What I've Learnt: James Moffat, Founder & Principal Strategist at Organic

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
James Moffat, Organic

James leads Organic, a digital agency focused on innovation, creativity and agility.

The Devon- and London-based agency provides strategic digital transformation consultancy to its list of clients, and is the agency of choice for many going through periods of rapid transformation.

High-profile companies they've supported in the past include Argos, The Body Shop, Samsung and PwC. On top of their successful work, they also work hard to give back to the community - providing pro bono work to charities and NGOs, and ensuring 'Digital For Good'.

We heard from James to learn more about what motivates him.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Giving my kids a hug. Family changes your perspective on life. It’s healthy to realise that life doesn’t begin and end with your career. 

What's been your luckiest break?

I believe you make your own luck through hard work. Luck has been the people I’ve had the fortune to meet and doors they have opened.

Your network and relationships are everything. 

What's your best failure?

The good thing about succeeding - even if it’s just once - is that every failure you ever made just becomes another ‘learning’ step on the road to success. My best failure is whatever I’m working on right now and haven’t quite yet achieved. I will let you know when it has become a success! 

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

Relationships with people are a great investment. People work with those they know and trust.

However, I think the best investment I’ve ever made would be in learning to look after my own health a little better, both mentally and physically. When I was a younger, I didn’t take enough time out for myself, and put no real value on my own time. At that point in my life I viewed rest as being for the weak! But I’ve realised you can only keep that up for so long. 

Downtime is a massive investment - it provides perspective. I can quite comfortably leave something to tomorrow now. 

How would you describe your work/life balance?

A blur. But that’s me - not everyone is like that.

Again, when I was younger, and before I started a family, there was no division at all - it was one continuous stream of work and everyday life. Now I want to switch off from work completely when I spend time with my family and children. I make an effort to ensure that happens. 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

So many, I don’t know where to begin! I covet books. However, I am not a fan of business and self-help books. I prefer fiction.

Not only does fiction provide escapism and fire the imagination, but the best ones contain all the lessons you need in life and work but are told in a much more entertaining and engaging way.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Don’t force your career journey. Try to enjoy it more and worry less. Trust your instinct and gut over everything. Advice is cheap to give, expensive to buy, and simply a playback of personal experience. Bear in mind it comes with a whole load of context and baggage. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

The internet! 

I was born in 1980, so like my peers, I pretty much grew into adulthood as the internet exploded onto the scene. It influenced my degree, my worldview, my career - everything. It's completely changed the world.

As a generation, we are privileged to live in a time where we have been gifted the most powerful set of communications tools in history. Like the written word, the printing press and mass media before it, the internet is transforming our reality. We can use it to share ideas, collaborate, innovate and cooperate like never before. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

Two things. Firstly, I make cider, and secondly I love ‘treading the boards’ - specifically having played the pantomime dame several times. 

What does success look like to you?

Getting to choose what I do with my time. Time is the most valuable commodity we have. Money, job titles, companies - they all mean nothing if you're not free to choose how you spend your time. Success is getting up in the morning and being able to say, I'm free to do whatever I want with my day.