A day in my working life, an occasional series providing an insight into how entrepreneurs spend a typical working day. This week, Stephen O’Malley from Fast Web Media.
Stephen is the Head of Agency at Fast Web Media, and is overseeing the re-boot of the agency to ensure its suitability to work with the biggest and best brands and organisations on digital marketing strategies and campaigns. Stephen is based in the central London office of Mporium Group PLC, the parent company of Fast Web Media.
Stephen’s typical working day is as follows.
05:50: After creeping around the house, under strict instructions not to wake my wife or daughter, I walk the mile to Chelmsford Station in time for the 06.14 to London Liverpool St. Travelling at this time makes for a much nicer commute, even if it means foregoing an hour’s sleep. If you’d have told me ten years ago, when I made the move from Manchester to the south east, that I would be quite happily getting up at 05.20 most days, I’d have suggested otherwise, quite strongly. My then commute from Didsbury to the Fast Web Media office in central Manchester was 30 minutes’ door to door, and I actually used to get frustrated about that, and it seems a very long time ago. On the train, I resist the urge to look at my emails or the BBC News & Sport apps, and try and practice the mindfulness and meditation techniques I learned earlier this year on a very insightful eight-week course. The smartphone usually wins the battle though.
07:15: I’m usually first in the Mporium London office on New Bond St, and I’ll indulge in coffee and toast with any other early arrivals. Every day I’ll say I will have porridge and a green tea, but it ends up as a strong coffee and toast with peanut butter as my willpower is extremely challenged at this time of day. In order to ensure I feel I’m aware of the ‘news’ in the digital marketing & technology sectors, I’ll check out the updates on these websites, The Drum, Campaign Live, and BusinessInsider UK. I haven’t read a print newspaper or magazine for years, and I do try and look at these publications on my large desktop screen rather than my phone as it’s a nicer experience. I’ll then spend the remaining time up to 09.00 preparing for all the calls and meetings for the day, as this allows me the capacity to take unscheduled chats without causing me any issues.
09:00: There’s a ‘thing’ on LinkedIn right now with people inexplicably divulging their morning routines and it’s all getting a bit Monty Python ‘Four Yorkshireman’. In the sketch a group of four old men from Yorkshire talk about how it was like for them growing up. They complain about how difficult life was for them, and how early they’d have to start work, with one stating that he had to ‘get up’ before he’d actually gone to bed. However I’d like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that for my regular two-day trip to work in the Manchester office, I get up (in Essex) at 04.15 so I can be in the Manchester office by 09.00. Please don’t tell LinkedIn though, or Eric Idle for that matter.
I usually have my first call with one of the FWM Leadership Team members at 09.00 and the call could be about a client, an issue with the office, HR, or even some digital strategy assistance for a client or colleague. When I get the chance to get my ‘hands dirty’ I really enjoy it, as that’s the reason I got into the internet in the first place (over 20 years ago) and it’s what I really enjoy. I spent 13 years running a football website and every day would be like an adventure in terms of overcoming new challenges, as digital just refuses to stand still.
10:00: A couple of days a week I will travel to west London, to the Gfinity Arena, home of one of FWM’s most important client’s, Gfinity Esports. They enable gamers from around the world to watch and participate in gaming tournaments (Gfinity Challenger and Elite Series) both online and live at the Arena. Even though I’m a bit too long in the tooth to participate in gaming, being around an emerging commercial sector is really exciting, and has many parallels to the dawn of the internet and the advent of smartphones. It’s great for FWM as lots of big brands are keen to understand how they can capitalise on this latest trend, as the sector provides a wealth of marketing opportunities. At Gfinity, I get to sit in on the weekly broadcast & digital production meetings, and this client allows FWM the opportunity to do some really interesting work at the cutting edge of digital.
12:30: I try and offset the side effect of multiple lattes by going to the gym at least three times per week, and I find that lunchtime works best for me, and an hour or running/cycling/cross-training helps me physically and mentally, as it’s another important period of calm/solitude in the day which I use to collect my thoughts and consider my next steps on any issues or projects. Exercise is really important to everyone in the agency, and the Leadership Team encourage everyone to join in, and this friendly persuasion really works. Once you’ve got used to the idea of going, you find you don’t really want to miss a day, and that’s got to be better than walking around the shops or even heading to the pub, which was the standard lunchtime when I was in my mid-twenties. A light lunch follows and it’s usually something from a supermarket that comes in a plastic tub like soup or pasta.
15:00: I’ll have lots of calls most days, so I have invested in a headset which can carry audio, Skype or conference calls, and it’s really helped me in terms of being free to type notes as I speak, rather than struggle to remember what was said or try and decipher my own handwriting/shorthand hybrid. However, I like to have at least one face to face meeting each day, and as the vast majority of the FWM team are based in Manchester I have to hope someone’s travelled to London or I can meet with one of my colleagues in our parent company, Mporium, whose office I am based in. I’m fortunate that the members of the FWM Leadership Team enjoy a trip to the capital and that allows me the chance to spend time to catch up and talk though their projects and any issues.
17:30: I try and leave the office at 17.30 every day in order to get home in time for some dad duties with my 7-year-old daughter, Amelia. I know it’s a bit of a cliché but it’s my favourite part of the day, and I believe it’s really important to spend at least an hour with her talking-to her about her day and telling her about mine. She knows all about the company and my colleagues, and feels like she’s part of the team. She wants to be a ‘Pixar Animator’ when she grows up, and I certainly won’t be trying to dissuade her.
22:00: My wife and I sit down to watch a box set type series for an hour after dinner, and it’s a good chance to unwind before ensuring I get my seven hours’ sleep.
For further information please visit: fastweb.media