MediaPost 2006 Online All Star: Nick Pahade
Following His Passion
Nick Pahade, President, Denuo, a Publicis Groupe unit
Nick Pahade's parents weren't happy. It was early 1996, and he'd just told them that he was dropping medical school to start "a Web site promotional company" with a few college pals.
"It was the right thing for me to do at the time," says Pahade, now 31 and president of Publicis Groupe's Denuo unit. "They took the news pretty well, actually. But it was a few years before they were totally comfortable with it."
The company Pahade founded, which became known as Beyond Interactive, kicked into gear in early 1998 and was acquired by Grey Global Group in 1999. Pahade stayed on as the digital agency's president, and also served as managing director of Mediacom Digital until earlier this year.
Pahade's first professional experience -- and even what he now sarcastically calls "that little bubble-bursting thing, that tiny market nuance" -- appealed to his entrepreneurial instincts. He left Beyond in December 2005 for Denuo because the job offered the ability to create, as opposed to the responsibility of sustaining an entity of someone else's making. "[The Denuo gig] hit my passion point, which is to play at the point where emerging technology, marketing, and communications are colliding or fusing."
Denuo is more like a boutique consultancy than a marketing communications, media, or technology shop. "In some cases, we'll bring that extra spark or catalyst," Pahade explains. "In others, we'll bring a little extra muscle for the heavy lifting. We have to figure out what's real and what's vapor."
So far, Pahade says Denuo remains a work in progress and that he wouldn't have it any other way. Pahade and his team work with consumer brands, tech upstarts, venture capitalists, and basically anybody with a forward-thinking outlook.
Pahade scores high marks from interactive marketing executives. Jakob Schwerdt, chief executive officer of music/media distributor Media Global Intertainment, praises him for being "a visionary about knowing where the market is headed." Jackie Woodward, Miller Brewing Co.'s vice president of programming, media, and marketing assets, lauds Pahade's "unique ability to be both futuristic and realistic at the same time."
Pahade has no idea what the future holds but says he hopes to be doing "great things" within the Publicis family and acknowledges an interest in venture capitalism. He plans to spend as much time as possible with his two young daughters, nearly 4 and 2, as well as indulging his Buffalo Bills fandom and enthusiasm for marine life; he keeps a few saltwater tanks at home.
Ultimately, though, Pahade's focus will be where it's always been: on innovation. Mom and Dad are pleased, of course. After all, not all is lost, Pahade says: "I have a younger brother who's doing his medical residency, so at least they have one good kid."