Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Tom Holt, Head of Strategy at UNRVLD

Tom Holt is Head of Strategy at UNRVLD and a recently awarded entry into the BIMA 100. We asked who his digital hero is.

Who is your digital hero?

Chris Tse – Founding Director and Head of Product at Cardstack

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

The word pioneer is used all too often in marketing but Chris is a true visionary. Back in 2015, Chris was looking at the issues with the current iteration of the internet and the evolving Web3 landscape and identified the future need for an experience layer on top of the new decentralised internet.

This was when he formed Cardstack – a low code, composable software development ecosystem or as they call it “The collaborative OS for Web3”. Chris is a hero in my eyes, as he started working on something most people still don’t realise they will need yet and has been totally committed to his vision.

For the last 7 years he has developed Cardstack and built awareness through continuous and passionate communication with the digital community. He has carefully invested seed funding to weather the volatile market cycles and has created solid foundations for future growth of the Cardstack ecosystem.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Cardstack wants to develop an open internet that is in favour of the end user and to break down the dependency on, and global dominance of, big tech such companies as Google. His project provides a mechanism for developers to monetise their code in a fair and transparent way and ensures that code is portable and can out live the platforms on which it is hosted.

This really is groundbreaking stuff. Chris has made people look at emerging technology in new ways and has encouraged technology strategists like myself and solution architects to consider new ways of approaching system design with a focus on composability which brings with it a raft of benefits including increased agility, scalability, usability and more. 

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Without wanting to sound political, I think the biggest challenge we have globally right now is fake news, digital propaganda wrapped up as news, and personalised news feeds based on algorithms that provide a biased view of the world in one direction or another. Misinformation is so dangerous and is highly divisive.

Our social platforms that know everything about us have been hijacked with melicious intent. So much so that our behaviour has become predictable and controllable. We need everyone to become their own super hero and to wake up to this and to start being aware of the dangers of freely giving away personal data and to adopt new decentralised, secure and ethical technologies to change the status quo and our lives for the better.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

My biggest professional achievement was the Digital Transformation we delivered for The Open. This was a three year change programme in which I played a lead role as Solutions Director from start to finish. This was a highly complex project involving a large number of integrations and requiring close collaboration with multiple third party vendors.

We delivered a highly innovative and personalised multistate website including a bespoke ticket builder and immersive live event and live blog experience, much of which was automated based on live data feeds. The Open sold out in advance for the first time in its history and the site handled 3.6m unique users over the 5 Day Championship without issue.

This resulted in Delete (now UNRVLD) winning Sitecore’s Ultimate Experience Award in 2019 which is something I am still highly proud of