Great Thinkers, Being Inspired, Fighting with Friends & Getting Shit Done
I have been incredibly lucky in my career — the last few months in particular — of working with some of the most intelligent, inspiring and dynamic people I have ever met, let alone worked alongside. I spend mornings chatting with some fascinating, intellectual and inspiring people, from marketers to engineers, from customer service reps to CEO’s, all of them about how their businesses are handling incredibly complex, impossible issues, or seemingly simple, straightforward problems, and how they solve them, or need help in solving them. It is inspiring to be around.
The simple act of discussing how different people approach different problems, and trying to understand the thinking, is itself inspiring for me. How different people view the same problem is a key part of my work I truly love.
I believe (good) VC’s, PE and Angels put their faith in people, so much more than business ideas, of course the numbers have to add up, of course there needs to be innovation and disruption and all the right buzzwords — but working in the VC and PE landscape in 2017 is far more commonplace to business men and women than it was even 5 years ago, the culture of having to ‘move the needle’ quicker than ever is filtering through to even privately owned, and public sector, organisations. Culturally dynamics are changing. Outcomes becoming less and less business critical
Businesses fail, projects are delayed, people are unsuccessful, the world moves on.
I have spent a lot of time recently talking to colleagues, friends and peers about how they feel the marketing climate is moving — I get a sense that, and although still very anecdotal — business specialities — SEO & Social to name the two no brainers, that companies are prepared to start taking these skills back inside. £700 for a day of community management? Really? Of course questions will be asked, and agencies need to be challenged. Agencies and consultants are still important, but for bespoke project work where a really niche skills are required — an agency or consultant HAS to provide something your business cannot provide for itself, otherwise what the hell are you using them for….?
I met Viktor Nebehaj at a Botify event this week, we had a lot in common — firstly the world growing ever smaller — both knew Pierre Far — another bloody ex-Googler, who both make me feel like some kind of filthy drop out in comparison, but also shared business and on site problems with content, UGC, search, analytics… I could go on forever — however the way we both approached them were completely different. Viktor is, of course, an engineer by trade and had an amazingly profound idea of how to solve similar problems which I, as a commercial money man saw it quite differently. Ultimately, neither of us were right or wrong. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat.
Realistically, in the the clear light of day, it tends to be the guys who sit behind 25 screens 24 hours a day who come up with the best solutions to most of these issues, but sometimes, just sometimes looking at something from a very simple perspective is actually the most efficient, easiest and best solution. What I am learning though, is that it takes a multitude of skills, personalities and experience to make businesses, departments and projects, function — sit a load of devs in a room with a white board and a sharpie for an hour, god only knows what will come out. Probably a load of devs with a sharpie, and a few empty cans of Red Bull.
TES Global are an organisation who, over a period of time have built a team of people and with it a culture which thrives on innovation, ideas and inspiration. I truly believe that to be a fully digital organisation today you have to have the tenacity, bravery and structure to allow ideas to flourish and people to succeed, and equally as important, fail. I have worked with organisations over the years who have attempted to transition from traditional to modern (digital) without really thinking of the company values, their brand, key messaging and treating company assets such as the website as products with distinct features are all essential criteria often overlooked.
By treating the website as a product, for example. We enable ourselves to grow it as a product. It becomes an organic element which grows with the business, thus eliminating any pain in the future when Google decide on one miserable Monday morning the way they rank websites and thus their SERP’s completely change (ahem….. Panda). An organic, innovative approach allows for us to innovate and compete against other market players in terms of online user experience and user acquisition.
The coming few weeks will see some changes to our business, some subtle, some less so, but all with the intention of becoming what our community want us to become. No matter who you are, and whether you like admitting it or not, innovation and change are good for the soul. “There is no pain in change — the pain comes in the reluctance to change”. Never has this been more the case than when working within fast paced, digital environments