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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Tamara Littleton

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to this programme, it’s called Jazz Shapers, I am sure you knew that, it’s where the Shapers of Business join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues and I am Elliot Moss. Thank you very much for joining. My guest today, is Tamara Littleton, Founder and CEO of The Social Element – what a great name. A social media agency advising some of the world’s biggest brands on how to use social media to solve business challenges. Having left her role running a BBC web team, Tamara established Emoderation back in 2002 before the explosion of the thing we now know as social media. The company aimed to help brands protect themselves and users online. She started the business with £10,000 from her parents and ran it from a garage using a remote workforce. The working model she feels is of the future having seen the impact of flexible working on gender parity. We’ll be talking lots about that. Emoderation rebranded as The Social Element in 2017 following social media and team growth and they are now 300 people strong and this person in front of me has to be responsible for all of them. Tamara also Co-founded Pulpeo, a crisis simulation platform for brands and their agencies so they could prepare for how a crisis will affect them online. We’ll be talking to Tamara in a few minutes about all of this, being a champion of the diversity LGBTQ and female entrepreneurial agenda and her passion for child safety online – not much eh! We should also mention the fact her father thinks she invented social media and she hasn’t told him that’s not the case, quite right too. We have got brilliant music as well from amongst others Sarah Vaughan, The RH Factor and Abdullah Ibrahim. That’s today’s Jazz Shapers, here’s Sérgio Mendes with Berimbau Consul La Salle.

That was uplifting too, Sérgio Mendes with Berimbau Consul La Salle, I always try my Portuguese accent, I don’t actually do Portuguese it is more Spanish but anyway I am sure those of you know would know that and those of you that don’t, well now I have blown the myth. Hello Tamara, Tamara Littleton is my Business Shaper today and she is CEO and Founder of what was Emoderation, what is now called, it sounds like the Fifth Element but it’s not, it’s The Social Element. It’s lovely to have you here.

Tamara Littleton
Thank you Elliot, it’s lovely to be here as well.

Elliot Moss
You are an entrepreneur. You’ve been an entrepreneur forever. You are a creator. At what point in your life did you go ‘I am going to do my own thing’ – was it an epiphany when you were very young? We’ll come on to what you ended up doing but that feeling of having your own space, doing your own thing?

Tamara Littleton
Do you know what I think it’s one of those things that being young I’ve kind of always been curious and wanting to fix things. I started working in digital in the mid-90’s working on a publishing company and working with a very small start-up at the time called Adobe and we were doing these things around downloading documents for online journals so I was in digital at the BBC working in the late 90’s and there was so much happening, it was such an exciting sort of pioneering time and we were looking after like the webmasters, everything online and I had this little epiphany of online forums and communities were getting bigger and bigger, a little bit more mainstream and I just thought do you know what brands are going to be wanting to be online and in communities and I just felt that someone should be able to manage these brands and these communities to BBC standard so that was pretty much the starting point but I didn’t do it straight away. I kind of got a little bit nervous and it took me a couple of years and then I went for it.

Elliot Moss
And before the Beeb you did a psychology Degree?

Tamara Littleton
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Before the Beeb, what were you thinking life would hold for you? Or were you more kind of going ‘that looks interesting I’ll give it a go, that looks interesting’ or did you have a plan?

Tamara Littleton
I am one of these people who kind of classically just fell into different things so I was at Manchester, I thoroughly enjoyed doing psychology, I also thoroughly enjoyed playing hockey and having fun and so I came out not with the best Degree to be honest.

Elliot Moss
But I’ve got to add it before you say, forget the Degree, you are super successful and the person in front of me over here is actually an English Universities and Manchester County goal keeper.

Tamara Littleton
I got my colours as well I am very proud of that.

Elliot Moss
That’s proper, that’s proper, that means… but that discipline of sport joking aside, and that teamwork, these are all really important things.

Tamara Littleton
Yep. Oh absolutely and I think there is something about being a goalkeeper is, I think it makes you a good leader because you are kind of leading from the back.

Elliot Moss
You can see everything.

Tamara Littleton
You can see everything and you are trying to sort of guide your team so it had a really influence on how I run my company, how I think about things.

Elliot Moss
Do you wear pads every day?

Tamara Littleton
I do.

