Oh, shit I’ve pissed her off. Yep, she’s given me the ‘ok then look.’ I’m about to get the famous wrap up the call up we are done signal.

This was approximately 2.30pm yesterday, I was on a TEAMS chat with Adrienne (Adi) as we were catching up. The day had already been two rolled into one as always, and it was not even 3pm. We’d not long come off an amazing new business pitch, which we are both buzzing about, and we’d both interviewed a couple of people as options for our growing London team.

All good right?


Midway through the call I said something in the throws of our conversation and I knew straight away it had pissed Adi off. My main goal now was to not let this call finish before ensuring I had recovered this ground.

Why does this matter? Why am I sharing this with you? Why did I piss Adi off? Why was she pissed off?

This article is not about any of those questions, it is about a team working together, it’s about partnership.

At Digital 51 we talk about partnership A LOT, we believe in partnership driven modern talent solutions, not contingent recruitment. It’s not that we don’t know bums on seats contingent recruitment can’t work, it can, but that’s not our belief. Partnership is, and it’s why we setup Digital 51.

For that belief system to really succeed though, it has to run through every aspect of the business; clients, candidates (to use those terms for ease,) suppliers, the team, and at the centre of that, us. We need to have a partnership based on stone. What happens on top of that partnership can be as rocky, up down, left, or right as it needs to be, but the foundation is us, and that works.


So what is it that makes our partnership work, and why does it matter?

Firstly I can’t put my finger on exactly why it works, I can’t also put my finger on where it started, but I know the environment it creates and the examples of this in action.

In many ways Adi and I are very similar; hot tempers, hearts on our sleave, passionate, compassionate, driven, too driven, empathetic, focused, not focused enough, and competitive, to name just a few. We also do believe recruitment is a dying industry, but modern, progressive talent partnerships, AKA Digital 51, are the here, now, and future.

Beneath the surface though there are differences, in many ways we are so different, and these differences, and are ability to stick together, talk it out, and make it work, is our secret sauce.

Some examples:

  • The process queen V the creativity king:

I hate process. There I said it. I do understand the value of process in a business, and I have felt the pain of not having the right processes in place, but it bores me. Adi loves it. Literally she gets physically excited if you get her on the topic of process. Offer her a late night of working from her bed, with her dinner half eaten because she is too engrossed in a process, and she’s in paradise.

For me, let me roam, let me dream, let me think of the next crazy idea, and I could never work from my bed!

If she was here now and reading this, I guarantee Adi would be saying ‘but process allows for creativity.’ Don’t start me on that.


  • The guardian of everyone V the guardian of 51:

Now this is a tricky one to articulate. Adi is loyal beyond reason, until the point you give her reason not to be, at that point I advise you to hot foot it out of town. With that loyalty comes a defence mechanism that most armies would crave for. When you are in Adi’s team, or business as it now is, she will always look out for you and fight your corner. I on the other hand am a passionate believer that there is no business without people, and people are the magic which make our business special. However, I would be dishonest if I did not admit I always believe someone should look out for the business, it can’t protect itself.

This I think makes a great partnership, as it means we are looking after the two most important aspects of Digital 51; the people and the brand itself.


  • Deliver 100% of everything V do everything we can, but be realistic:

If you agree a partnership with Adrienne, you are essentially guaranteeing your needs will be fulfilled, roles filled, and people hired. She does not accept any other outcome than that. The world could end, the process change, it makes no difference, she will still keep going.

I, however, start with this mindset, but I caveat it with the outcome is dependant on people, and people are a variable. Things do change, situations change, needs change, businesses change. I want Digital 51 to complete on 100% of everything we engage in, but I just think in reality we are setting ourselves up for failure if we don’t have some slack in the system.


  • Literal Lilly V Mr Speaker:

Beware, once you have said something to Adrienne it is essentially etched in stone, kept by her in her stone filing cabinet. Disappoint at your peril.

Now for me. Well, I say at least a thousand words a minute on any given day on any given subject, and I change track and move around alot. I am permanently coming up with different ways of doing things and ideas in my mind. These worlds don’t always live well together.

I promise there are times this can be hilarious in action, but there are times I think ‘oh god, what did I say last week?!’

So there you have it. The partnership that sits at the heart of Digital 51 in all it’s honesty (something else we have in common.)

This week we have spoken a lot about partnership, it’s been the theme across our week; our new strategic business partner, our new community partnership, the impact of not working in partnership, and the feedback from our partner clients. However, I wanted to share the partnership that launched and leads Digital 51 day in day out. We are not perfect, our partnership is not perfect, we are not trying to be, but I know from myside I would be lost without it.

Oh, and yes, I did manage to recover and make things right before the call finished yesterday! The good thing about knowing someone well, is you know when to put your hands up and make sure things are clearly understood and not left hanging.

So, who’s your partner, and how do you work together?

This article was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51 and the man who actually called himself the ‘creative king’ in this article! You can contact Mr Creative on to see what he is really like!