Automation; coming over here, taking our jobs…

The idea that the machines are taking over is certainly not a new idea, one that is as old as technology itself. In more recent times, the full integration of digital technology into our daily lives has led to the realisation of just how dependent we are upon it, sending even the more sensible among us into raving paranoiacs every time a story on AI pops up in your Twitter Feed. Inevitably, every news story segment of a self-driving car or of a drone dropping a parcel or something more destructive leads to exponentially rising cortisol levels.

It seems unlikely that there is any base for these fears for the immediate future – we’ve been worrying about this since Frankenstein and the aborted Luddite movement – and it is far more likely that it instead betrays a much deeper fear stemming from the stresses and insecurities which characterise our age. Long gone are the certainties we once had, such as in the free market, religion and the belief that each generation’s lot would be better than the last. Living in the 21st century is a difficult task with financial crises, terrorist threats, climate change, not to mention the more nearer term fears such as higher costs of living, declining opportunities for the young and poor and all before you start worrying about Siri’s imperial ambitions. Given these trends and the great pace of change we’re experiencing, it is entirely likely that the way in which Tudor society appears to us today will be similar to the way our grandchildren will look back at us in the future.

Whether you believe that AI will enslave the human race or not, in the short to medium term, millions of jobs will be lost – 15 million in the UK according to the Bank of England recently – without an immediate uplift in jobs being created. Automation will transform and disrupt not only blue collar jobs but also professional occupations in law, accountancy and financial services. Wanting to end on an optimistic note, however, these innovations have the potential to remove drudgery (both physical and administrative) from human existence with the remaining jobs serving to harness our natural creativity, interpersonal skills and will make working life a far more rounded and fulfilling experience.

Spencer Corin

‘People, People, People…..’ says Lopo Champalimaud

Last week we went to a thoroughly enjoyable event hosted by Forward Partners, featuring Lopo Champalimaud, the co-founder & CEO of the recently rebranded Treatwell (x Wahanda).

He treated us to some great insights in the life of a serial entrepreneur. Since 1994 he has founded three business and led two others, and while he has been successful in uniting and identifying fractured marketplaces, he cited his ability to surround himself with exceptional talent as one of his key reasons for success.

For business leaders of companies of all sizes, hiring and retaining the very best talent is at the core of a successful business. At the heart of retaining talent, Lopo highlighted, was empowerment and attitude.

Treating the functional-leaders like mini-CEOs and giving them the autonomy will if they have the right attitude, produce the best results. Furthermore, giving people on the frontlines the trust and the resources they need to succeed will produce quicker, faster and better decision-making. They’ll also be more engaged with the business and naturally empowered by their contribution. Themes like “empowerment”, “autonomy”, “trust” and “contribution” are consistent in engaging and retaining the best talent.

Lopo has successfully surrounded himself with excellent functional leaders at Treatwell. He recognised a consistent hiring issue we see with many start-ups, that is that it is essential to hire leaders who are ready not just for the size and shape of the business today, but for the business of the future.

This is typically one of the most challenging aspects of leadership searches. For example, in a Marketing Director search we are managing for a P2P Fintech lender, one of the biggest challenges has been in testing the individual’s hands-on/executional ability as they’ve become more strategic throughout their recent career. This is especially prominent in FinTech where we often have to headhunt outside of Financial Services. It is essential that a start-up has leaders with a healthy mix of both future customer focus and a natural execution focus.

Like many entrepreneurs around the world, Lopo reinforced the point several times that surrounding yourself with ‘exceptional people’ and giving them the tools they need to succeed is at the absolute core of building a successful business, no matter the size. Get it wrong at your peril.

Our Annual Digital Business Leaders Cocktail Party 2015

Last Thursday we had the rather enviable task of hosting some of Europe’s leading Digital Business Leaders at our annual cocktail party at the Hospital Club. CEOs, Founders, Entrepreneurs & Digital Leaders of both startups & established corporates mixed with peers drawn from a variety of consumer sectors including; Retail, Consumer, Travel, FinTech, Banking, Marketplaces, and Technology.

Our aim for the evening was to host an informal gathering of 100 Digital Business Leaders where everyone benefited in some way perhaps by; gaining a new way of solving a customer proposition learnt from a completely different sector, a new advisory/NED role, a collaboration between Digital Labs or a potential investment opportunity ideally whilst having great fun in the process….

Rupert, Richard and I are immensely proud of the evening and the kind words of appreciation shared since. It seems everyone had fun, did meet some new faces and I hear that a few investment leads are also being initiated off the back of the event.

On a personal basis, whilst losing the Princedale vs Insead alumni Table Tennis Grudge Match still grates, I had a fantastic time and met some truly inspirational Digital Business Leaders who I look forward to helping in the future.

The event was also a chance to celebrate our successes over the last year and the tremendous growth we’ve achieved since Rupert established Princedale Partners in 2012 alongside so many of our close network across the digital economy. We’d like to thank the excellent Hospital Club for hosting our event and most importantly our guests for making it such a success.

Spencer Corin – Researcher

Recent activity

Well the last few weeks has been very interesting and indeed busy with positive developments for the business. After throwing a successful and enjoyable Digital Business Leaders Drinks Party @ Bounce in London, we were invited to meet the Digital Adviser to David Cameron at No.10 Downing Street which was fascinating and a great honour for us to discuss the Digital economy in such an amazing place.

We have also launched this month our interim practice off the back of a high demand from clients needing deeply experienced experts to help with shorter term digital projects. We have a strong network now of specialist interim candidates who are on hand to help with key initiatives from digital growth strategy to CRM and Loyalty Management.

And finally we have updated our website to share with you some of the clients we’ve worked with in the last year or so. Do get in touch if we can help with anything related to the subject of hiring digital leadership talent across Europe.

Highlights of a Digital Headhunter looking back on 2013

At the first year anniversary since establishing Princedale Partners I am both heartened and proud to have taken the decision to establish the company and to have worked with some of the most loved brands in both the UK and globally.

The niche we’re carving out is to be the most knowledgeable, connected and consultative specialist digital headhunters in Europe.

Unlike other recruiters in the digital space, our focus is in helping advise and recruit world class digital leaders for established, typically listed consumer businesses. We have on occasion helped some fascinating growth start-up businesses with Board appointments but typically it’s the established brands across; Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel, Media and Financial Services that we have worked with in 2013.

A few highlights include:

  • Being contacted by one of the top three brands in the world to conduct their European Digital Director search.
  • Working on one of the most high profile Digital Marketing Director searches in the UK supermarket sector.
  • Hiring a Managing Director (Germany) for a multi-billion dollar listed international technology business.
  • Setting up our Digital Interim practice where we’ve made a number of placements for seasoned digital professionals to help clients with assignments lasting from 3 – 6 months.
  • Hiring a terrific Researcher who has been great from the get-go and who I can already see huge potential in long term.
  • Being asked to be on a high profile Digital Advisory Board for one of the largest and highly respected organisations in the UK.
  • Launching the new service of creating Digital Advisory Boards (DAB’s) for clients that recognise they need insight from highly experienced digital specialists to help them advise and plan for the future to best engage with their customers.