as it were, are you happy to talk about perhaps some of the impact that some of those people have had on you.

Crawford Hollingworth  28:22

You know, Tamara, vulnerability is a very key part of me. I will try not to start crying at any point in this, but it’d be quite likely. You know, I wear my heart on the outside. 

I get hurt a lot. And always have because when you put yourself out there, I’m not joking, you get really, really hurt. But you also get fantastic ups. And I think to make the point first is, I’d never swap a life of emotional highs and deep dark lows for blandness. I think the context we just talked about supports that. And, you know, I love people like yourself, people who have passion and belief. I find it infectious, and I can’t get enough of it. And I love it. I love it. I love it. And I think if I can unlock that in people around me, then I’m leaving something in the world. It’s a great thing to try and do. And so you need to have people around, you need to have groups of people who you know you can be yourself, and you can be vulnerable with your place to be, and I guess I have a few tiny places, but there is a place which you know, well. A place where I feel I can be, a unique place, which is both professional and personal and everything, a place where I can be open, a place where I don’t need to be hesitant, a place where I can be brave, have a place where I feel secure a place where I trust everyone. And all those really powerful emotions, they’re easy to say and very hard to find. 

For me, the great representation is a thing called the Cabal. It sounds like a strange name. But it’s it was set up by two extraordinary people, Gemma and Dan. I mean, with sparing their blushes, radiate nurture, love and openness, and create environments where you just grow, you just grow, and you are yourself. And you don’t have to have any pretence. And you can burst into tears, you can be vulnerable, you can be excited, whatever it wants. And it’s a beautiful place where you can have all those things in place, which will 100% catch you if you need catching are 100% help you propel yourself in a direction that you need the palette. 

I guess I love and really support nonjudgmental places of warmth and nurture and places with a hell of a lot of love. Again, I think that creates a beautiful functioning system and makes people like me, with high IQs and dysfunctional, low performers, feel very good.

Tamara Littleton  31:18

I’d also like to pick up on something else you were talking about your dyslexia. And this is something that I was really taken with when you’ve spoken before about seeing the world in patterns. How has that actually impacted? Because obviously, it sounded a negative experience growing up, has it become more positive for you in your career? 

Crawford Hollingworth  31:48

It’s a really, really interesting question. And the answer will be yes, it has. In fact, my belief is that all of us have, we have gifts. Only some of us are lucky enough to find out what they are is the kind of truth of things. I guess I’ve always kind of stumbled on because I was rubbish at everything else. And people didn’t really use the term dyslexia, but I just couldn’t do stuff. You know, I still can’t spell even though I write a lot to everyone, saying I married Cathy because she was an English graduate to try to make that to take that out, you know, and I, but I’ve always been interested in patterns of behaviour. 

I guess I began to realise that in a kind of, I mean, I’ve always loved art; I’ve always loved seeing things in art. And I began to realise that I could look at lots of things happening around the world and see patterns behind them, I could see. Yeah, and I realised it was a gift because you realise you work with lots of people who can’t. And say there’s whatever 40 pieces of data 20 imagery, and you go like, Ah, I think you can leave, put these here, put those there, combine these here, and create something really interesting. 

I guess that took me on a really interesting journey. It’s why when I worked in, by the way, when I worked in therapy, I used the projective techniques I developed with photographs, how to use photographs, family photographs, as a family Freudian slip was the paper I wrote. And it was how that photographs, people bring photos to the therapy session. And suddenly, they talk openly because the visual stimulus doesn’t have the verbal barricades that you have in therapy. So I’ve always been interested in, I guess, nonverbal patterns. And if you think about trends, and Hello Vision, the Futures Company, if you think about products, I’ve created like radio bright lights, we won’t go into my, my AI company 14 years ago, because they’re a bit for its time.

