Today we are speaking to resident Gregor Spowart from Mass Media Design, a growing web design, branding and marketing consultancy.
Mornin’ Gregor, what’s going on that’s exciting you right now?
Well, I’m fascinated by the change of pace in technology; just think, Alexa and Google Home would have been the stuff of sci-fi a few years ago! Now companies like Tesla and Uber are developing technology which will eventually get rid of drivers with self-driven, electric powered cars. Driverless Ubers just sound great to me! We’re living in exciting times.
How did Mass Media Design start?
We started about nine years ago with my business partner who I was currently working with in London. We decided that instead of working for companies which charged huge sums for our expertise, we could charge huge sums ourselves – simple! In retrospect that was a bit naïve! My background is web development and my business partner was a user interface designer, but we didn’t have any business skills so it was a bit of a bumpy start. We didn’t have a business plan. No coaching. No idea!
We worked out how to survive though and still have some of our original customers, so we must be doing something right.
One of the best decisions we made was to work with a business coach/mentor. We structured our offering and set financial targets, basically, ‘grown up stuff’! We’re now seeing the results; last year was our best year ever with some great new clients coming on board.
We’ve also made two new hires, bringing our design function in house with Josh, and increased developer capacity with Aonghas. I still do a little bit of coding on the sites I built years ago, but spend most of my time on developing the business and focusing on sales and marketing.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I would still work but not every single day; I’d dip in and out of the business (probably annoying everyone) but I’d go for work/life balance with a bit more emphasis on the ‘life’ bit!
I love going on holiday and travelling; on the list of places to go is Patagonia, Columbia, India, most of South East Asia and basically, everywhere else! I’m also very happy wandering around London, it’s an amazing city with so much history and lots of great stuff you just stumble across.
What is the most embarrassing thing you have done :-)?
I play the trumpet in a wind band. We were playing one gig and there was a slight misunderstanding. The band started playing one piece of music and the trumpets started with a different piece. I was pretty confident we were right so just carried on and played a bit louder. Turns out I was wrong!! Eventually the conductor just had to stop us! But my approach to playing the trumpet is that if you’re going to be wrong, be loud, proud and wrong :-).
You must have a lot of puff! How long have you been playing?
<thinks> Thirty-three years! My Dad was a brass instructor so he taught me. I also met my wife through music, playing in a wind band; she plays the flute.
How romantic, a ‘win(d)some’ couple! Clearly it was meant to be!
Is there anything that no one here knows about you? What is it?
At my previous job I took a six month sabbatical and spent three months in China, with a week in North Korea! That was quite an interesting place to see!
Now That’s What I Call Intrepid, Vol I!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lorry driver. I thought I could drive around and see different places. I didn’t think of it being mostly motorways!
Favourite thing about GROW?
There are lots of good things about GROW; there are always interesting people coming and going and it’s easy to chat, especially in the kitchen, by the kettle. It’s useful for business, too. One day a guy came over to say hello. He’d been working with a large agency and just been made redundant. We started working with him in a consultancy capacity to help develop the agency and basically pick his brains. And that was just one random day at GROW that had a huge impact on our business.
Our clients also find it a really interesting space and like to come here for meetings because it’s got a much nicer vibe than their own offices. We also love to bring prospects here as well – everyone we bring here comments on the space and is really interested in it.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable aspect of co working?
People get to know each other and relationships develop - you never know who you might meet. You nearly always have something in common, you just don’t know it yet and that’s why it’s good to get talking with anyone and everyone here.
We’re glad we found GROW when we did. I wish it had been around five to six years ago because it would have been a great environment from which to build the business in the early days. Working from home is great to avoid commuting, but it’s not the most stimulating place to work.
The way GROW is set up makes it easy to expand the business and add another desk when needed. It’s also very flexible, I first came in for half a day on a free trial, then ad hoc hot desking, then progressed to a fixed desk and now we are three; so we moved in by degrees! Now we’re growing!
Thanks Gregor! We’re really glad you’ve found a home here where you have been able to grow and develop Mass Media Design, that’s what we’re here for. We look forward to hearing a rendition on the trumpet too :-)!