What do you do?
I spot trends. But rather than look at New York or the jet set, I'm fascinated by the commonplace, the things people look at every day and think 'what's that about?'. Weird questions, such as why people have shelves full of knick-knacks. Most people think it's strange and move on. I get to work out why it happens.
How did you get the job?
I started in advertising in the '80s. I was taken on as a trainee planner, despite not knowing what planners did, because they thought I had an interesting take on things. I'm naturally eccentric, I'm not sure why. I'm from a council estate in Dagenham, and going from there to university to advertising I got to see differences between each world much more than if I'd stayed in my own familiar surroundings. Trend-spotters need that outsider's perspective.
Does reality match the dream?
If you're interested in the way people live, it's a dream job. If you're not, it's not. I have lots of latitude, and if something catches my attention, I can pursue it. As it's a small company, there's an impact straight away when I do something. I do everything from getting families in Barratt homes to record their lives with Polaroid cameras, to skateboarding with kids at lunchtime and learning how they think. For the way I am and how I think, I couldn't ask for more from a job.