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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: William Reeve

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 the music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.
Welcome to the very last Jazz Shapers of 2019. I am Elliot Moss. Jazz Shapers is where the Shapers of Business meet the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues and our guest today is William Reeve, serial entrepreneur, angel investor and co-founder of LOVEFILM and a lot more too. After graduating in Economics, Management and Engineering then a stint at McKinsey where he met his wife, William launched Fletcher Research, an online consultancy business back in 1997. “The internet took off when I was in my formative career years”, he says, “I was in the right place, at the right time.” Next came LOVEFILM. After William and Alex Chesterman, my Jazz Shaper in March of this year, pitched the same idea to an investor, they chose to join forces launching LOVEFILM in 2003. Eight years later they sold it to Amazon for £200 million and as William says “That was when I started thinking, do I want to work now? But without work, I would be like a shark who didn’t swim; work is a natural hobby” and he’s not bad at it. Going on to co-found Secret Escapes, the exclusive travel club, become Chairman of fintech firm, Nutmeg and hold non-executive or operating roles at Zoopla, Paddy Power and the snack company, Graze, and he is currently CEO of Goodlord, the property tech platform aiming to transform renting by making the process fully digital. William joins us with his CV arriving on a freight train, in a couple of minutes. We’ve also got brilliant music today from amongst others Esperanza Spalding, Jimmy Ponder and Miles Moseley. That’s Jazz Shapers, the very last one in 2019. Here’s Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with Ping Pong.

My last and, I will say it here now because he is, he’s here, the best guest of 2019; let’s forget Alex Chesterman and other people you know.

William Reeve
Best looking, was he?

Elliot Moss
Yeah, definitely best looking, most intelligent, most incisive; you haven’t even said anything yet but you will be. It’s William Reeve and he, as I said earlier, has a CV to die for, has been involved in many businesses, setting them up, running them, investing in them, doing all sorts. Welcome.

William Reeve
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
You have a very unusual background, I think – I have interviewed many people on the programme over the last eight years – interesting Degree, somewhat than a more predictable path in McKinsey type thing and IBM type thing but you set up a business very early, some people sort of do a bit longer at McKinsey or they do something else; there you were, two years in. Back in ’97, if you can think that far back, what made you think ‘I can do this’. I can set my own business up, I know what I am going to do, I am completely clear what will happen next’?

William Reeve
Yes, good question and at the time it felt like a pretty obvious thing to do though, all my elders and betters were very proud of what I was doing which was sort of ‘Yes Minister’ speak for ‘You are completely bonkers’ and I think it was a couple of things; one, it was partly a sort of forcing device that McKinsey had which was I was on a programme that was two years long and that they then, they were very clear it was a kind of if you like, fast-track programme but it was two years and then you had to go off and do something else which in their world usually meant do an MBA but didn’t necessarily mean an MBA but there wasn’t a kind of option to carry on through so, that kind of forced the question right, I’ve got to jump off this diving board at some point, what am I going to do. That was part of it, I think the other part of it was, you know, I remember being in my final year at University looking at what I considered to be some of the best jobs out there and, which I suppose because it was management consulting I was looking at, they were paying pretty well, relative to other graduate jobs and I remember having a conversation with my flatmate at some point that I just realised what plumbers earned and I was like ‘Wow, plumbers earn more than I am going to earn for quite a few years and that feels a bit odd because I, here’s me sort of trying to become highly educated and going to a very competitive field and going into a field which pays top graduates a reasonable wage and yet actually why aren’t I learning to be a plumber’ and that thought process led me to ‘Well, of course the reason plumbers actually earn quite good money is because they run their own business’. So actually if you run even quite a small business like doing a one-man plumbing job, you ended up making quite good money so maybe I should be running my own business one day. That was the, so it was a bit of an intersection and I had had that conversation with a couple of people and one of them was a very, very close friend of mine, Neil Bradford, who was also at McKinsey – the same cohort as me – and we were both facing the same diving board, you know, you’ve got to jump off and we went ‘Well maybe this is the time to set up a business, why don’t we do it together’ and we had done stuff together before so, I think we had confidence that actually teaming up with each other might make it all feel a bit less painful when we hit the water.

Elliot Moss
So, was it less about not having fear and more about thinking, this is just the right thing to do and therefore it’s quite logical? Because it looks like, the way you are describing it now actually that’s like, well of course you’d do that, I mean you talk about the plumber, you talk about, you know, if it’s 40 grand in this business and he’s going to take most of that because the overhead is him, or her. It doesn’t sound like it was a great leap of faith even though you are describing it as a diving board.

