What do you do?
I am a Managing Director of Ethos, but primarily a copywriter, journalist, filmmaker, rabble rouser, sales bod, entrepreneur, builder of networks etc. I wear many hats.
Where do you do it?
Liverpool mainly, but my work takes me all over the World.
Who do you do it for?
I do it for Ethos and our audience. I do it for the wider social enterprise movement, grassroots businesses and organisations, social movements, start-ups and social innovators. I do it for my city, my son and my wife.
What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in?
Aside from launching Ethos magazine in print, we collaborated on an event with Homebaked which brought together 30 or so community organisations from around the UK for a two day event. We made a newspaper for it, which involved travelling around the country to meet people doing amazing things in their communities and spoke to some seriously inspiring people doing great things from around the world. It was hard work, and totally worth it.
Outside of Ethos we’ve also worked with the Beautiful Ideas Company again to help them launch a couple of new programmes – one to help fund new ideas on the Wirral, and one to bring grassroots makers and large manufacturing businesses together to collaborate and share ideas. We love working with them and they’ve been big supporters of the work we do.
What is the most innovative, ethically-minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?
Patagonia probably. I’ve been aware of their environmental work and campaigning for a while but I’ve spent a lot of time this year looking at the work they do – read the books, bought the t-shirt etc – and I’ve found it both inspiring and extremely motivating. They’re also a B-Corp and that’s a movement I’m very interested in – I think its probably the future of business.
What ethical business leaders inspire you?
Everyone we’ve written about so far! I had a chat with Kresse Wesling a while back which had a big impact on me – an extreme clarity of purpose and a well delivered and authentic story. I had a similar chat with Toni Petersson from Oatly last year that totally floored me. I love having those kind of conversations – they’re a real kick up the arse.
There’s loads of people I find inspiring. A hero of mine is Howard Gossage, I would love to have met him. The book ‘Changing the World is the Only Fit Work For a Grown Man’ by Steve Harrison is about his story and I buy several copies a year to give to people. There’s a link from him to Patagonia through author Jerry Mander, who wrote copy and adverts for Gossage and was a friend of the Patagonia founder – his influence really shows in the way that Patagonia talks about itself and the causes it talks about – very engaging and with a perfect clarity of purpose.
What are the five most interesting things that you have come across or read recently?
01. The Awesome Foundation has recently reached 2.5million dollars of grants for awesome projects in cities around the world. I’m a trustee of Awesome Liverpool and the Awesome Foundation is one of the greatest things that exists in the universe. Micro-philanthropy with the aim of expanding awesome in the universe. Every city in the world should have an Awesome foundation chapter – it makes them more fun, kind and interesting.
02. I listened to a great podcast episode recently by The Venture (a collaboration between Gimlet Media and Virgin Atlantic) about Dr Bronner’s – a great story about true eccentrics and a great business. I had a great walk listening to that.
03. I’ve just discovered https://www.citylab.com/ and signed up for their mailing list. Loads of great stories about future cities on there and I’m really enjoying getting their emails.
04. See also, https://amaphiko.redbull.com. Really glad I discovered this and they send me regular emails when stories are posted that match my interests – which is most of them. Its similar to Ethos content wise and I’m really glad it exists.
05. A nice story I came across recently is the Peoples Fridge in Brixton. I love things like this – so much food is still binned in the UK despite the horrifying number of people in food poverty. Maybe Awesome Foundation chapters could all fund a Peoples Fridge in their city? That would be amazing. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-39613715/brixton-community-fridge-aims-to-cut-food-waste
What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do?
Changing the World is the Only Fit Work For a Grown Man – Steve Harrison
Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard
How to Thrive in the Next Economy – John Thackara
The Challengers Almanac – Mark Anderson & Friends
Do/Purpose – David Hieatt
The Kingdom and the Power – Gay Talese