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Humans Of Tech Episode 4: The neck-breaking tales of Jon Evans, CMO

When Jon Evans found himself without a job not once, but twice in a year, he made a career step he’d never expected to take.

The most inspiring humans on earth have a backstory that you rarely get to know about, and we’re not talking about PR snippets or party tricks. The Humans of Tech podcast unravels the life experiences that have shaped these tech superhumans to invent, excel, and inspire so many of us.

Episode four of Humans of Tech will not disappoint, with a human that could have coined the Japanese proverb “nana korobi, ya oki”-- fall down seven times, get up eight. 

Hosted by Chris Morrow, MD, Digitalent, this thrilling episode features Jon Evans, CMO for System1 and host of the chart-topping Uncensored CMO podcast, and it’s gripping -- all of the way through.

A V12 engine hiding under the bonnet 

A self-professed petrolhead and bass guitarist in a band called LiveWire in his youth, Jon’s similarity to an average upbringing stops there. His start in the world was a life less ordinary -- travelling around the world with his botanist father.

Exploration also runs deeper in his blood, with a lineage dating back to the first Everest climb, where strong values led to his great, great uncle handing his remaining oxygen to a friend just 75 metres from the summit. Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, became the first person, along with a Sherpa mountaineer, to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Jon certainly holds dear to family values today, seeming to walk away from magnificent opportunities he’d curated for himself in his youth to walk towards what felt right as an adult -- which wasn’t tax and finance.

In addition to choosing his direction in life, every off-the-cuff humble comment that Jon makes comes down to some critical thinking and research -- even Brunel was selected as a university based on practicality -- ranking high on post-graduate employability.

Opportunities don’t present themselves -- you curate them

Jon is among a number of inspiring individuals who curate opportunities to actively innovate, create, and seek an ‘in’ -- winners find a way as they say.

His emergence into the working world is stacked with examples of how he got through the door to work on marketing projects with no experience to start with. 

But once through those doors, Jon continued to flex his creative muscles -- not always getting it right, but certainly making an impact.

Like most marketers, Jon started simply wanting to walk towards an industry he found interesting.

“I basically ended up becoming Britvic’s only data guy. So that was my first job -- it wasn't really marketing, but it was my route into a company”. Jon Evans

If ever there was an example of resilience

It goes without saying that resilience is a key factor of success; after all, we all learn from failing -- that’s nothing new. But when presented with storybook facts about Jon Evans, we were hooked, and we got a taste of what’s to come in this podcast.

Still a medical miracle today and hopefully not still on any national security risk lists, we find out that Jon’s journey to marketing was less of a happy accident and more akin to making it across a minefield.

What’s clear is that it doesn’t matter whether the hurdle is a failure (or multiple), being fired, or just rubbish luck -- Jon seems to push forward. 

“We're not convinced you're creative enough. It's quite funny, because actually, as I've gone on in my career, most people would probably describe me as very creative”. Jon Evans

The Uncensored CMO podcast’s unrivalled success and popularity seem to have been the latest innovation in the face of adversity for Jon. 

While exploring the raw truth of marketing in these chats with some of the world’s most inspiring and successful marketers, Jon made podcast gold -- pushing himself to the top of Britain’s most wanted marketers for all the right reasons.

The rabbit holes of the uber-successful

Jon Evans seems to follow rabbit holes to success by capturing the essence that always seems to present itself with the uber-successful -- he’s curious and won’t settle where values are concerned.

The ‘whys’ are present in his educational choices, career choices, and podcast, where an uncensored approach gives a refreshing perspective. 

In the podcast, Jon refers to a ‘frontline mentality’, which comes from speaking to shop owners -- at the ‘coalface’ of the business, where you see the truth without any other noise. 

This theory is reinforced by references to books such as The Founder’s Mentality, battlefield strategy, and mentors -- where you stop yourself from being detached and listening solely to management-led strategies.

“When you're actually in with the people that buy your product, and with the customers that buy it and sell it for you, it's not difficult to work out what to do”. Jon Evans

Download or Watch the Full Episode Now

Listen to episode 4 of Humans of Tech to find out how Jon went from his dream job to unemployed to podcast host and head of one of the world’s leading advertising effectiveness agencies.


Watch the full episode here.

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