William Reeve
Yeah, I mean, I think the key thing that was a bit the wrong the way up was that we went let’s set up a business was our first kind of argument and then the second thing was, okay good, what’s it going to be?

Elliot Moss
Well, that’s the other thing and it sounds like, I mean, this was an IT research and consultancy business and as I understand it, you sold two years later…

William Reeve
In year three.

Elliot Moss
In year three. Pretty fast.

William Reeve
Yes.

Elliot Moss
And just in a nutshell before we go to our second track. How did you do that? Because again, your first business, you are fresh out of McKinsey, of course you’ve learnt and you learnt how to do all the things that McKinsey teach you in a rapid space of time…

William Reeve
Yep.

Elliot Moss
…but really? Year three?

William Reeve
Yep. No, and at the time, I mean I think what we achieved in those first two years and I think of five or six difficult things we did in that period and the fact that as an old man now so to speak, looking back on that and thinking heavens we managed all that in less than three years, I don’t quite know how we managed that because I am not sure I could do that again but…

Elliot Moss
So, if opened a fortune cookie, what would the fortune cookie message say about how you did it? In a glib little fortune cookie way?

William Reeve
I think we were at the right place, right time. We leveraged our network well and we were very productive characters and we hired people who helped us be productive and we got a lot done together. We have made decisions very fast, saw opportunities quickly and we were in a world where we were focussing on the internet and the internet was a brave new world and, you know, everybody was interested in it so, you know we were on the radio, we were in the newspapers, all that sort of stuff which helped us punch above our weight very quickly. But to be fair, the original business plan when we left McKinsey wasn’t to be an internet research firm, it was something slightly different and when we realised literally, almost literally, as we had just launched ourselves off the diving board, we suddenly, it was almost analogies, I am going to stick with that analogy, to suddenly discovering that there’s no water in the pool and we sort of realised that actually that initial business plan wasn’t going to work and we were going to have find another one but it was too late to change course so, we were very, very focussed people in a real hurry and we came up with the idea of an internet research firm quickly and it was essentially based on some companies I have already discovered or learnt about when I was at McKinsey and so there was a sort of template to follow and that really helped us and it was one of those companies who ended coming to chat to us in year three and saying ‘Should we be doing this together?’.

Elliot Moss
It was a very big fortune cookie, the one we were just talking about but that’s okay. Now that you’ve seen and now that you’ve invested in probably ten/fifteen/twenty businesses along the last twenty or so years, how much import to you put on the piece of paper called the business plan or is it just a red herring?

William Reeve
It obviously very much depends on the size of business. If you are a publicly quoted large firm with thousands of staff and a business plan of a financial plan budget or whatever it’s going to be called, is a pretty relevant document.

Elliot Moss
I mean at a start-up phase.

William Reeve
But as a start-up business, the business plan is an essential document and is a meaningless document both at the same time. You know, you need a clear idea on what the business is trying do and you need an idea on why it has a right to exist and you need an idea – I am always looking probably a little bit more sharply than some of the other investors I know, I am looking for reasons to think why this company is going to win and the business plan will, or whatever you call that, as most of these investments I make are, companies don’t actually really have what I think your accountant would call a business plan.

Elliot Moss
So, what are you backing at that point?

William Reeve
They will have a presentation, they’ll have a pitch, they’ll have a story to tell and the story to tell will include things like, this is the market we are going into, this is why we think there is an opportunity, this is what we are doing for it, this is what… hopefully, a lot of early stage ones but the ones I back probably will, some idea of what the economics are going to be like, what the margins are going to be etcetera and one of the things I am asking is what makes you think you can win? And, whether if you ask those questions two years later you still get the same answers is almost irrelevant and often you won’t so in that respect, you know, it’s like one of those military plans isn’t it, never survives first contact with the enemy but if people haven’t thought about those questions the way you would to write a business plan then they are not going to raise investment from people like me.

Elliot Moss
And beyond the rational answer to the question ‘What are you going to do to win? How are you going to make sure?’ What are you listening out for? What is it the skill that you developed over the years specifically that enables you to hopefully pick winners rather than losers?

