1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a Zapnito advisor?
I have spent my career in the specialist publishing sector, initially as a marketing director, strategy director and digital director at EMAP, where I acquired, launched, grew and sold specialist media businesses in print, live events and digital. After EMAP, I launched the Specialist Media Show, an event for publishers to learn about digital technology and share their experiences. After selling the event, I have focussed on my consultancy business, Penmaen Media, advising media owners on how to grow their digital revenues. I’m a strong advocate of the power of peer insight and networking, so after meeting Charles Thiede, I was keen to become more involved in the development of Zapnito.
2) Why, would you say, is Zapnito necessary and important today and how do you see Zapnito’s business developing in the next 5 years?
In every industry sector, the environment is changing so fast that businesses need to share what is working and monitor innovation worldwide. Zapnito’s focus on creating trusted expert networks facilitates this learning and is more relevant than mainstream online forums where quality control is limited.
I hope that Zapnito will be used by more and more specialist business communities worldwide to share knowledge, build relationships and learn about best practice more effectively.
3) What in your opinion/experience is the single-most important skill in running a successful start-up?
Staying close to your customers and continually finding out about their challenges and how you can make their lives easier and their business interactions more effective.
I recently interviewed a dozen B2B media leaders who had developed new premium priced digital products for a research report and this was a recurrent theme. Companies with user groups or customer forums are far more likely to stay on track and spot new opportunities.
4) What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt in your career to date?
The value of talking to a wide range of people across an industry, in adjacent sectors and from different parts of the world. This always throws new light on your own business challenges, and fresh ideas for how to tackle them.
When I launched the Specialist Media Show, after sixteen years working at one company, EMAP, I learnt so much personally from listening to all the speakers. Plus all the participants really valued sharing experiences with their peers across a wide range of different sectors and industries. Large publishers learnt from small indies and consumer and business media realised they had far more in common than they had thought.
5) If you could advocate one company to the world (aside from Zapnito & your own), what would it be and why?
This is a hard one – as a small business I really appreciate all the productivity tools like mailchimp, survey monkey, dropbox, doodle and of course without google maps I would frequently get lost en route to meetings. But a couple have caught my attention recently: duolingo which makes learning a language intuitive and fun, and upwork which is making it easier to source freelancers worldwide.
6) If you had £1 billion and had to invest it in only one of the following three, which would it be and why? 1. Virtual Reality 2. Artificial Intelligence 3. Renewable Energy
Probably Artificial Intelligence, as the ability to assess complex situations and large datasets, then make smart decisions will be increasingly important in many markets.
Please do contact me if you would like to learn more about Zapnito or to get in touch about my work. Carolyn Morgan