Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Paul Coggins, CEO of Adludio

Paul’s digital career goes back to 2010 when he launched Teads into the UK. In 2014, Paul became CEO of Adludio. We asked Paul to choose his Digital Hero.

  1. Who is your digital hero? 

It’s difficult to pick just one, so I have two. Firstly, it’s Marcus Villig, the CEO and founder of Estonian startup Bolt. Whilst at the other end of the internet journey, it is John Brown of John Brown Publishing. 

  1. What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

Marcus launched what is now a billion-dollar business in 2013 when he was just 19 – an age when I was more focused on what beer I was going to drink at the university bar.  However, he really came to my attention in the last few weeks when he announced that Bolt would be donating 5% of all European orders in the next two weeks to Ukraine, amounting to 5 million Euros. That is true leadership. Someone who puts values above revenue and people above business. I have no doubt he will continue to see his businesses flourish and be a true champion for European innovation.

Moving on to John Brown, he launched Viz Comic and other print masterpieces into the world in the early 1990s. He’s a “digital hero” because despite his initial internet reservations he did launch a Viz Comic website around 1996, where I got to sell some of the first banners in the UK, from recollection for The Open University. John was a brilliant manager; he was motivating, experimented with ideas and generally exuded the idea that you can have fun at work, but that a work/life balance is important. A lot of that has permeated my thinking at Adludio, where we are now fully remote, work 4 ½ days a week and ensure that staff welfare is up there as being of paramount importance.

  1. How has their heroism helped drive digital?

I love all digital entrepreneurs that prove how Europe can be as successful as Silicon Valley in creating unicorn businesses. 

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

Misinformation. This already is one of mankind’s greatest challenges. 

Misinformation, lies and fabrications, designed to benefit one cause over another, is already jeopardising people’s belief in mainstream media. And that is incredibly dangerous, as we are all currently seeing. But how do we put that back in the box? It probably needs to be done at a political level and for that we need a digitally savvy politician who works for the greater good, not the short term populist answer.

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

I honestly don’t think I have a “heroic” personal achievement. I have, however, managed to navigate the growth of the internet advertising world, from its inception in London where those of you old enough will remember how the entire digital economy would fit into a pub for drinks once a month, to the hundreds of thousands now employed in digital.  And on that journey, I’ve been able to launch and scale numerous successful digital businesses, which includes where we are now at Adludio.

My Digital Hero

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My Digital Hero: Barney Worfolk-Smith, MD, EMEA, DAIVID

Barney Worfolk-Smith is MD, EMEA, DAIVID. He’s workedin been in digital “since the agencies started ‘digital’ departments as a catch all to deal with that ‘internet stuff'”.  After leaving RealPlayer in 2009, he joined ChannelFlip which sold to Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine in 2011. After a stint at Unruly, he launched social creative agency, That Lot, selling to Weber Shandwick in 2018. He is now heading up DAIVID, founded by another former Unruly executive, Ian Forrester.


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