This week we talk to Leo Harrison, Founder of performance marketing search agency Found about the days of Artemis 8, what’s changed in the years he’s been in the industry and how he’s been spending his days since taking a step back from the London rat-race.
Who would you most like to have breakfast with?
I think Lemmy from Motorhead would have some good tales to tell, but I’m not sure he’d be up in time.
Maybe Harry Redknapp as I’d love to use a bottle of Daddies to demonstrate how Peter “Stringyfellow” Crouch could pull off to the back stick while egg soldier Gareth “he was born to play for spurs” Bale nutmegs the right-back and whips in a first time cross. Triffic.
Definitely not Arsene Wenger though, unless I could force feed him lasagna.
You’re no longer immersed in the London rat-race…what are you doing with yourself on an average day?
Taking a back seat in the business has been really well timed. My wife, Sita, has just had her first children’s book published – Artichoke Hearts [insert affiliate link here!!]. It’s been really well reviewed and won the Waterstone’s Prize in February, so she’s been inundated with signing requests and promotional visits to schools. Being around to do stuff with the kids has been great. Once they’ve left the front door, an average day will see me starting with some exercise, then I’ll check business reports and a bunch of industry newsletters. Keeping tabs on the affiliate world is still really important to me. Then, before the kids come home, I’ll do some writing of my own. There’s a novel in me somewhere and I’ve been playing around with a few story lines – watch this space… but please don’t hold your breath. I also borrow one of my son’s guitars and watch some YouTube tutorials – I can now play a couple of songs very, very slowly. Then it’s kids back, homework, cooking, Black Ops, Horrid Henry, glass of wine…. Oh the glamour.
Do you miss anything from the Artemis days in the thick of affiliate?
Sometimes I miss it all, even the difficult times. Being involved in such a rapidly evolving industry meant that there was never a dull moment and almost every problem had a creative solution. I suppose the thing I miss most on a daily basis are the people in the industry – too many lovely folk to mention and only one or two “disappointing” characters. Considering how close we are to the world of advertising, that really is a miracle to be celebrated.
What is your driving focus at the moment…any top secret plans afoot?
Apart from the novel and guitar playing? Yes.
How does Found today differ from the initial Artemis? What were the key secrets and decisions that lay behind this remarkable development?
I believe we still have the same core elements: amazing staff combined with an agile and a friendly approach to our business relationships. I think what we have now though, is a very strong identity with much greater refinement and definition to our methodology. Much of this is down to the hard work and vision of our wonderful management team, led by the brilliant Tina Judic, MD.
You’re nominated for a few awards, congratulations! How happy are you with where the business is at right now?
It’s always a great honour to be nominated, especially when you look at the strength of fellow nominees. A great testament to our fantastic team. Very happy with how things are going right now, but there’s a lot more to do and no-one should ever be foolish enough to rest on their laurels.
You’ve been to your fair share of industry events, is there a favorite affiliate anecdote that springs to mind…preferably embarrassing to yourself or another?
Wow, my opportunity to make so many people suffer! But I couldn’t do that as they’ve already paid me. One of the few good things about getting older (29 again next birthday) is that you don’t get embarrassed so easily, or you just don’t care. I am, of course, a teetotal, perfect gentleman and that helps to keep me out of harm’s way. There is a video out there of me doing some moves with a belly dancer and I once got mistaken for Mark “2 pints” Almond, but those are tales for less public consumption. One gentle story where I did laugh long and heartily was when I witnessed a newby affiliate being introduced to the marketing director at SKY. He shook her hand and then spent ages talking about the poor reception he was receiving from his satellite dish and how he was missing Deadliest Catch! Legend.
If the deity of your choice left you in charge of the affiliate industry for 5 days…where would you start?
I would go all Buddhist and introduce true karma into the business. Terrible vengeance would befall the serial cheats and scammers, while the riches of heaven await those who work hard and play by the rules. I’d also move the whole industry to Panama.
What’s the last thing you bought online? Can you remember your customer journey
I just ordered the CD/DVD “Awesome as ****” by Green Day [surely another affiliate link?]. I could say it was for my 12 year old son, but that would be a lie. Customer Journey? 1 Click Order on Amazon’s iPhone app. Sorry.
Next week we interview Esme Marchant at uSwitch.com.
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