Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Guy Jones, Co-Founder, The GoodNet

Guy Jones is Co-Founder The GoodNet, which delivers advertising results whilst doing Good. Guy previously worked in digital roles at business including The Guardian, eBay, Immediate Media and Global. Julia Connaughton is Strategy Director, DAX, at Global chose Guy as her digital hero, now he passes on the honour.

Who is your digital hero?

Steve Wing.

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

I count myself incredibly fortunate that Steve was one of my first bosses when I joined the industry as a bushy-tailed, yet largely useless, twenty-five year old. He taught me a huge amount, but I’d distil it down to two main things.

Firstly, Steve has an intellectual restlessness than manifests in a desire to understand and drive the cutting edge of our industry. He is brilliant at positioning himself at the heart of what’s new and most exciting, and at giving his teams the opportunities to learn and grow from that.

I was always struck by Steve’s incredibly ability lead and to build, rather than only manage and maintain. I hope that’s something I’ve carried with me since.

Secondly, and most importantly, is Steve’s enormous level of personal integrity. He treats people with consideration and respect, follows through on what he says he will do, and proves that empathy and toughness can absolutely go together. Ultimately, it’s difficult to do better than Steve when looking for a personal and professional role model.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

To put it simply, Steve’s vision, and his ability to execute, were pivotal in driving the digital and commercial transformation of The Guardian – one of the most important media businesses anywhere in the world. Not a bad thing to have on the CV!

More broadly though, I know so many people across our industry whose experience working for, or with, Steve continues to shape the work they do. Across the world of publishing and ad tech Steve’s impact is felt through the people he has led, mentored and developed.

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

Some challenges are about our industry itself, and some touch on the bigger issues of the world beyond . And there’s nothing more critical in the latter respect than sustainability. Digital advertising has an incredible opportunity to drive global change by reducing its own environmental impact, by supercharging the growth of more sustainable products and services, and by helping fund media that inspires and educates people towards more sustainable lifestyles.

It’s perfectly possible to run campaigns that drive business outcomes, whilst also delivering on a variety of ethical media metrics. There’s been a huge amount of noise in this space over the past few years, and we’re seeing an increasing number of brands and agencies start to take meaningful concrete steps.

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

After years of saying I was not the kind of person who could ever start my own business, I started my own business! Ollie Deane and I launched The GoodNet just over two years ago and it’s been an incredible period of growth – both as a company and from a personal perspective.

After a career spent in the corporate world, nothing could have prepared me for just how challenging and different being a founder is, but it’s incredibly rewarding to build an amazing team, to see the market’s appetite for products such as GoodIQ, and to receive industry recognition at events like the Campaign Tech Awards.

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