William Reeve
Good question. I think some sense that they’ve done some of this before. Some sense that they think analytically. Some sense there’s good logic to why they are going to win and that logic’s going to, is going to be apparent even when they are not in the room so it’s going to be a story you can you tell in the pub ‘Oh I met this guy this morning and he’s setting up this business and it’s gonna revolutionise widgets by… because he’s found snake oil and snake oil really works’ you know, you need something which can genuinely survive the telling third-hand, fourth-hand etcetera. But I think quite a lot it is difficult to put your finger on and if it was easy, everybody would do it and…

Elliot Moss
But there’s no guff with you, William, right? I mean, immediately, we don’t know each other but I can tell that you are going to say it as you see it and you are going to be looking for logic and yes, you are right, you are kind of then, well can I tell this story, is it clear A, B, C that I can then go along and do that? But often people confuse storytelling with some kind of marketing puff. You are the antithesis of puff.

William Reeve
I don’t know.

Elliot Moss
It feels like that to me. But then, what’s the super skill? Is the super skill that ‘I am going to very logically look at whether this will emotionally connect even if I am not emotionally engaged in the way that you might think I would be’ if that makes sense. Are you almost kind of distant from it and just being very, very tough on the story itself?

William Reeve
I don’t think I am as logical or analytical or tough as other people I might know, I think at the same though, I am an analytical sort of person by nature, I have always been interested in business, probably even ever since a teenager and I have a reasonable feel for businesses quickly so you can talk to me about almost any business and I will have a rough idea on how it works, what it’s margins are, kind of what is difficult about it, you know what is stopping it growing further etcetera. I will, I can get right into the meat of a business composition pretty quickly. So, for example, I spoke to a lady this week who is trying to raise money for a business – it’s not really a technology business so it’s not a straightforward one for me to assess but she told me her story and it’s quite an interesting story; one of the things I liked about it is, it is based on a model which has been starting to succeed in another country overseas, that’s good because again early stage business but how do you assess the risk, well if you can see this model happening somewhere else that makes it sound much lower risk than you inventing it from scratch and she told me, you know, what her credentials were and what her team is, what progress she is making, all good, and then one thing that had me kind of scratching my head a bit so, I said to her this is probably the single least good thing you have told me when she was talking about the gross margins that she is expecting to make, in other words, for any extra £100 of sales she makes, how much of that, what cost does she incur on providing an extra £100 of sales? The gross margins she is trying to make there is about 25% and as I said to her like, there are very few businesses that succeed with gross margins of 25%. I didn’t know that, I know that from experience, I know that from other businesses, I backed… one of the early conversations I had at Graze, the snack business, their initial business plan had a gross margin of 35% and I remember having the conversation with the Founders at that point that that gross margin is not high enough. I was right about that and actually by the time that we had sold the business, we had the gross margins up to 60% but it was actually the Founders very much to their credit like, they took that input and immediately started doing something about it, even by the time we had launched the product, the plan was for it to be 45% and gross margins ultimately became a big deal for that business.

Elliot Moss
So, in that instance – and we are going to come back to you in a few minutes – but that instance, it was all about identifying the issue with the set-up, the issue within the panoply of things that she talked about and you went ‘Thank you very much’.

William Reeve
Yep.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper today; it’s William Reeve, Co-founder at LOVEFILM, multiple investor and he is currently, and we are going to come and talk about operational stuff, he’s currently I believe, the CEO at Goodlord.

William Reeve
That’s right.

Elliot Moss
Right now though, we are going to hear some advice I hope for your business, beyond William’s advice for you, it’s from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya and here it comes.

There are many ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers, indeed you can hear this programme with William again. Just ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, you can enjoy the full archive. Back to today, it’s William Reeve, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, Co-founder at LOVEFILM and much more. So, I think we have initially established that you were going to do your own thing, it didn’t really matter what it was, you kind of had a good run at it for the first few years. After that, and you make some money at a pretty young age and we talked about in the context of the much bigger value that you sold LOVEFILM for. Do you then liberate yourself because money is no longer an issue? Do you go post-status as it were or is that just me looking from the outside going ‘I bet it feels great not to worry about money’?

William Reeve
So, look I think when I first made some money in my twenties, it was more money than I thought I would be making probably in my career and that was very liberating and created a huge sense of freedom actually. As it turned out, I ended up making, I made more money later but I made less money for example out of LOVEFILM than I made out of my first business, that was because LOVEFILM was a venture capital backed business and it had formed out of the merger of lots of other companies so the net ownership of that business by me was although I think I had the highest stake of any of the Founders and management by the end, it was still a very small level of ownership compared to my first business we didn’t take in any external investment an my business partner and I essentially owned the whole business. But I think when you are in your twenties, you don’t really think too much about this, you can sort of buy yourself a house and buy yourself a car without thinking what it costs so you are sort of feeling like that seems like plenty of money, what more can you need but I think as I started to then reflect later on in my career after, for example, I left LOVEFILM, do I actually need to work ever again? I had to do some sums on that, I didn’t have quite enough to be able to go, you know, I can see that my cost of living has expanded, I can see that my responsibilities I didn’t used to have, I can see that life is a bit more expensive than I probably would have dreamed about when I was in my twenties, if I were never to work again and life carries on getting more expensive, then what happens so I had to do some sums on that but I think eventually I kind of persuaded myself that the sky would have to fall in to make me have to go out and get a job or register for the dole.

