Ryan Archibald, Managing director, Vice Media Canada, Toronto
Archibald turned a gig co-ordinating a punk magazine’s print run into a series of promotions that led to running the Canadian arm of what has become one of the world’s most influential media brands
FIRST JOB: When I was 14, I was a ride operator at Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, Ont. It’s a Christmas-themed amusement park. It was weird to work all summer with Christmas music blasting. Looking back on it, I was probably too young to be in charge of rides that little kids were on.
WORST JOB: Probably that job. The days were tortuously long. I’ve worked in retail, I’ve done odd jobs, I’ve done construction—but nothing came close to the crushing boredom I felt every day at Santa’s Village.
WORST JOB INTERVIEW: I was desperate to find a job after graduating from McGill. I studied economics, and I figured I had to do something related to that, so I applied to banks, investment firms, insurance companies and finally, because I just had to make some money, a few sales jobs. I didn’t knock any interviews out of the park. I went in for one at this electronics store in a real shabby building with no windows and a rusted-out door. The owner was a really sleazy, used-car salesman type of guy. He wouldn’t answer a bunch of the questions I had for him. I think he could tell I wasn’t interested.
BEST JOB INTERVIEW: When I applied at Vice in 2001, there wasn’t even a formal posting; I heard from someone who knew someone who was looking to hire someone. So I met [Vice partner] Erik Lavoie. I was in tune with the Vice “lifestyle”: I knew the magazine; I went to shows to see bands. Erik and I are the same age, which made the interview very relaxed. I think Erik probably just liked me and thought we’d get along.
BEST BOSS: I’d say Erik. He brought me on to be a production co-ordinator, and he really mentored me in the world of Vice. I learned a lot from him about how to get things done efficiently and how to interact with people in the business world. The magazine built him into a bit of a character, but he really isn’t a goofy person; he just has a gift for getting people to do what he wants them to do. One lesson he taught me: If you screw up, don’t give a thousand reasons for what happened. We’d forgotten to print an ad in the magazine, so I wrote a long explanatory email to the client. Erik told me that the client doesn’t give a shit about the reasons for a mistake. That stuck with me.
BEST PROMOTION: When I got bumped up from production to media sales at Vice around 2004. There’s a lot that goes into a business, but it’s the money that makes it go round. Seeing how the business ran from a sales and revenue perspective helped me learn how the whole company works. That is so important to understand.