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Fireside chat with David Lockie, CMO at Angry Creative

Who is David Lockie?

I’m a Zoologist by degree; my hero growing up was always David Attenborough. After volunteering and working in Indonesia as a herpetologist over a few summers, I became increasingly disillusioned with the politics and financials behind ecology sciences and the impotence of public policy to stand up to corporate interests. What point researching the breeding habits of stream frogs if you then build a Walmart carpark over it all anyway?

On returning to the UK I started working with some uni friends building a series of online marketplaces to help catalyse the growth of clean energy technologies like fuel cells, hydrogen and low carbon tech. Whilst those businesses didn’t make it, along the way I did learn how to build websites. I started freelancing and quickly discovered that WordPress was the best tool out there for the job. I got busier and busier as a freelancer and eventually rolled that practice into an agency, Pragmatic which I started in 2012.
For the next 8 years I built the business up, peaking at a team of 65 and a £3.5m run rate working for blue chip clients. When COVID hit, I quickly realised that ecommerce was the place to be for the next few years and merged with Angry Creative – a Swedish agency that had built up an impressive ecommerce business.

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly fascinated by emerging technologies like AI and especially crypto/blockchain. I now have a few consultancy and advisory roles that work in harmony with my role at Angry.

Outside of work I try to balance my love of food and drink with staying fit and active. I have a beautiful and loving family and we love exploring the world together, most recently in a motorhome. 

Tell us more about your role in Angry Creative?

I’m CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) at Angry Creative, leading a small team. It’s an exciting time to be doing this role as we have both the ‘business as usual’ agency side of the business but we’re also starting to expose our internal ecommerce product “Qala” to the public. A lot of my work so far has been about discovering, consolidating and creating the underlying documentation that an effective marketing strategy relies on. I’ve also been working to create our marketing strategy as well as ensuring that day-to-day marketing activities continue and evolve. 

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

I expect many marketers will tell you the same: getting the knowledge out of our incredible team in order to be able to communicate it with the outside world. Great people are usually stacked full of work so getting those insights and expertise can be a tricky task, but that’s where the marketing gold lies.  

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Looking forwards, no. Looking backwards, I would have started mining bitcoin in 2012 instead of starting an agency ha ha.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

We’re following a differentiated strategy of creating an ecommerce platform that leverages the incredible open source ecosystem of WordPress and WooCommerce whilst providing the same great user experience as platforms like Shopify. We believe strongly in open source and that people and companies should have the freedom to own not only their own data but their own digital estate. This is what Qala allows and as these issues become more prevalent, we believe it’ll put us in a great position for the future. 

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

I believe we’re positioned very well for the challenges that COVID and Brexit will continue to bring. Ecommerce and digital in general were a lifeline to many businesses (and the overall economy) in the depths of the crisis and I believe that will continue to be the case for some time yet. About the only positive thing I can say about Brexit is that the increased complexity of internationalised ecommerce favours experienced businesses like ours that can provide robust and compliant solutions to merchants. 

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

  • WordPress
  • WooCommerce
  • Cloudflare
  • Atlassian
  • Slack
  • G Suite

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • Currently reading: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
  • Memorable/recent: Putin’s People, The Russians Among Us, ZeroZeroZero and 3 Body Problem.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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