John Gray is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mentionmapp Analytics Inc.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
Those years spent earning degrees in Communications and English had an influence. It’s not like I was pulled begrudgingly into it. I’ve always seen myself as a communicator, a writer versus being a novelist, poet, or journalist. Ultimately, this past year the direction of our business dictated that we focus on our publishing efforts.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Three to four mornings a week it starts in the gym and then a run. Being healthy comes first. Rest of the day is usually a mix of reading, researching, and writing, plus toss in a conversation or two. The nights are analogue, gripped with paging through works of fiction. I try to strike a balance between thinking (listening to my muses) and doing things with purpose. Ideally, there’s something meaningful attached to an action, as taking paths of wasted energy and effort are best avoided.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
Google Docs, Slack, Evernote, or Pocket to curate content, and occasionally too many open browser tabs.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I’m more into taking action than searching for inspiration. I subscribe to making each day about quenching an insatiable curiosity, trying to be constructively skeptical, and always challenging the sources of my own bias.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
I’ve never been a fan of picking favorites because there’s one for the context of any given moment or situation.
A quote I’m fond of is:
“If we were not able or did not desire to look in any new direction, if we did not have a doubt or recognize ignorance, we would not get any new ideas.” — Richard Feynman
A written piece: The Canterbury Tales (in Middle-English), Geoffrey Chaucer.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
I’m intrigued by what De Correspondent and Discourse Media are both doing. I also appreciate having an advisory role with the Uncharted Journalism Fund.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
I’m fully committed to our own investigations or collaborating with other media organizations, journalists, and academic researchers to publish the stories we were uncovering in connection with SocialBots, computational propaganda and the spread of misinformation.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Diversify your reading with broader perspectives and points of view that make you uncomfortable. Don’t feast on a steady diet of bias confirming dogma. Don’t fear failure, but don’t relish in it, and always make sure you’ve learned something from it. Respect the value of your time and the time of others. Be humble. Find enjoyment in the process of thinking, creating, and delivering.