The Dots: A network for the makers, doers, fixers and dreamers
What are you passionate about? What motivates and inspires you?
I’m passionate about helping everyone involved in the creative process to connect, collaborate and commercialise – so we can collectively build a better future.
Looking to the future with the rising march of automation, creativity is our secret weapon. If we want our children and grandchildren to have jobs and make our economies thrive, we need to support the Makers, Doers, Fixers and Dreamers that bring creative ideas to life.
That is what The Dots is all about: connecting, supporting and championing the people, teams and companies that make ideas happen.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
It would have to be starting The Dots. The idea came about while I was at MTV. I found that existing professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and Behance were either too corporate or lacked basic networking features. As with most other creative businesses, the easiest way for us to network at MTV was to connect with friends and friends of friends. The inevitable result was a lack of diversity in thinking, skills, and background. Our creative output became predictable. That’s when my colleague Matt Fayle and I came up with the idea for a ‘LinkedIn for creators’.
The professional world is changing. We are moving from an era of White Collar professionals (which LinkedIn has been designed around) to an era of (what I like to call) No Collar professionals, with creators and freelancers leading the charge. I simply wanted to create a professional network that made sense to me and them.
I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I just wanted to solve this problem, and the product developed out of that: a platform for creators and freelancers to promote themselves online, network in a way that made sense to them.
You’re also a big advocate for diversity. Why is it so important to business and what do you do at The Dots to help business connect with diverse talent?
We’re squandering so much amazing talent because of unfair biases and the barriers that exist. And that is despite there being endless research out there showing that diversity is good for the bottom line of any business. A Harvard Business School study found that teams with workers from different backgrounds and experiences come up with more creative ideas and methods of solving problems. Work by McKinsey & Company found that the most racially and ethnically diverse companies are more likely to have better than average financial returns. The list goes on.
There are several things we do on The Dots to ensure our community is as diverse as possible. For instance, when we first launched, our sign-ups skewed massively towards white males. We implemented a policy that our featured section had to be half female and include at least 30% Black, Asian and/or Minority Ethnic. We saw a shift in the demographic of sign-ups almost immediately. Eventually, as female and minority representation grows in companies across the board, unconscious bias will fade and our creative output will improve. It won’t happen overnight, but I won’t rest until it has.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it?
My amazing dad used to work in the music industry and he drummed into me from a very young age that ‘Happy staff, are productive staff’. Company culture is at the forefront of what I do. Start-ups are hard. But if your team is happy, focused and driven, then nothing is impossible.
What moved you to get involved with Creative Conscience?
The Dots was never about inspiring our amazing community to create better McDonalds ads. It was always intended to inspire work on projects that are meaningful and have a tangible, positive impact on the world. What I love about Creative Conscience is it also champions the people that are using their creativity for good – I want to support that mission any way I can.