“Children often pursue their parents’ jobs because of the breakfast-table effect: Family conversations influence them. They fuel interests or teach children what less commonly understood careers entail (probably one reason textile spinning and shoemaking are high on the list of jobs disproportionately passed on to children). In interviews, people who followed their parents’ career paths described it as speaking the same language.”
In this episode, we speak with Andrew MacDowell, the founder of Brooklyn Strategic, a coalition of specialized communications agencies and media production groups based in New York City and Washington, DC. Together, they develop and implement amazing digital campaigns and strategic communications programs in the social purpose, educational, philanthropic, and financial sectors.
With over two decades of experience in communications, Andrew is an industry leader who brings a wealth of business savvy having worked in large and mid-sized firms, in addition to launching several successful entrepreneurial endeavors.
I met Andrew when our oldest kids were almost two-years-old and attending the same preschool in Washington DC. Bonding first as fathers—sharing our hopes and fears for our families, Andrew and I eventually discovered we had similar professional interests and quickly became sounding boards for each other.
In this episode of Suite Talk we have a conversation with Sam Barcroft, founder and CEO of Barcroft Media, a digital media company with multiple lines of business and a massive global reach.
“I’ve been passionate always about incredible stories and always think there is nothing more wonderful than a true story,” says Sam.
Barcroft’s story begins in 2003, with him working as a freelance photo journalist who was generating enough projects to hire someone to lighten the load and spread the wealth.
“I started my own company based upon the fact that I thought there were some opportunities for me to go it alone and take my work in the direction I really wanted to do, free of working for anyone else directly.”
From the backroom of a North London flat, Barcroft Media now has offices in London, New York City and New Delhi. Barcroft TV is the second most popular YouTube news channel with 68.2 million views. Barcroft’s production company and wire service provide content for a host of global brands like National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel and MTV.
On Suite Talk, Sam shares with us the philosophy that has fueled the rapid growth of Barcroft Media from a one-man shop in North London to having 70 plus employees on three continents. (Hint: small steps)
More importantly, we learn how he inspires and empowers his team to implement the company’s vision to produce “amazing content.”
Along the way, we gleam Sam’s insights to business, which are informed in part by watching his father struggle as a small business owner and almost losing the family home; and being part of a Hip-Hop band doing £50 a show.
“I say to a lot of people, if you are looking to start a business whatever you do don’t spend any money,” advises Barcroft. “Use your energy, your cleverness, your mobile phone, run your business for nothing from your back room. And then if you can get momentum with that then use up some favors but not borrow any money and not spend any money then you will always have business that will always be looking after you, rather than you look after it.”
Despite leading a far-flung global enterprise that carries his name, Sam is astonishingly laidback. In this interview, we learn how he (and you can) disconnect from work and relax and enjoy your family and some of life’s other pleasures.
“I put myself in a forced exile every weekend, and I’m careful not to take my mobile phone into the bedroom,” said Barcroft. “Recovery is really important, when you’re working hard you have to be bold with recovery.”
Lean in, lean back and enjoy.
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