Elliot Moss
And then in terms of the people you met along the way and we mentioned Alex Chesterman at the beginning; Alex is a good friend of yours and a co-investor and I think Simon Frank who I have interviewed on the programme was also involved in all that. Is the level of trust that you build with that person circumstantial, i.e. you’ve gone in, you’ve got similar ideas, you’ve gone through the same process, you are living in the same world, is it based on that or is it something more fundamental? Because often I look at, you know I might be in a private members club one night, perish the thought, and I might see three famous comedians all with each other and I think, are they friends because they are really friends or are they friends because they are going through the same thing which is, they are famous, they’re funny, although not that funny when they are switched off as we all know, and they just want to talk to people like them? Is it something deeper than that?

William Reeve
I certainly think I find it easier to establish a rapport with entrepreneurs because I kind of connect with those people and birds of a feather etcetera, etcetera. I think there are some entrepreneurs you would go to the end of the earth for and there are some entrepreneurs you would view as not people you would want to have to depend on and I think if you take, for example, Alex just when I first met him we were both on a pretty similar journey and potentially we might have ended up competing with each other and we were both looking to try and set up the same basic concept and we were independent at that point. Alex had something that I had been looking for which was an answer to the question of how we were going to win here because he had a commercial partnership that gave a good answer to that question and I had something that I think, whether he knew it or not, he needed which was quite a lot of experience in technology and so actually I think the two of us realised we would be a more effective force together but we were still quite unknown quantities to each other and, you know, I wasn’t 100%, wasn’t 100% sure how I could trust him if, you know, push came to shove but I think by the point that we’ve raised money together, faced some quite difficult situations together, we’ve turned out to be of all the countries in the world which had models a bit like LOVEFILM running round, we were the country in the UK which was the first one that Blockbuster launched an online service in and we had Sky of course which was really strong and formidable business and we had, and actually turns out Amazon of all people decided to launch a competitive service in the UK as well again but never ended up doing the US so we found ourselves in quite a cauldron together and I think we forged out of that a very, very strong bond together.

Elliot Moss
In terms of close bonds that you have with the teams that you lead and the interesting thing about you William is that you are an investor but you are also now running, now running – you are running currently running a business, you are also a non-exec. You sit in lots of different camps. I remember years ago I interviewed Luke Johnson and what struck me about Luke was that he is not only a doer, he is also an observer of doing and obviously that changes things somewhat and he is able to observe and able to say ‘actually this is how, this is what I am feeling’ and he has been through some tough times but has all been well coming through them. What do your teams think about you? What’s the common feedback that you’ve got over the years about how William is to actually work for? If you weren’t in the room?

William Reeve
Yeah if I wasn’t in the room good question. I try and stay in the room for those conversations but I…

Elliot Moss
But you can’t sir, they talk about you anyway.

William Reeve
I think whether they would say this or whether I am just going to impose this view on them, I think I am very keen to try and build a collaborative and sort of consultative approach to making decisions so I don’t try and impose answers. I am not very autocratic. I remember actually a business leader I really respect actually saying to me a few years ago; ‘there are two models first of how you can run teams and businesses, there is the, there is the sort of team of equals and working as like a really consensual, collaborative way and then of course there is the kind of opposite like the 800 pound gorilla model and I am the 800 pound gorilla’. And I am the collaborative, consensual team type person and I think I take something about how what I learnt from McKinsey into how I run teams and that is McKinsey used to have this concept of high performing teams and I found that really useful and that is all about really, you’ve got the right people in the team, you’ve got clear roles established, you’ve clear accountability, you’ve got a very clear joint sense of what the objective is and you’ve high levels of communication and trust.

Elliot Moss
And also McKinsey if you’ve got an issue you’re not performing your role properly, if you don’t put your hand up with the boss…

William Reeve
You are under obligation to descent, yeah

Elliot Moss
…obligation to descent. I love that as a value of McKinsey’s, extraordinary.

