Our Core Values #1: Do It Your Way, With Passion

Phil Morse | Read time: 5 mins
Core beliefs Gibraltar Phil Morse
Last updated 5 August, 2017


I live in a tiny place called Gibraltar, right where the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, Europe and Africa meet… but my path to my dream life was anything but normal.

Once a week for the next few weeks, I’m going to move away from talking about DJing to tell you a bit about why we do what we do here at Digital DJ Tips. To help you understand what gets my team and me out of bed in the morning (not the same bed, I want to add). To hopefully show you exactly why it is that we are all so passionate about what we do here. And I’m going to start with a story about where I live.

That picture is where I live. It’s a tiny British Overseas Territory called Gibraltar, located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. It has an area of just 2.3 square miles, and shares its northern border with Spain. At the foot of its huge rock is a densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 people – including my family and me.

Unlike my young children, I wasn’t born in Gibraltar. Indeed my path to Gibraltar has been anything but “normal”. I have been a professional DJ and club promoter, sure, but I’ve also been a food critic, music writer, web agency partner, academic proof reader, language teacher, newspaper editor, even a milk man (you need to be British and over 40 to get that last one!). I have lived in several countries, sometimes in beautiful dream homes my wife and I have bought – and sometimes out of a backpack.

And while my path hasn’t been in any way “normal”, not only would I not change a thing about it, but also, I look forward to tomorrow more than ever, because I simply don’t know what’s around the corner – and I love it that way. All I do know is that I am not scared to do it my way. In fact, I feel more comfortable doing it my way – as was brought home to me yesterday.

Look on that picture above again. That runway is for Gibraltar Airport, and it also marks the border between Gibraltar and Spain. (Yes, we have to walk across it to enter and leave our country.) At about 8:30am, it is full of people who live in Spain but work in Gibraltar rushing to get to the office by nine. And unusually, today I was one of them – and I was frankly surprised by just how bad that made me feel!

Indeed, the hairs on my neck stood up on end as I realised what I was thinking, which was this:

“I am so glad I don’t do this walk to a normal job with everyone else every day, like I have in the past! I am so glad I don’t work for a boss any more…”

And then:

“I hope nobody thinks I’m one of these people!”

It bowled me over how strongly I felt that abhorrence for doing “a normal job”, as just “one of the pack”. For just turning up for the nine to five. For just taking home the money, and calling that a life. And I realised that all of my life, I’ve been fighting against that – hard. In everything I’ve done, I’ve done it because it was part of my bigger plan – even though I wasn’t sure what that plan was at all times! I have carved my own path, often totally against the flow.

Is this a core value?

So I looked at my key staff. Is this something that carries across to them, I thought? Are these people like me? Is there something going on here that I haven’t picked up on? Is this actually something that our whole company stands for? Let’s head around the world to meet them and learn more.

Crossing the border yesterday I had a bit of a revelation, as I walked with all the nine-to-fivers: Digital DJ Tips is about being something more that just a worker.

Over in Manila in the Philippines we have Joey Santos, my assistant editor. He’s a DJ and a talented producer, and until recently the owner of his own recording studio before coming on board with us. He started his own business when he was very young and has never looked back. A few years back he approached me and convinced me he was right for “the job” (I hadn’t even invented “the job” for him at that point!) and he is now an absolutely pivotal, passion-driven member of my team.

Then there’s Steve Canueto, who lives in glitzy Marbella. Steve’s passion for scratching led to him leaving for London as a teenager to “discover his destiny”. He landed a long career helping top-name DJs to record great mix CDs for Ministry of Sound, and DJed internationally himself for many years. Nowadays, as well as having a weekly radio show here in the Mediterranean, Steve helps me bring new DJ courses to market, and would tell you he’s doing that (and working for Digital DJ Tips as a tutor and as our sales and marketing guy) out of pure, pure passion.

Let’s cross the Pyrenees to go to a ski resort in the French Alps, where we find our content manager, Lindsay Cessford. Lindsay combines working for us with a passion for skiing. Lindsay is great friends with my wife (who, incidentally, I met at a club I used to promote, when I was DJing). Lindsay loves clubbing and dancing, and is learning to DJ using the courses this website makes and sells, so she sure tells us when they’re wrong! Right now though, she’s about to head to Portugal for a summer of stand up paddle boarding. And when I first started trying to convince her to work for us, she said no because she was getting repairs done to her beloved camper van to drive across Europe to take up a job as a hotel manager in Switzerland…

Yes! It turns out that our key staff, different though they all are, have got two crucial things in common with me: Firstly, they’ve done it their way, and secondly, they do what they do for passion. Living a remarkable life is what gets them out of bed. And it seems that this is what attracted them to me and to Digital DJ Tips in the first place – or in Lindsay’s case, what made me do all I could to get her on board.

So this is the core value I want to express today: Digital DJ Tips stands, right from the very top down, for doing things because you’re passionate about them, and for following your instincts, above all else. For wanting to walk a path of your making. For kicking against conformity.

Of course, we are “about” DJing, whether that’s a hobby you’re passionate about, a part-time job, or even more – but the core value could carry to anything in life. If you’re fighting to walk your path because you’re passionate about it, we’re with you.

Check out our other Core Values articles:

What do you think of this core belief? Do you share it with us? Do you find DJing helps you to live a life less ordinary, to have something about you driven by passion rather than necessity? I’d love you to share your thoughts and help us to shape this belief by commenting below.

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