Elliot Moss
The whole thing, you’ve got a stick in your hand, come on. But in terms of the falling into stuff so psychology Degree…

Tamara Littleton
So psychology wasn’t the best and I finished at a time where people were coming out with Firsts, it was very competitive and my sort of thoughts of being a criminal psychologist just sort of went to the wayside. I moved from Manchester to London, started playing hockey because that’s you know, what I knew and actually my captain said that I could go and work at her place, as a secretary and the most important thing I done was teach myself to touch type, that’s kind of sad to say but it was just the best thing because it meant that actually I then transformed… I was working for this great place, it was called the Institute of Measurement and Control. It was an Engineering Institute just to make that clear and…

Elliot Moss
Here’s a place where you can really get to know how to run your family, the Institute of Measurement and Control.

Tamara Littleton
And I was a secretary, I was being paid something like £9,000 a year but I taught myself desktop publishing. I transformed the team and that’s how I fell into digital, that’s how I then went into the BBC and then on to Cello and then started my own company. So I think it was maybe, that’s my geeky background, I think I’ve always been a bit of a geek and I was into to like gaming when I was young and I used to code when I was little as well.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me to find out how the coding gamer, hockey playing, captain of industry in front of me, Tamara Littleton has then gone on to do great things. Time for some music right now, this is Sarah Vaughan with One Mint Julep, that’s with a J.

That was Sarah Vaughan with One Mint Julep. I am here with Tamara Littleton and we are talking about how she became the thing that she is now which is an entrepreneur but I just want… I asked you about a Julep is. What is a Julep? You think? We think?

Tamara Littleton
Well it’s a drink, I’ve had one in Atlanta and it was…

Elliot Moss
Not good?

Tamara Littleton
I didn’t like it. It was because it was in Street Car Named Desire and I thought I must try one. I didn’t like it.

Elliot Moss
You didn’t like it. So this geeky thing, I just want to pick up on the mid-90’s because you know we’re a very similar age and I saw this happening and didn’t get involved. Looking back you went to it, you said you were coding when you were a kid and you were gaming. How did you realise you quite enjoyed it because that’s a very specific thing to do when you are small. I mean I tried to code, I remember basic and fourth and all these other languages but it didn’t really turn me on doing go sub and putting, you know, making arrows you know, lines draw off across the screen. You obviously got into it?

Tamara Littleton
Yeah I don’t know what it was. What I do remember is I had a ZX81.

Elliot Moss
Ah so did I.

Tamara Littleton
Okay and I also…

Elliot Moss
Beautiful things, Google ZX81, now look at that picture.

Tamara Littleton
So before the ZX Spectrum.

Elliot Moss
Yes.

Tamara Littleton
So this was a ZX81, I even sent off for like a little rubberised keyboard as well. I was that into it and so obviously you could play games on it but you could go down to WH Smiths and you could buy magazines and it would tell you how to code games and get snowflakes to go down the screen. I just absolutely loved it. It was my mother actually I think she is the entrepreneur of the family. She was a French tutor, she is retired now and every time new technology came out she was the one buying the sort of Betamax before VHS came out. She had an early computer so I think I just maybe got that from her but the coding thing, the gaming coding and then when I was at school I was lucky enough to go to a convent and if you didn’t do Latin or languages you did typing. I was doing Latin and languages and so I didn’t get to do the typing and then when computers came into schools they had like computers brought in, not everyone was allowed to use them so I actually used to, I am afraid to say it, I stole a key and I used to go into the computer room and code during break times or late at night and I just sort of used to teach myself how to code.

Elliot Moss
That focus at a young age right and the ability to just get into something and to see what’s possible, it feels like that’s one of your super skills. Just looking at what you’ve done, you’ve picked things off in your life whether it’s internet safety for kids.

Tamara Littleton
Yep.

Elliot Moss
Yeah or whether it’s simulating crisis which is quite a clever thing to do and helping people to understand that or now going… well you saying ‘well communities are going to be important’ even though it was a pre-naisant stage for the web and I remember the first website I ever helped a client make when I was in advertising was for Mercedes Benz, we had to… and they said ‘but will people really buy cars on the internet’ and I said ‘well maybe’. This was like 1994 but you’ve gone on. Are you still like that? Are you still actually at heart, introverts the wrong word but the ability to shut the world out and to focus on the problem, is that what you think gets you through a lot of stuff?

Tamara Littleton
So I believe that I am an ambivert. So there are definitely days where I am very introverted, need to get my energy from being by myself and very focussed on things and I read so many business books. I am one of these people that when I go on holiday I take a stack of business books with me. I just need that time to stay focussed. But there are also other times which is quite lucky that when I am trying to sort of push the profile of my business or try and win business and you do networking, you have to do public speaking, you have to be out and out and meeting people, so luckily for me that kind of more extroverted side kicks in. Yep.

