At university in the late eighties and early nineties, I rarely read The Economist. I thought it was rather stuffy, to be honest; It was something that I rarely picked up. But as I started my career in 1991, with Kraft foods and eventually at PepsiCo, I could really get a sense of how valuable it might be to me.
I eventually subscribed in the mid-nineties and I particularly enjoyed reading “The World In” series, which came out every year. So that was something I really look forward to. I think I’ve still got a copy of The World In 1997, with a picture of Tony Blair on the cover.
I particularly enjoyed reading things regularly, like the Big Mac Index and all the focus they had on emerging markets, which to me always seemed rather exciting and interesting. So it’s probably no surprise that it eventually changed my life.
Around about the time of the turn of the millennium, I’d still be reading The Economist regularly and working as I did at the time in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). I’d been in that industry since the very start of my career in 1991 and I’d worked for United Biscuits, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Disney. And I just got a sense that there was something more out there that was a bit more interesting, and it was The Economist that really provoked me into thinking differently and looking at the world of the Internet, and all of the developments that were going on with web technology. It sparked my interest; it made me very curious about where careers might go and it got me to really look ahead.
That’s one of the values that we introduced into our business at Push. It is literally always being ahead, so I can definitely say that without reading The Economist, I would not have made the career switch, the change that I made in 2004/2005, which set me out as an Internet Consultant.
I literally would have just stayed in the world of fast-moving consumer goods. I saw many of my colleagues go into consulting roles. At the time I felt that that was probably not going to be a strong future career opportunity for me.
I wanted something new and I was inspired by The Economist to look at something quite different, something that I thought would grow very quickly. As I said, we really do talk about our values at Push, about being always ahead and I still really value The Economist and the insight that it gives me around emerging markets.
We buy, The World In series for the senior team every year. I encourage them, even though many of them are still in their twenties and early thirties, to pick up and continue to read The Economist because I think it has fantastic insights and teasers as to where life and the future of business is going.