Tamara Littleton  31:48


Crawford Hollingworth  32:03

Or just a loss maker, or the Behavioural Architects, it is that it’s about looking for patterns, trying to look at understanding; I guess its behaviour is a form of art; what are all those things driving that behaviour? mapping it out in a kind of visual way? Thinking about then what have you permission to change? What if you did this? What if you did that? It’s a very creative yet scientific and visual process. And I think I was lucky to find us quite good in those sorts of spaces. And that’s why I still, you know, I still have the ideas that I’m wrestling with at the moment are, you know, a lot of my stuff and working in my head is that what AI doesn’t do is to me create jumps into creativity and insight beyond what it knows. And I’m really intrigued by how the developing symbiotic relationship between man, machine, and AI could evolve. 

Tamara Littleton  35:01

I hope that you never stop having these amazing ideas because I love being around you. We’re now going to move into the quickfire round. So, I’m going to let Wendy kick start with the questions. 

Wendy Christie  35:14

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend? 

Crawford Hollingworth  35:16

Because you say quickfire, these ones have to really think about a perfect weekend. I guess, again, it sounds really boring, but I’m definitely small groups and kind of crazy deep conversations, which might go in every single weird direction. 100% great food, way, way too much red wine. Definitely, Tamara will love this drunken singing and dancing

Tamara Littleton  35:39

What are you saying?

Crawford Hollingworth  35:42

And in my case, I’d say, Tamara, not in yours, in my case, with 100% enthusiasm and very little talent.

Wendy Christie  35:51

How do you think you’d fare in a zombie apocalypse? 

Crawford Hollingworth  35:54

Oh, when’s that happening? 

Tamara Littleton  35:55

We’re already in it.

Crawford Hollingworth  36:00

That’s just politics. So again, I really liked that thought, the kind of idea of Zombie Apocalypse Now, actually Cathy’s in the other room working, but if I pulled her through, I think she’d say that annoyingly, really annoying, is to say Crawford would make friends with them. He leaned into that and tried to understand or explore their journey into zombieness and as I’m lucky, zombie communication is nonverbal; we probably have a frenzy of body activity analysis, which would be a perfect place for a behavioural psychologist or behavioural psychologist to haven’t really settled with zombies doing a group discussion about how they got there. 

Tamara Littleton  36:42

I’m now picturing a whole kind of therapy room. Okay, what’s the last thing you did that gave you childlike joy? 

Crawford Hollingworth  36:52

I think, again, it’s a really hard question for me because I think I am still a child. I get so much joy. Every day, things make me make me kind of smile, smile laugh and feel fantastic. I guess. I mean, I was very lucky two days ago. You know, I happened to find myself at 5:30 am sitting in St. Peter’s Square, without anyone being in the square. And the sun came over the top. And I found myself giggling. It was like, you know, so show me a sign, any sign. It was very peaceful. But I am very lucky, Tamara; I do have a problem that I’m very childlike. And I find a lot of joy in the tiniest little things. 

Tamara Littleton  37:43

I don’t think you need to apologize for that. 

Wendy Christie  37:46

How would your friends describe you? 

Crawford Hollingworth  37:48

They’re really interesting questions, aren’t they? How do my friends describe me? Well, definitely my very close friends would describe me as an annoying bundle of energy. Always with the word annoying. And in fact, my best was, say, so annoying. And that I get up way, way too early all the time. And they’ve always said that any reasonable success was you end up every time you have to do more, you just get up early until you basically don’t go to bed. But I also hope they described me as someone who treasures really treasures and really actively guards those in my inner circle of trust. And I really tried to do that. And, and I think it’s that actually, it makes me think, Wendy, a little bit, you say, is that I keep my friends really close and not using the cliche because they’re really important. And I think it’s a certainty, maybe the structure or the constancy of them. That helps me take crazy risks, be a bit braver, maybe challenge the status quo, be disruptive in you know, in some way? Well, I hope so anyway,

Tamara Littleton  38:55

Is there one person who’s changed your life, but they don’t know it? 

Crawford Hollingworth  38:59

I think as I am as a human, nearly every one of you changes my life. And I sometimes think I’m greedy like that, that I get so much from everybody, whether it’s talking to someone about their new business plan, talking to someone about their new company, talking to someone about their karaoke in the beta gives me something I energize me it makes a difference. Everybody who touches my life, actually has a really big impact. I was going to think I suddenly thought someone. I thought I’d better mention his name because he’s quite well-known. But I think the reason that I first left advertising was a new CEO, who basically I just didn’t like him. So in a weird way. He thought he had ruined my life because I just didn’t want to work with him anymore. But in fact, you started my new life.