Elliot Moss
And when you set the business up and it was called Emoderation.

Tamara Littleton
Emoderation yeah.

Elliot Moss
Yeah. What was that feeling like when you sort of opened the doors? Those first few, you’d actually did it because you said you held back for a while so…

Tamara Littleton
Yep.

Elliot Moss
…what, firstly what pushed you over the edge to actually do it? And secondly, how did it feel once you had done it?

Tamara Littleton
So I registered the domain name in 2000 and then it took until 2002 before I actually set it up and I had left the BBC and then I went to another company called Cello which was a Dutch company and they were, it was at a time where online portals were still a thing, you’d sort of get your broadband and then you’d go to a portal and I was working on the content there and they were a great company, some fantastic people there and then they were offering voluntary redundancies, that was my moment where I just thought ‘do you know what’ they were offering three months so I took that opportunity and that was my kind of, it had just been eating away at me, it wasn’t to do with I need to start a company because I want it to be huge or anything, it just felt that there was a problem that needed solving and I had this feeling that I was the one that could solve it, I couldn’t not set it up.

Elliot Moss
More from my guest Tamara Littleton in a couple of minutes but first let’s hear a taster from the latest News Sessions Podcast which can be found on all of the major podcast platforms. Mishcon de Reya’s Hayley Geffin explores the world of social media regulation and how to protect ourselves on line.

There are many ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers and indeed to hear this very programme with Tamara again. You can ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes, or if you put Jazz Shapers into your preferred podcast platform, that is seriously the most favourite words I have to say, your preferred podcast platform, there’s iTunes and all the other ones you use. You can enjoy every single one of almost three hundred and fifty in there. But back to today and it’s Tamara; she is Founder and CEO of The Social Element, an agency helping clients to powerfully connect with their audience through social media. So that idea back then of communities, brands and all that is still where you’re at? I mean you’ve been moving, obviously you’ve developed I imagine more sophisticated techniques, there’s more data I know in your business now that you use, there’s more metrics, there’s more strategic management and all those things have developed but in essence that’s the primary focus isn’t it?

Tamara Littleton
It’s definitely evolved over time as things have changed so at the beginning I was having to educate brands and my potential clients on well actually there was no social media, but that didn’t really exist as a concept, it was more forums, communities, a lot of safety around virtual worlds as well, there was a lot of dodgy stuff going on so my earlier clients were more interested in the child safety aspect. So that’s always been our foundation and is still a big part of who we are.

Elliot Moss
And indeed you were part of the original internet taskforce for Child Protection on the internet?

Tamara Littleton
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Which led to the guidance back in 2005.

Tamara Littleton
Absolutely.

Elliot Moss
And that sense of purpose you know, everyone like has back, they’ve decided to back the idea of having a purpose in life which is hardly a new idea but everyone now makes money off the back of saying your business must have a purpose. The person in front of me, Tamara has a purpose and that purpose was really clear. You want to protect kids online. As one of them?

Tamara Littleton
Absolutely. Absolutely and I think it’s what’s happened from there is that as it evolved into a higher purpose I suppose of something that incorporates that. It takes a lot of time to create that very sort of simple approach to the business but now I would say that the purpose for The Social Element is helping brands have a genuine human connection with their consumers and that genuine human connection, there’s a lot about you know, technology as you can see, I am so passionate about technology but there is something about having that authentic voice, that connection, being more human and it feels that that is a very important thing to have right now so we help brands communicate with that more human way.

Elliot Moss
I mentioned when I introduced you at the beginning that there is a, you’ve always had a view that a flexible workforce is a better thing, empowers women in a way that a more inflexible set up can’t and you’ve always been openly LGBT, you’re a lesbian.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Tell me how that has affected and informed the way you go about your life and business?

