WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
Being in print publishing! My career started at that pivotal moment – the death of the typewriter. Working in business magazines through the transition to digital publishing has been a litany of misread opportunities.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
There’s no such thing as a typical day. (I won’t be the first to answer this question with this sentence.) There are some common ingredients: tea, Twitter, to-do lists, ft.com. I try to read a newsletter, or visit a website, that I have never seen before. The universe of published content is now so enormous, you have to keep on sampling.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
Kindle for reading business/reference books and any other weighty tome that I would otherwise have to annotate.
Twitter and Tweetdeck. The go-to tools.
Evernote for scribbling down ideas and being able to keep track of them – although still too much of my scribbles are in Moleskine notebooks. It’s brilliant and I under-utilize it. (Doubtless, someone will tell me that I should be using something far better, though.)
AudioMemos for recording conversations, although I’m sure there are better tools around.
I’m still on and off with LinkedIn – occasionally I think that this is where I should be spending most of my time, and then on other occasions, I find it just exhausting.
Instagram is my productivity dissipating tool.
WHAT Do you DO to Get Inspired?
Read magisterial books of sweeping history. Buy random magazines. Click on each link of a quality newsletter such as qz.com. Visit a company that has been growing revenues by at least 20% per annum for three years or more and ask them why. Walk the British countryside and/or talk over a pint in a pub.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Now that’s way too hard a question. Any answer here should carry with it the warning that is purely representative, rather than definitive.
How about WB Yeats’ line: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, And say my glory was I had such friends”
Stuck on a desert island, I would like Norman Davies’ “Europe”, Damon Runyon’s “More than Somewhat”, and Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” – for three.
Current favorites include Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and Adam Grant’s “Originals”.
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
How to engender long-term confidence in the UK as a place to live and work, given the (in my view) terrible decision to leave the EU. This is a great country and will need every ounce of self-belief in the years to come. Digital publishing of evidence-based and positive stories, and telling new narratives, is set to occupy me for years to come.
Is there a Product, Solution, or Tool that you think is a Good Match For Your Digital Publishing Efforts?
There probably is. Something that is highly visible in its editorial moderation. Something that older, experienced editors (who started with typewriters) can immediately love and use. Medium has something of this.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Maintain a long view. Have at least one area of specialist knowledge. Don’t be dictated to by data scientists.