William Merrick, POPCULT Marketing
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features William Merrick, general partner with POPCULT Marketing.
1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
POPCULT Marketing is a 5-month-old startup, so “everything” would be an accurate response. To be more specific, the most challenging aspects have been setting the right priorities for the business and balancing my activities to meet all objectives. One of the most rewarding aspects has been the human element — the reminders from clients, interns, and others that what I’m doing really creates value in people’s lives. Another would be the daily project of building a culture that encourages creativity and self-determination.
2. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
It took many years to realize my passion for innovation, and that might have been avoided through some guided introspection. I would have told that young man to ask himself, “What part of the human project do you enjoy the most?” Instead of thinking about what to do, think about what you’re doing it for.
3. What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
I really do love the seasons — each really colors the moment and reminds us of the ever-present change. There’s a cultural aspect that hasn’t been overlooked by anyone I’ve met. It’s a friendly place where helping someone isn’t often forgotten. So many people here really do want to create a better world.
4. Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
Many people are surprised to discover that I was once a mechanic — not that I still have all those abilities. I’m a decent trap shooter and know how to race, both autocross and drag, admitting that I’m front-wheel-drive guy. That’s something I’m looking forward to improving one day.
5. What are your guilty pleasures?
Diet Coke — in a can. Political and philosophical debate is something I feel more guilty about, though. I once spent hours before a final exam crafting an email that was part of a group debate. Of all finals, this one was in psychology. I forget exactly which class, yet I can recall quite well the subject of the email and how much care I put into it. Looking back, it may have given me a way to avoid studying, but it probably wasn’t as persuasive as Common Sense.
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