Tamara Littleton
So I think culture is something that I am massively passionate about. I think you know, if you have a happy workforce then you have happy clients you know, it doesn’t make sense to me to not run a company in the best way that I can and I suppose I have created a company that I want to work at. So culture is incredibly important. I think what was interesting is perhaps the sense of accidental diversity that because I started the agency virtually right from the beginning and I will be absolutely honest, I didn’t have much money, I had sort of blown through that 10 grand in that redundancy money pretty damn quickly and also had to go back and get some more work to sort of you know, that’s the way it works. So I couldn’t afford an office but also I was so familiar with working online using internet relay chat and that you could just correspond using email so I set up the company virtually right from the beginning and that has had a really big impact on the way things work so now it’s up to 300 people, we have about 20 people come into the London office but that sense, it’s a hub but it’s not the be all and end all of the company. The company, I always describe it is more like being in the matrix, you know it’s up in the cloud and everyone feels that sense of connection even though they are working from home but the diversity that has come as a result of doing that has been really interesting so I work with clients all over the world you know, we work with huge brands and we manage their social media across Europe, Asia, North America, so I have people all over the world working from home, speaking about using their own language and their own culture so we have sort of a good racial diversity within the agency and the male to female ratio very skewed towards females, in fact we’ve had to sort of try and change that.

Elliot Moss
Men are under represented in your business.

Tamara Littleton
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Wow.

Tamara Littleton
So we’ve been really kind of making because I believe so passionately that you need diversity in the agency to represent our brands and to represent the people that we are talking to.

Elliot Moss
And the world.

Tamara Littleton
And the world and it just makes for a better team.

Elliot Moss
And your own sexuality within this.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Because this is kind of… why is that important? Why is, I mean coming out 30 years ago, not easy. Not cool at all. Now it’s like it is almost you are not cool if you are not you know interesting and…

Tamara Littleton
So damn cool.

Elliot Moss
…you are so damn cool, you are so on trend Tamara. But seriously you know, when we were growing up if you said you were gay that was a stigma.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Now I am sure, we are both older and we don’t know what it is like for an 11 year old kid if they come out and say they are gay but to your own parents, if my kids said it to me I wouldn’t give two hoots.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah, yeah.

Elliot Moss
Whereas I don’t know that that would have been the case 30 years ago but why is that… what does it, what role does it play now for you?

Tamara Littleton
It is interesting actually because I think because I have always worked in the media it was incredibly easy for me and I was in a privileged position that I didn’t have to hide my sexuality because it was just a very liberal work environment so it was easy so I didn’t hide it and when I started my own company it didn’t occur to me, it was just like you know, this is my agency, this is who I am and I found that it does lead to great relationships with clients that I am just myself and I think within the agency creating an environment where I want people to bring their best self to work is really important and I’ve spoken at lots of different conferences and spoken to different people who have said that they’ve gone back in the closet, maybe they were out at University or further education and then they go into a big corporate and they go back in the closet and all of that wasted energy of people trying to sort of like watch what they say, are they using the right pronoun, do they go quiet when people say ‘what do you do at the weekend?’. It’s such a waste when they could just be themselves and just focussing on, on business and I… but I think we are not in a time now where everything is wonderful and lovely. There is a still a lot of work to be done and sadly it sometimes feels like we are going backwards. So even though it wasn’t a big deal for me and I was just like yeah I am just out and I’ve created an agency and hopefully it’s a nice culture for everybody, more and more recently over the last 5 years I’ve felt that it was almost my duty to speak at more conferences, LGBTQ+ conferences and to represent and part of that is that I just don’t see that many out lesbian entrepreneurs. There must be some.

Elliot Moss
Sort of like gay male footballers, you don’t know how many there are but of course there have got to be more than… same thing.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah of course there must be yeah. So if I can’t see one, be one and you know I am not saying that I am you know the role model but if I could at least make a difference and make it easier and move the needle a tiny bit then I feel like that is something I want to do.

Elliot Moss
300 people plus, it’s a big business. As you said you have got people around the world that work for you. The money bit of it and running the commercial side, have you just grown into it and worked out how it all works and is it actually quite straight forward for you?

Tamara Littleton
As in sort of like, getting new revenue, selling…

Elliot Moss
Yeah new revenue, working out how to make a margin, keeping the margin nice and tight. Do you feel comfortable with numbers? Does the psychology graduate, has she had to learn stuff in the same way you had to teach yourself typing?

Tamara Littleton
I have had to learn an awful lot and I think when you start a business you know what you are good at and I was actually good at the operational side and the people side, bringing in talent and having the vision to do it and I, when I started I always had a vision of it being a global agency, it was just what I wanted to do and I created a company based on an organisational structure and I created the services. The money side never particularly interested me. I know that’s terrible to say but I am just not that great so I got help right from the beginning and over the 17 years I’ve just had to get obviously more interested and better but I also rely on my fantastic team so I stay good, again going back to the hockey team sports, why play out of position. If you are really, really good at goal why would someone stick me up at front. I am good at creating relationships, building the business, having the vision and being what we call internally ‘the show pony’ so they kind of push me out – hashtag show pony – to go out and speak to people and that’s what I love and I enjoy it. Going through all of the accounts in detail is not something I am good at.

