We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.
Anjali Ramachandran was picked by Amy Kean as her Digital Hero. Now it’s her turn to choose. Anjali is the co-founder of Ada’s List, a global network for women in technology and a director of Storythings, a content studio with clients including the BBC, Google and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Who is your digital hero?
I have a few digital heroes who I also consider my friends but I don’t want them to think I prefer one over the other! I’m going to go with Jamie Coomber-Blunden, whom I also think is great.
Jamie is currently Global Marketing Director at Moo, and was previously Marketing Director at Sonos and Converse.
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
When I was starting out in the UK digital industry, she was immensely kind to me, helping me settle in to the new digital/tech network in London when I moved to the city.
One of the things I really believe in is that it’s important to treat people with kindness, and Jamie really did treat me with kindness when I most needed it. I mean it was around the time when the financial crash happened, and it was not a good time to be networking.
Apart from that, I love the work she’s done with Sonos and Converse. She worked with Dazed to bring to life a set of podcasts featuring British music talent, and also held a ‘listening amnesty’ at King’s Cross in 2016 where people could exchange their ‘listening fails’ for a new Sonos device.
At Converse, she was responsible for the Chuck Hacks, bringing people in to design their own version of Converse Chucks, which I thought was very fun.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
Jamie is one of those people who does things that feel real and authentic. In an age where every brand and their sister is trying to make a noise in an over-saturated market, what she does aren’t just campaigns, but projects that have a real avenue for fans to participate.
More people who run brand marketing should take a leaf out of her book.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
We need people who can build a media organisation that does not sell people’s data without their explicit consent. We need new models for audiences to consume content.
I know advertising is what the free internet runs on but there are ways of building audiences that do not involve skulduggery. My colleague at Storythings, Matt Locke, has written a lot about the public media stack, and we’re looking to host an invite-only summit on this matter in New York in a few months, so stay tuned.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I wouldn’t call it heroic but I’m a co-founder of Ada’s List, a global network for women working in technology. We’re at nearly 7000 members, growing every month through word of mouth.
We strongly believe in changing the status quo, making the technology industry more inclusive and diverse and giving women a seat at the table where it matters. We have hundreds of members who’ve got new jobs that have helped them in their careers as a result, many who’ve made valuable business connections, found women to feature in their publications, or got speaking opportunities.
All this is really levelling the playing field so I’m proud to play a part in it. Anyone (whether a member or not, male allies included) can sign up to our newsletter here as a quick way of supporting us.