In episode 11 of Media Will Eat Itself, I talk to David Kelly, founder of Storm Consultancy, a nimble business that began as a bridge for people looking for something in between traditional creative services and what the tech giants usually offer.
I’ve known David on and off for a number of years, having worked on projects with him in the past, and as an observer to the great work he does as part of the Bath Digital Festival. His role in raising the profile of the city of Bath as a creative, digital marketplace is admirable, and it’s one of the reasons I invited him onto the show.We touch on many subjects, such as the difference between tech-savvy client expectations and artificial intelligence.
I particularly enjoyed David's reflections on the difference between personal and work life when it comes to technology. We expect a level of technology in our personal lives that we seem content to have dismissed or ignored in our working lives, yet why do we accept this? Why do we accept Excel 97 spreadsheets at work when we have Siri or Alexa in our pockets, and automatically heated seats in our cars? This disparity is something David and the Storm team enjoy passing on to clients: that there's no reason to not hit the same standards of technology in the workplace.
01:09 Skip the intro. This is where the main conversation begins.
01:57 David Kelly describes how Storm got started. He and his lifelong friend Adam combined their knowledge of business and computer science, learned "what not to do", and started a company that, as of writing, is approaching its 10th anniversary.
04:25 What's the reason for not growing the business in terms of headcount?
05:35 What is the Bath Digital Festival all about? David talks about being one of the founders, and how the event has grown over the years. He also describes his love of Bath and how it's a such a creative hub that takes advantage of its size. "There's just enough people for there to be momentum," he says. "If it all boils down to the same five people, love and energy runs out."
10:20 Who are Storm's more rewarding clients: the tech-savvy or the tech-shy? "The people we look for are the people excited about using technology," says David.
13:28 What is it about people's obsession with artificial intelligence (AI)? Part of what Storm is doing is "taking the veil off AI, because most of AI is neither artificial nor intelligent!"
15:30 I ask David about change management, and how much it's a part of the business.
20:25 How does Storm market itself?
"Almost all of what we do is tell the story of the clients we're working with – sharing in their successes and celebrating with them. Most of our business then comes through referral."
22:00 Let's talk about WordPress! I worked with David a few years ago on a WordPress project. I ask him whether the popular CMS is still an important part of his business, and how things have moved on in terms of how WordPress has evolved. (For the CMS geeks like me out there, we get into Gutenberg.)
27:40 How much has technology changed since David was young, and what trends does he foresee?