Founders, Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Tink Taylor, Founder & President of dotDigital Group

September 4, 2019

Tink Taylor is the Founder & President of dotDigital Group, an AIM listed company founded in 1999 with offices in London, Surrey, Manchester, Bristol, Scotland and Belarus.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

Following my time at university where I got a first class degree in Computing & Information System I worked as a windsurfing instructor in Greece! As part of my degree I had spent a year working for a company called Sequent that was later acquired by IBM.

My job there was basically to understand how this ‘new thing’ (doesn’t that date me!) called the Internet could help companies communicate both internally and externally.

I built a number of intranets, websites and web tools as a result. Therefore whilst I was in Greece and I was bored as it wasn’t windy I built the windsurfing schools website.

This was the largest such school in the world and it was marketed as the best of the best and this came at a price so typically the clients I taught were C level.

Having noticed what I had built for the windsurf school I was soon asked if I could help them in their professional lives, they all worked for big brands.

From here I teamed up with a couple of guys and formed a web agency, Ellipsis Media. Whilst we built great websites we actually based them on the tools we used to build them. A CMS called dotEditor, an ecommerce platform called dotCommerce and the marketing tool we called dotMailer.

We had three great products, however we also had a lot of competition with much larger marketing budgets often promoting a much inferior product. So after some tough decision making we decided to focus on only one product each.

I took up the mantle of running the dotmailer side of the business. It was exciting because the recurring revenue it delivered enabled me to plan for the future in a very measured and controlled way.

The rest is history, some 20 years later the platform (now called dotdigital Engagement Cloud) is now a truly omni channel marketing automation suite, which is used globally by thousands of brands.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I reflected when writing this as over the last 20 years I have pretty much done every role in the business at some point. From being hands on coding in the platform in the beginning to running the sales, marketing and customer service teams!

Today as my titles stands I am known as Founder & President. I work extensively with our international teams especially in North America and APAC. Those that know me will be aware that I travel all the time.

I speak as a thought leader and ambassador for the business at events all over the world. I help the international teams to help them find, win and maintain relationships with our strategic partners and clients.

I work closely with our now CEO to support and offer insight and strategy as we scale our operations on all fronts.

Currently I also hold the position as Chairman, again working closely with our CEO & the board to ensure we serve our investors diligently and keep the business in line with all the required regulations as we are a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

In my life there is no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different, whether that is building new content, visiting a different event, country or new office that we have opened. This is what is fun and exciting about the role.

Obviously from a City prospective there is always a lot of documentation to review and discuss. For example this morning I was reviewing our latest trading update to the city as we have just completed this financial year.

Later in the day I had several calls and meeting with one of very large strategic partners, bringing together the technical teams on both sides to conjure up some very very exciting new offerings to their merchants. Hopefully more on this later!

Throughout my day I will often have he sales and marketing teams reaching out with various requests to help with prospects and or events that are being put on, sometimes I can feel like being a travel agent just organizing it all!

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

I am currently living on the West Coast of North American. The one thing that I have discovered here purely by luck is managing time effectively by not being a slave to your inbox.

By the time I have woken up, the best part of the day in our UK offices is over, the day in our NYC office has already started. So it is super easy for me to quickly scan my inbox delete what’s needed, then focus on the last email of any discussion thread that have occurred. these I can then plan to action if needed later in the day.

Equally the APAC region comes online from about 4pm local time. Therefore I typically plan my days around serving my inbox first thing in the morning and then again and only again later in the afternoon.

This has allowed me to generate plenty of time in the middle of the day to crack on with my important tasks, and have some downtime as well.

This is a routine I maintain no matter where I am in the world, I’ve found it really works. No one has ever questioned the speed of response. This has also allowed me to be more considered and less reactive to every issue or discussion that comes my way. This for sure has made me far more effective as well as efficient.

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5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life, and what are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

Well as I said above I have carved out the middle of my day ‘to get stuff done’ and that includes non work stuff as well.

My hours are often long due to the nature of a global business, sometimes I might be up at 4am in the morning getting ready for a board meeting, or on a conference call to Australia at mid night. Therefore I have to find time during the day.

I am very fortunate to spend a lot of time in Whistler Canada in between my travels. This provides me with a wonderful playground all year round, whether that is snowboarding in the winter, to mountain biking, hiking, kiting surfing or swimming in the lakes in the summer.

Its really important that you find such time. I helps clear the mind whilst also providing thinking time especially in my role these days, on how things should be communicated both internally or externally.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

The biggest challenge I have to over come is my infectious enthusiasm. I have perhaps at times over the years learnt the hard way. I am very aware that what I say and do can really resonate with people.

It would be easy for me to easy to crush someone by accident. So the time I afford myself to think about my communications has really helped me make sure that when I make an impact, I do so in a positive way.

When you focus on this it becomes very easy to make people feel very special, there is nothing more motivational for people if you do this.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

This is a question I like to avoid. The short answer is no! My belief is that you can not suddenly read a book and say ‘Hey I’m going to be like that guy.’

I think its really important to firstly understand yourself and how you fit into your work and personal ecosystems that you live amongst. Understand your strengths and play them to your advantage, go out there and succeed at that.

Then perhaps write your own story!

Those close to me know me as the ultimate networker! I find if far more rewarding to meet new people, and figure out what has made them successful.

Many folks in industry have become very close friends and with that I am able to share war stories with them. Doing this has provided me with so many tips on what to do or not to do.

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Think before acting! Take time to plan then execute your communications. One thing I have done for years is to put a delay on my outbox. This means that once an email is written.

I give myself a few minutes additional thinking time. I might want to add a key point I had forgot or want to reword what I have written to ensure I deliver the right positive impact on the recipient.

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