William Reeve
Yeah, no that’s right although actually that, I don’t think I bring… that’s, that’s quite a lot about, that is somewhat unique to consulting I think the value of that but the, but I think the world I am trying to create is one where I’ve got a good class of characters, I am trying to be relatively un-hierarchical, I am trying to make sure everyone knows what the business is trying to achieve and what their role in it is, we have open and transparent conversations around how we are doing against that and any idea can be the right answer and I suppose in that respect part of what McKinsey is trying to do is it has got some quite junior guys and they want to make sure their ideas carry as much weight as the very senior guys.

Elliot Moss
Yeah.

William Reeve
Because they are probably as smart as the senior guys, they are just 20 years earlier in their career and I think I take, I don’t use the obligations of descent but I do start from the point of view of what my team would call it, HIP… sort of avoid HIPPO’s which is the Highest Paid Persons Opinion.

Elliot Moss
Yeah.

William Reeve
And you know, I want nothing about HIPPO, I want, we are going to be fact based, meritocratic and we going to find the right answer, I don’t care where it comes from.

Elliot Moss
Yeah. And in terms of all the different businesses you’ve worked in, and different roles, have you… Paddy Power, obviously Grays, non-exec chairman, Zoopla, non-exec director, Hubbub, Co-CEO and I could go on. When are you at your happiest? When is it? Is it in the operational role, is it in the director role, is it in the investment role? At what point do you go actually this kind of works for me or is it the combination that works?

William Reeve
I think the, I think the absolute best outcome from my point of view is when you’re running on an operational level a highly performing team and you are getting stuff done, you are making things happen, you are creating value, you are building something that is going to last and when you can do that on a full-time basis and you can see your role in that, that’s, that’s a 9 or 10 outcome. 9 or 10 out of 10 outcome. I think when you are non-exec on a good Board of an interesting business, that is at least an 8 out of 10 outcome and that actually probably represents the best single bang for buck because in one day a month or whatever it is, you can get a lot done and more done that in one-twentieth of twenty days, it is a month you are doing a full-time job. So a good non-exec role can be good but you don’t I think ever quite get it to the 9 or 10 out of 10 because you don’t ever quite have the same feeling of sort of band of brothers, sort of rolling your sleeves up feeling like you know, really we’ve got a kind of level of bond and accountability for this. Which you just can’t really get when you are on the side lines as a non-exec is.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with William Reeve plus we will be playing a track from Jimmy Ponder, that’s in just a minute, don’t go anywhere.

That was Jimmy Ponder with Mean Streets No Bridges – what a good name. William Reeve is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes. Right now you are the CEO of Goodlord, this new clever, digital platform for renting. What’s it like running the business? What’s the team like? What have all the cumulative years of experience William taught you about the optimum high performance team that you need to create? What’s going on right now for you?

William Reeve
So Goodlord wasn’t a business I started, it was set up by three young lads a few years ago who were all renting and didn’t enjoy the experience of like becoming a renter and in fact one of them was actually working for an estate agency and so he kind of saw it from the inside out as well and they all realised that this could be a lot better this process and you know, it is practically, it is practically like in the bible isn’t it and yeah actually there is all this technology these days which makes, gives you ways of doing things in a much more enjoyable and slick and efficient process. So it wasn’t my idea. I joined the business of course but you can understand it can’t you, renting is a pretty fundamental thing. There are 10 million rental homes in the UK and we’ve all done it at some point and… but I had to, I had to make sure before I took on the role that the people in the business were going to be people I could work with and luckily there are a lot of very, very talented people and I think renting being broken is something which any generation rent and millennials in London like do not need to be told twice so we have got some very talented people very bought into that mission of making renting the best possible experience it can be. And a lot of those guys were great for me actually, they were really welcoming of my entry into the business and I think they are actually really proud of sort of how the teams taken the business forward in the last little while and most of the key guys in the team are people who were there before I joined but have just I think benefitted from, from kind of making sure we have all got clarity on what we are trying to achieve and we are working as a team together and we are much more, we are a much more high performing team than the business has managed to be before probably 2018.

Elliot Moss
Let me ask you a slightly different question. I was going to ask you a couple of quick and then we are going to go to your song choice. So obviously you invest in businesses. If you were to give one bit of advice to a young person, thinking about coming to an investor, what would you say is the most important thing they ought to do when they come and present?

