Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Michael Acton Smith, Co-Founder, Calm

My Digital Hero is a series where we ask industry leaders to nominate their own hero, someone that’s inspired them in their journey to the top.

Michael Acton Smith is Co-Founder of Calm, the first mental health startup to achieve unicorn status, gaining a $1bn valuation in 2019.

Acton Smith is one of the UK’s leading tech entrepreneurs, and before moving to Silicon Valley to launch Calm, founded Mind Candy, the creator of hugely successful gaming brand Moshi Monsters.

Who is your digital hero?

Basketball player LeBron James.

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

 He’s not just an extraordinary basketball player but also one of the greatest athletes of all time.

That said, he’s much more than an athlete and uses his powerful social platform to promote causes close to his heart. One in particular is the importance of not just physical but mental fitness to the next generation of kids.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

His posts are authentic, honest, inspiring and entertaining.

Elements that are missing in so much of social media these days.

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

The proliferation of echo chambers and fake content.

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

Creating ‘Sleep Stories’ with the brilliant team at Calm.

We reimagined the bedtime story and mixed beautiful tales with music, sounds effects and some of the world’s most soothing voices to create a new way for people to drift off to dreamland.

It was an unusual experiment when we launched it but now over 190 million of our Sleep Stories have been listened to and positively transformed bedtimes all around the world.