Tamara Littleton  39:52

I think that’s brilliant. It’s been such a joy to have you. I knew this was going to be a fascinating conversation. I just knew it, and I have. I’m so delighted that we’ve been able to talk to you. Is there anything that we’ve missed or anything that you wish we’d asked? Or do you have any closing thoughts? I’m going to pass the last bit to you. 

Crawford Hollingworth  40:11

Well, first of all, Tamara, you did tell me that you might ask me a question about music, which is the only thing I thought about—everything I was thinking about this morning! So it’s a very, it’s one, which you might even see me saying, which is Wonderwall.

Tamara Littleton  40:18

I left that out because you were just saying that you weren’t a big fan of karaoke. My last one was, of course, what is your karaoke go-to song with him? You can answer? Oh, I love Wonderwall.

Crawford Hollingworth  40:41

And seen it with my kids. And the words resonated again, a bad game put about my life, because. Oh, my God, this is terrible. I feel, I’m going to say now because, you know, we all know don’t retire, that all the “All the roads are winding” and “all the lights are blinding”. And even that line, “there are many things that I’d like to say to you, but I don’t know how”, again, is kind of really core to it. 

I talked to my daughter, and she said, “What about the one that we used to love when used to hate the world?” I said, “What was it?” She said when you get angry at things because they’re not changing. Or you’re looking at people who are misogynistic, blah, blah, blah, things that really annoy me. She said, “You know, we sang it together!” which was Lily Allen, which was, excuse me “, Fuck you (Fuck you), fuck you very, very much,” I think again, it’s like, Fuck all the drains out there. Get them out of our lives and stuff. 

Tamara Littleton  41:44


Crawford Hollingworth  41:45

So I guess it’s interesting. You asked me that thing about something you haven’t asked? I’ going to ask you both a question because the I love talking to you. And I love thinking about things. So you don’t think about your past life, you just look into the future, which is the exciting thing. But thinking back made me very reflective. But trying to tell you about a journey that I’ve been on and my life, there’s only really a point to it; it creates a little seed of energy or thought in you that changes your life in some way, even if it’s a tiny, tiny thing. So I’d love to hear from both of you. If there’s anything I have said in the last hour that has made you go well, I need to think about that a bit more, something that has led to thought in your life that might grow into something bigger.

Tamara Littleton  42:35

That’s a really good question. I think I have vibed off your passion, as I always do, to due with the energy that you bring. I think for me, I want I’m aware that I don’t put enough time aside, to sit down in a cafe and read and just kind of like just take in information. I take in lots of information from different places. But I think your love of the world. And I kind of want to go back to I mean, I studied psychology, as well. And everything that you were talking about reminded me of why I love it. And I don’t I haven’t gone back there enough. So, in fact, going back to your book, that’s why I’m enjoying it so much because it is taking me back to that place. And what brought me into this industry, which was I just love people. So yes, you have inspired me.

Crawford Hollingworth  43:30

I’m going to give you one tiny thing, Tamara. Never buy a coffee that you don’t sit there and drink and watch. We all grab a coffee and rush off somewhere with it. Grab your coffee and watch people just sit there to tiny things, and you will get such a reward. 

Tamara Littleton  43:48

I will do that. And I’ll let Wendy answer. 

Wendy Christie  43:50

I was really interested in what you seem to get out of revisiting that old school report. It’s made me want to dig mine out and see if anything triggers something there. And I’m now dying to read your book. 

Crawford Hollingworth  44:06

My mum once kept a school report of mine. And she showed it to me once and I said why do you keep this what she said because it always made me laugh. I said why? She said look at it. And I did quite well there. Oh, A, B, C and A Yeah, but look at it again. “You’ve written the name! I can see the Tipex!”

Wendy Christie  44:40

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