Elliot Moss
When are you at your happiest? When are you buzzing? Is it when you’ve just won a new business, is it when you’ve just presented a genuinely break-through idea to a client and they’ve gone ‘yeah let’s do it’?

Tamara Littleton
I absolutely love when you create that great chemistry with the client and you know that there is a connection and that they are seeing you as a partner, that’s the bit that feels so great. But I also get a massive kick out of public speaking which I am surprised at because I’ve had to work at that and I had to sort of push myself to do more speaking but now coming off a stage and knowing that I’ve absolutely smashed it, and then you get to speak to people afterwards.

Elliot Moss
You just want to go back on, don’t you?

Tamara Littleton
Yeah it’s the best feeling.

Elliot Moss
It is addictive isn’t it?

Tamara Littleton
It really is.

Elliot Moss
If you feel actually prepared and you presented well and people, you see people’s eyes.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
I imagine that’s what you do and as you said, the fact that you are out, the fact that you are a role model as much as anyone can be one, we are all just human. That must be also wonderful when you know that someone has gone ‘I think I can be that’.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah definitely and I like, I think fundamentally I really like helping people so I love spending time with perhaps entrepreneurs or particularly women who are starting businesses or who have just started businesses, it is very hard to scale a business and there are lots of sort of things that get in the way so if I can actually help by speaking or just afterwards just give advice or sort of story tell, I just love doing that, I love… sometimes I just persuade people to start businesses, it’s like a bad habit of mine. I will be chatting with someone and ‘come on, come on, leave your job, start a business’, I just love, I am so passionate about people being entrepreneurs.

Elliot Moss
Well that comes across. Stay with me for my final chat with Tamara Littleton. Plus we will be playing a track from Abdullah Ibrahim, that’s in just a moment, please stay right where you are.

That was Abdullah Ibrahim with Soweto. I am with Tamara Littleton just for a little bit longer. We have been talking about her main business, it was Emoderation now it’s called The Social Element. We have been talking about all sorts of things, about purpose before people called it purpose, about you being a role model. You pick things which I like and the core of your idea brand, social media even before social media was social media and children’s safety on line. You kind of go that’s going to become a problem and I’ve got you know, teenage kids down to 6 and there is trust involved but there is also a lot of fear and there is ongoing education that is critical. You’ve also identified through Pulpeo that businesses aren’t necessarily very good at dealing with crisis, they don’t really know what to do because in this day and age in the context of social media your reputation can go up in flames in seconds, or minutes. Tell me a little bit about Pulpeo, was it one of those ‘hold on a minute I’ve seen a lot of clients floundering around at key points’? Was that the…

Tamara Littleton
It was pretty much exactly that actually. So I Co-founded Pulpeo I think about 6 years ago with an amazing woman called Kate Hartley. Now she comes from a background of PR, crisis management, she’s been working in that industry for many, many years and then she runs her own PR agency and I’ve been a client of hers for many years as well. We shared an office and we were always talking about you know, I was coming from the social media side, she was from PR and we noticed at the time that brands were just really messing up. They were getting attacked on social media and they would say the wrong things or they were too slow or they just, just couldn’t get the tone of voice right and there was this huge backlash, it was almost like as social media became more and more mainstream, brands were not keeping up with how to manage and there was no longer that sense that you could just get a press release out in 24 hours. You had to respond there and then really quickly so we were talking about there was another brand that just sort of messed up and we said ‘God I bet it’s because they can’t practice’ and then that was like a little trigger and we were sort of saying well why can’t we build something and I think perhaps again my slightly geeky background, I love films like War Games and you know that whole sort of simulating and almost chose your own adventure books, that kind of background so we put our heads together, we created Pulpeo and it is now, it’s a growing company, it’s absolutely amazing. We are working with lots of brands and of course I can’t tell you any of them because of what we do but we simulate brands being attacked on social media and then they rehearse their response and they have to get press releases out, they have to respond on social and everything they are doing we actually have a live team of role players as well so they act as the public, as journalists so it is incredibly immersive, it’s really emotional and what we are really doing though is we are teaching brands how to have empathy and that’s what it’s become now.

