Richard Cook is Co-Founder of Trade House Media. With over a decade in the industry, he’s worked at companies including BT, IBM, Switch Concepts and Chalk Global.
Who is your digital hero?
Antonella Foti, currently Product Marketing Manager at Open Xchange previously Digital Trading and Partnerships Manager at Talk Talk.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
Well, I am afraid this is somewhat of a nomination that is based on personal impact. Several years ago, Antonella had the foresight and bravery to listen and explore the potential of working with somewhat of an unknown entity, my business Trade House Media.
However, where respect lies is with her ability to question the status quo and daring to think there were better ways to do things.
How has her heroism helped drive digital?
Many individuals that are employed in blue-chip companies lose their confidence, feel confined by process and their attitude to risk is diminished, therefore making decisions to stick with the norm rather than challenging it.
I’ve seen this throughout my career especially in two of the largest blue-chips in the world IBM and British Telecom. Where Antonella was different was her ability to value human relationships, connect dots and her thirst for knowledge.
Her entrepreneurial spirit enabled her to be agile in a non-agile environment and make a change to a business that would have otherwise stood still.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
There are obvious challenges with how the digital ecosystem is going to evolve with privacy laws, user behaviours and walled gardens assimilating the entire ecosystem.
What we need to focus on more so than ever, which is evident in the emergence of the appreciation of communities as a result of the global pandemic, is people connecting and collaborating.
There are too many profiteering collaborations that are interested in carving out a position for themselves rather than the industry having a free all-inclusive approach to making digital better.
No more ‘pay £10,000 to have your voice for the year’.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Heroism is a strong term and maybe not fitting, however, as a personal achievement, I think it has to be building and growing my own business with my two partners Antoine Pilate & Andrew Morgan.
We believed wholeheartedly that there was an opportunity for a service-based solution for media owners. The industry is fragmented and conflicted and non-traditional and medium-size medium owners do not have the exposure, experience, budget and sometimes desire to invest in internal advertising teams.
Therefore, creating an out of the box enterprise-level advertising solution that we can tailor for each of our media owner clients has proved successful and scaleable. refining what an old school network business should actually be, a virtual media owner that brings direct supply closer to demand and that focuses on human relationships alongside trading strategies.