Voices of The Industry: Meet Alex Price
For someone only in their mid 20’s, Alex Price has achieved far more than most.
He is the founder and managing director of one of the most unique and exciting businesses in the UK, which started its life 5 years ago in Price’s bedroom. Since 93digital’s inception, he has since been included twice in the BIMA 100 of the “people shaping the future of the digital industry”, named as The Drum’s “Agency Rising Star” of 2016 and lead 93digital to a Top 100 UK Independent Digital Agency in under 3 years.
We sat down with him to catch up and talk all things tech.
You are the founder & MD of 93digital at such a young age. How did you come up with the idea and the business?
I had an argument with my mum when I was 15. She told me if I wanted some money to go and see some friends in London I needed to help her with some house chores. From a young age I’ve always valued my independence, and remember thinking at the time I didn’t want to be dependent on my mum, or do house chores. I had always been into technology and used to build my own computers as a teenager, but decided I would teach myself how to make websites to try and make some money.
I eventually started doing small odd jobs editing websites for £6 per hour in my bedroom. Fast forward a few years and I had somehow accidentally started and scaled an agency (without actually knowing what an agency was at the time). We’re now ranked as one of the Top 100 Independent Agencies in the UK based on client feedback, financial growth and awards won for our work.
How does a Wordpress agency work? Can you give us a quick snapshot of a typical day at 93digital?
As an agency I see ourselves as an extension of our client’s team. Our clients come to us with a challenge, problem or something they want to achieve, and they choose to work with us because we’re a team of dedicated specialists who can deliver results for them. As a team we’re made up of lots of roles across design, development, project management, marketing etc, so a typical day can vary depending on your role.
My role these days is predominantly focused on new business, flying the flag for 93digital by meeting with partners and clients, speaking at events and building the team. A big part of my role is ensuring we stay ahead of the curve, spotting the latest trends and painting a picture of the future for our clients. I’m still very involved with finances and agency operations at a top level, trying to ensure the agency as a whole is a well oiled and smooth running machine and that we makes everyone’s lives as easy as possible.
What has the rest of 2018 got in store for 93digital? Are there any exciting projects you can tell us about?
We’re working on some super exciting projects at the moment. We’ve spent the best part of the last year redesigning and developing the website for Physics World magazine which has been a challenge but a great case study, and we’ve recently relaunched the new Media Centre for Amnesty International which is a case study I’m super proud of. I can’t tell you much about the things on the way at the moment, but they are just as exciting.
From meeting you a number of times previously, it’s evident you are a very tech-savvy gentleman. There has been a lot of recent spotlight on the Fintech sector and the effect Brexit will potentially have on the way it works. What do you think the main impacts will be?
I’m blushing! We do a lot of work in the Fintech sector having designed and built a number of websites that sit at the heart of growth and marketing strategies of leading Fintechs, and we’ve also just done a big piece of market research on the sector so I know there has been some uncertainty from talking to clients. My opinion is that London is and will remain the Fintech capital of the world after Brexit. We have the connectivity, talent and strategic combination of both leading financial institutions and technologists to continue making Fintech a success in the UK.
There’s a big gender gap in tech. What do you think can be done to combat it and make tech more approachable for women?
There is a big gender gap, but fortunately there is also a big group of awesome people doing great work to try and make the gap smaller.
The British Interactive Media Association’s (BIMA) Diversity Council is working on a number of initiatives around gender diversity (and diversity on all other fronts too, not just gender). I sit on BIMA’s Young Talent Council where we work with schools to raise awareness of opportunities in digital and this is a great way of reaching more young women. Organisations like Creative Equals are also well worth supporting.
As an agency owner, I know I need to be proactive to ensure that my hiring strategy reaches all parts of society - people of all genders, of all beliefs and different backgrounds. There’s plenty of data to show that diverse businesses perform better, so the benefits can be really tangible for everyone.
From your point of view, how much do you think the constant innovations and new technology enable companies to grow and develop and add to their success? Do you think new technology and innovations are only available for large companies?
Technology and innovation are there to be embraced by all, but businesses need the right people in them or the right partners to help them understand how they can use the latest innovations and technology to drive success, especially when things move so fast in our world. To some extent that’s why agencies like us exist, to fill that knowledge gap and help our clients stay ahead.
I think for smaller businesses, it can be more difficult to find the time and money to spend on innovation, but then I think smaller businesses are naturally more innovative anyway given the way they are typically structured and operate. At 93digital we close for a whole day once a month to focus on internal innovation and optimising the way we work. We’ve found this is the only way to drive things forwards without client work always taking priority, and it has already started adding value back to our clients.
Which new tech trends do you believe will make an actual impact on society?
The one to watch for me is Augmented Reality. I think Virtual Reality has kind of already been and gone. It’s impressive in certain use cases and I think it will continue to grow within the entertainment and gaming sectors, but you look like a bit of a muppet whilst you’re wearing a headset and you can’t see anything outside of it.
The really exciting opportunity for me will be when Augmented Reality is able to be overlaid on top of the world around us. I think the opportunities are enormous, from the education sector to the construction sector and everything in between. As the technology is improved and able to be made smaller and lighter, the potential to impact society is huge. Whether that impact is for good or for bad is another question, but there will be an impact!
How important do you think it is to have the right software to set you up for success? And which software solutions do you find most helpful in your day to day life?
Extremely important. Businesses like my own have been able to scale very quickly thanks to software that helps to drive insights, transparency and process.
I can’t survive day to day without my task list (I use an app called TickTick at the moment) and am a big fan of cloud based tools that allow me to keep an eye on all the parts of my business at a glance. We run on Google Suite so use this for email, documents and spreadsheets. We use Xero for accounting, Teamwork for project management, Harvest & Forecast for time sheeting and resource scheduling and Slack for team communications.
Finally, what bits of tech could you not live without?
My iPhone X gives me most of the software mentioned above in my pocket, so is pretty vital (if only the battery lasted longer). I have a few computers, but I couldn’t live without my 12 inch MacBook. I’m on the move a lot so having something thin and light but that I can work really efficiently from wherever I am is really important. I once went for a 20 mile cycle and it is so light I didn’t realise I had it in my backpack the whole time.
Alex Price is the founder and MD of 93digital. An award winning digital marketer, Alex is a visiting lecturer at London South Bank University.
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