Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50Over50 – Martin Child

We think it’s time to recognise and celebrate the true talent in our industry, the creatives, technologists, founders and leaders that are really driving our industry and shaping society, who just happen to be over 50.

Martin Child is a seasoned internet entrepreneur. Driving digital since the early 1990s, he led Overture in the UK before its acquisition by Yahoo in 2004 and spent 12 years leading Webloyalty. He is currently a board advisor at DSquares.

What one thing are you proudest of in your career?

Probably the work we did in the mid-nineties with John Major’s government and the DTI designing and running projects to help bring technology and the internet to both consumers and small businesses.

In the same year we ran the first online donation website for Comic Relief – both of these initiatives helped the spread of commercialisation of the internet and the move away from websites being seen as online brochures.

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

I think experience gives you a much better overall perspective on what you or a business is trying and capable of achieving and makes planning success clearer.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?

Helping businesses understand the balance between execution and strategic planning and giving the right weight to each and the right time.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

Don’t just chase the money – do a great job, be true to yourself and the rewards will come.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Trust your instinct, follow your heart and don’t make the same mistake twice.

What is the biggest mistake companies are making in their attitude to age today?

I think generally there is a view that drive and commitment diminish over the years and this makes older people less attractive to companies.

Actually, if you have the attitude and capability to make a company grow and succeed, that never leaves you – you may have different drivers but the attitude doesn’t change much.

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

For me it’s about how technology is allowing the increased personalisation of experiences.

The costs of collection, storage and management of data will soon allow for genuine individual communication which will make for a much stronger relationship between consumers and brands.

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

There’s still a lot of smoke and mirrors and companies claiming to do things, couched in oblique marketing speak, which they really don’t.

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