William Reeve
I don’t know if I have a crisp one liner for that. I think at the end of the day it is a competitive world out there you’ve got to figure out a way of winning. So whatever you are trying to do, whether it’s… and I don’t mean necessarily in a sharp elbowed way, but I mean for a business to grow it’s going to have to be either creating something out of nothing or it’s going to have to be a winning share. It’s got to be winning and that, you as an individual have got to have a reason why you versus everybody else in the space or beyond, why you have a way of winning.

Elliot Moss
Very good and money. We started talking about money, liberating impact of money. Here we are in 2019, 22 years since you set up your first business.

William Reeve
In fact it’s just recently we’ve had the 20th anniversary of that first sale, a life changing event for me.

Elliot Moss
Right and so life changing now, what does that mean to you now William? Has your relationship with money changed over those 22 years?

William Reeve
I think I am reasonably money motivated, remain money motivated. I think I owe that to my mother really, my mother is an American accountant and I think has always taken an interest in stocks and shares for example and I got that from her and definitely not from my classics academic father who has no interest in any of those matters so my relationship with money I suppose I have always been motivated by it, I definitely see it now as I want my money working for me, rather than I am working for money and that’s been the change over the last 20 years.

Elliot Moss
It’s been really good to talk to you. The last Jazz Shaper of 2019, it’s a special honour. We haven’t conferred it on anyone before because this is the only last show of 2019. We will be back in February but lots more of that across January here on Jazz FM. Just before I let you go though and thank you very much for your time, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

William Reeve
So I’ve chosen the particular version of Girl From Ipanema. That particular version there is no particular story behind it but I think I am somebody who, I have always loved music, I have always loved listening to music, if I get a choice I have always got music playing but I never ever hear the vocals so I was totally unaware actually of the relevance of the tune from Girl From Ipanema until I went to Rio De Janeiro and Ipanema with my wife some years back and I had a real kind of thunder clap moment of like ‘wow this is the famous song from this famous beach’ and it made me appreciate the beach and the neighbourhood and it made me appreciate what I was missing I suppose by not really paying attention to vocals but I suppose part of the point about Jazz is, it’s not about the vocals and I like, I am not so into the kind of depressing, soulful side of Jazz, I am more interested in the uplifting side of Jazz and I think Girl From Ipanema is that for me.

Elliot Moss
That was the Girl from Ipanema, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, William Reeve. He talked about the importance of finding a way to win, that lies at the centre of every good business he has ever been involved with; he talked about a non-hierarchical collaborative approach to leadership, you don’t have to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room and finally what struck me is that for someone who is so successful over such a long period of time, he was incredibly honest. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, here’s to a fantastic 2020. Happy New Year.

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

Having always had an interest in business, William Reeve is the CEO of Goodlord.co, a property technology company on a mission to provide the best rental experience in the world. Also the Non-Executive Chairman of Nutmeg and non-Exec Director at Dunelm PLC, William Co-Founded Fletcher Research (now NASDAQ:FORR),  LOVEFiLM.com and Secret Escapes. He has previously served in a number of the leading internet businesses in the UK/Ireland as a Founder, in an operating role, a Non-Executive role, as an investor or sometimes a combination of all of them.

Interview highlights

We were in the right place, at the right time.

We leveraged our network well.

When you face the diving board, you’ve got to jump off.

You need a clear idea on what your business is trying do and you need an idea on why it has a right to exist.

I don’t think I am as logical, analytical or tough as other people I might know, but I do think I am an analytical person by nature.

I have always been interested in business.

There are some entrepreneurs you would go to the end of the earth for.

I am very keen to build a collaborative and consultative approach to making decisions.

The world I am trying to create is one where I’ve got a good class of characters and relatively un-hierarchical.

I am trying to make sure everyone knows what the business is trying to achieve and what their role in it is.

Shaper: Sir Martin Sorrell

Sir Martin Sorrell is the Founder of WPP – the advertising and marketing services group, and S4 Capital – an advertising and marketing company for the digital age. Sir Martin was CEO of WPP for 33 years, building it from a £1 million “shell” company in 1985 into the world’s largest advertising and marketing services [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 2 months ago

Shaper: Marcia Kilgore

Serial entrepreneur, Marcia Kilgore, is the Founder of Beauty Pie – the radical, luxury cosmetic buyers’ club as well as Bliss, Soap & Glory, FitFlop and Soaper Duper. Coming from humble beginnings, Marcia’s drive and ambition led her to Found Bliss Spa, selling a majority stake to LVMH in 1999. In 2006, she launched bath, [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 2 months ago