This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews Ed Campbell of Seek+Deploy, a start-up that provides digital content for rural, regional and remote change-makers, entrepreneurs and innovators. Ed is a guest columnist for Vivid Minds Vivid Futures.
How did you get involved in Vivid Minds Vivid Futures?
We can blame that on Ingrid! I changed my LinkedIn profile when I left my previous role and Ingrid noticed the change. She reached out and provided me with an opportunity to use my skillset to develop relationships in the local community. From there, I also became a guest writer for Vivid Minds Vivid Futures, and now here I am!
What do you enjoy most about writing for Vivid Minds Vivid Futures?
I love connecting with local leaders, business people and community change-makers and finding out what makes them tick.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Victoria, but never lived there – the closest hospital happened to be across the border. My family moved around a lot when I was young – we worked out that my father has lived in 40+ different houses in his lifetime. So I spent time in the Riverina, the Central West, and the Central Coast. My upbringing was a real mix of the bush and the coast. I went to a lot of different primary schools but most of my secondary schooling was in Armidale.
I was fortunate to receive a journalism cadetship with Rural Press. It was the best training; you literally had a senior editor standing over you through the whole training process. Old school journalism training was great because it not only teaches you to think, but also to ask the right questions and build rapport. My first posting was in Roma, Queensland. I then moved to a public relations firm based in NSW and did work for some large rural companies.
What brought you back to Armidale?
Like many people who have just left school, I was never coming back to Armidale. But the family had some country towards Kingstown (west of Uralla) and I came back here to help. I also established my own marketing and public relations company at the same time. But around the time that the GST was introduced, work started to dry up as companies shifted the focus from marketing to accountants. I secured a job at UNE as the cultural activities officer for student services. I held a variety of positions before finishing up last year in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
What does Seek+Deploy do?
Seek+Deploy is a digital content lab. We seek answers to business challenges and then deploy digital solutions. We find an appropriate way to establish the presence they require – it might be a podcast, videos, an infographic, or to stylise an image to portray a particular vision. We don’t limit the creativity to a particular discipline. We devise a solution that wouldn’t necessarily be evident to the client. We have the ability to provide a piece of information to the right person at the right time – and customise it to their particular needs.
What do you like most about running your own business?
I really wanted to do something that’s creative, dynamic and focused on developing rural, regional and remote Australia. There is always something new to learn because every client’s needs are different. I learn about the client’s requirements and products, and work out how we can create specific content to connect with their market.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
First, you need to acknowledge that you can’t do it all yourself. You need to find people you can trust to work with and who have your best interests at heart. Help comes in many forms – it’s advice, it’s mentoring, it’s people who understand the market you are in. And it’s also the professionals that we need along the way – accountants and legal advisers and so on. Different skillsets that help you create efficiencies that not only make your business cost effective, but allow you more time to work on the business rather than in the business.
What inspires you?
It’s great to see someone take an idea and run with it. It’s not just the high profile accomplishments, it’s seeing the joy anyone gets out of the successes they have while working towards their goals.
I get a huge buzz out of applying something from left field that’s really effective in another context. Working in that interdisciplinary space is difficult, but there is a great satisfaction in bringing it all together.
I love working with clients who have a strong sense of social responsibility – those who recognise that while there’s need to be profitable, the big picture needs to be kept in mind. There are some really exciting things happening in this space, with companies increasingly looking at the triple bottom line – making money, improving the environment and developing the local community.
What is your secret for success?
Being open to ideas that come from outside the box – and being willing to see what can be done in the space between opposing ideologies. It’s the fascination and the energy to seek out those people and businesses with the drive to go outside the ‘norm’ and take a chance on combining two seemingly disparate ideas and making them work. That’s part of the fascination with all sorts of different ways of working and building different systems. It’s also about being open to the possibilities.
What’s next for Seek+Deploy?
I have to officially launch Seek+Deploy! It’s been so busy that I didn’t get the chance to celebrate launching the business. And I’m working on a couple of projects which will complement the services provided by Seek+Deploy. It’s a bit of a case of watch this space.
The future is shaping up in many exciting ways!