Elliot Moss
Looking forward because we are going to run out of time. The shape of your business in Pulpeo and in The Social Element – what is it going to look like? Is it going to be very different? Are you super open to new structure and new ways of working?

Tamara Littleton
I think the model that we discussed, that kind of everyone working from home and then a hub in London, that’s changing over time because we are becoming much more strategic with our clients and investing a lot in creative as well and it is almost becoming going backwards that, not backwards but it’s just getting that right balance that I do want to have lots of face time with my team and with clients. So we’ve changed the model slightly to have hubs and a lot more investment in face-to-face time and replicating what we do in London, over in the US, about half my business is in the US so that’s a big growth area for us. So I would say it is kind of more focussed on how we are doing things but it’s just going to get bigger. I suppose that’s the whole thing.

Elliot Moss
And just really quickly as it intrigues me about trends and stuff and people spotting things. How do you do it? Is it purely you just listen a lot to clients, you listen a lot to your team, you are just out in the world, you are reading and all that stuff or is it something else? Where do you find these little ‘hold on a minute I think that’s happening over there’, you know it is what we always call in a slightly poncey way, the zeitgeist.

Tamara Littleton
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
But how do you find your take on the zeitgeist?

Tamara Littleton
It’s that beautiful marriage of technology and people. So it is the humans, we have amazing people who can interpret the data but ultimately we are using loads of different tools that either do social listening, so we are spotting what are people saying about our clients and the brands, we are creating content and we are engaging on behalf of the brands. Everything comes back to the human connection but we use the most awesome technology and we have partners with lots of different companies. So it’s everything that I love, it’s humans and technology fused together beautifully.

Elliot Moss
Hashtag show pony.

Tamara Littleton
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Thank you very much for spending some time with me here. It is such a cool name though isn’t it. I just want… we should get it trending on Twitter. It will never happen. Not if I do it. Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Tamara Littleton
So I’ve chosen Camille Yarbrough, Take Yo’ Praise. Do you know what, you wouldn’t be surprised but there is a bit of a geeky reason for this as well. Several things, I love Fatboy Slim and this was used as a sort of sample in his Praise You but the reason I found out about this original song.

Elliot Moss
This is I’ve Come A Long Long Way, that one?

Tamara Littleton
Yes.

Elliot Moss
And this is the original, I have heard it, it is fabulous.

Tamara Littleton
And this is the original but I discovered this using Napster, so back late 90’s which was sort of a precursor to Spotify and just for me it’s going back to the passion of why the internet is so amazing. The internet can be very, very scary and horrible but let’s focus on some of those positive things again because the ability to just search the internet, find incredible songs and get passionate about them. So this for me is kind of again linking this great song and a bit of geekiness as well.

Elliot Moss
That might be one of the best links ever to everything. There you go, here it is just for you.

That was the great Camille Yarbrough, Take Yo’ Praise, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Tamara Littleton. She talked about her love of fixing things, of her geekiness, her inherent geekiness and of being an ambivert; sometimes introvert, sometimes extrovert. She talked about the importance of diversity in her business and she talked about creating a company in which I would want to work so people can bring their full selves to work. Indeed their best selves. Hashtag Show Pony, that was my guest, I thought she was fab. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, have a great weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Tamara Littleton is Founder and CEO of The Social Element, a social media agency advising some of the world’s biggest brands on how to use social media to solve business challenges.

Having left her role running a BBC web team, Tamara founded The Social Element in 2002 before the explosion of social media with the ambition of challenging the conventional agency model by pioneering and building her global business (now 300+ strong) predominantly through a remote working model.

In 2013, Tamara also Co-Founded Polpeo, a crisis simulation platform designed to help brands and their agencies prepare for how a crisis would affect them online.

Tamara is a tech pioneer, a champion of the diversity, LGBTQ and female entrepreneurial agenda and passionate about keeping children safe online.

Follow Tamara on Twitter @tlittleton.

Interview highlights

I’ve always been curious.

There are different types of entrepreneurs.

I am one of these people who classically just fell into different things.

Being a goalkeeper means you can see everything, and it has influenced how I run my company and how I think about things.

The most important thing I did was teach myself to touch type.

I’ve always been a bit of a geek.

I stole a key and I used to go into the computer room and code during break times or late at night.

I taught myself how to code.

We help brands communicate in a human way.

Technology is my passion.

Culture is incredibly important.

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