Thu 28 / 01 / 21
"Brighton has an opportunity to be recognised globally" - Neil Witten, entrepreneur and podcaster, says we're showing how things can be done differently.
The past year has forced many of us to reflect on what really matters and re-examine what we want out of our lives. With January lockdown blues hitting hard, the speaker for the Brighton Chamber breakfast seemed especially fitting.
Entrepreneur Neil Witten helps business owners create their dream companies, and his podcast Life Done Different.ly explores what drives people to get out of their comfort zones, step away from traditional life paths and focus on more creative, meaningful alternatives. We caught up with Neil so he could share more of his vision.
By Lauren Psyk
Much of your career has been about challenging the status quo. You co-founded StoryStream to make marketing more human and authentic. Tell us how you did it.
"We wanted to help consumers make more informed choices about what to buy, so we looked at what real people were saying about the brand or product on social channels and across the web. We built a product that made it easy for brands to use more real content from fans in their marketing. It’s a win-win, because the enthusiasts making the content get celebrated, and the brands get more authentic marketing that better represents their products and how people feel about them."
In what way is failure important in business?
"I see business - and life - as a series of experiments. Inevitably, some experiments fail and some succeed, but the best thing is that you can grow and learn from either outcome. Someone I interviewed on the podcast recently termed this idea 'succailure'".
Why is it important for businesses and individuals to look beyond financial gain?
"Businesses have responsibilities that go way beyond maximising shareholder value. They have a profound impact on the lives of their employees, their customers, and even our planet. When we move beyond the default belief that the best decision is always the one that maximises financial gain, this is often where real impact can be made.
“To be clear, I've got nothing against building profitable companies, and people earning well - that's essential in the capitalist system we live in. But we have limited time on this planet, and we all get to choose how we spend that time. What if you make a choice to look beyond financial gain, in a job you enjoy, where you feel positive about the contribution your work makes to the world? Not only will you be happier, and make others around you happier, but you'll do a better job, learn more, and it's very likely that you'll end up being paid more for it!"
How is Brighton a beacon for how things can be done differently?
"Brighton is known for its progressive and inclusive culture. It attracts people who tend to be more curious, more optimistic, and who value creativity, collaboration and quality of life. The rise of digital businesses here brought about the label 'Silicon Beach'. But in my opinion this puts Brighton in the shadow of San Francisco, Silicon Valley. Although it is known and celebrated globally for the number of tech unicorns it spins out, most of those companies are optimised for financial maximisation.
"That presents an opportunity for Brighton to be recognised globally for building businesses that make a positive contribution to people, and to the planet, and whose purpose creates a better quality of life for many."
Book tickets for our February breakfast here, where we'll be hearing from Eugenie Teasley from Uber.
Lauren Psyk is a Brighton based photographer, blogger, content creator and marketer working throughout the South East.
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