In the short months since I became aware of Barry Furby, I’ve quickly become an admirer of his drive and entrepreneurial nous, as well as his genuine way of authentically valuing relationships beyond the “what can you do for me” paradigm.
So, I’m glad Barry has been able to take the time to answer some questions and be the latest interviewee here at johnnylaird.net
Q: What made Barry Furby the man he is today…who were your early mentors and influencers?
Firstly Johnny, thanks for allowing me some time in the limelight of your blog, it looks like a great series of interviews and thoughts coming together here. What a challenging first question to kick us of…
In life, it has to be my family, my father and both grand fathers are/were great gentlemen, hard working, respectable and loving. Now that I have a family of my own (Oscar 16 months & 2nd son due in a matter of weeks), I make every effort to make the most of opportunities to provide for them, and develop my understanding of the world we live in to pass on to them.
In business, I’ve worked always worked so reactively and instinctively, it’s both a strength and weakness that I try to balance on an almost daily basis. In the last 2-3 years the biggest influencers have been the people I communicate with on a daily basis (Yourself, Shannon Boudjema, Adam Vincinzini, Bernie Mitchell, Scott Gould) and the places that they send me to read, this includes the Seth Godins, Chip & Dan Heaths, Stephen Bayleys and Roger Mavitys of the written world.
Q: Can you tell me something about the genesis of your current projects; the really early days when you moved from ideas and concepts towards something that started to become tangible.
I sat in soul-less sales offices for months leading up to going out on my own and setting up Fresh Resources and Social Media Monday, I was telling myself it wasn’t the right time (with a new born son and few spare pennies), then the penny dropped! If something begins to feel right or excite you then go and do it. I saw an opportunity to grow a business in an emerging market, and a community of likeminded individuals who I could learn from, be-friend and provide a valuable service to. Straight out the starting blocks the excitement had caught me, the learning curve began, and I haven’t looked back.
Q: My impression is that you are a guy who has come a long way pretty quickly. Is that the way you see it too, and if that’s the case how do you explain it?
The learning curve I mentioned, that’s not been far from vertical, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I worked my trade for 4-5 years before I set up Fresh, so that element of setting up was actually less risky, I was confident in my ability to win contracts and secure talent for my clients. Social Media Monday in terms of the community and events, that was a new experience and something I’d never even looked at before. I saw the value in offline events, relationships often take on a stronger form when they’re built up with layers of communication, mutual value and handshakes. Events, Technology, Community and their impact on Business have really captured my attention and it’s something I’m definitely planning to take further.
Q: You have an incredible network of friends and associates. What kicked that off?
I’d like to think that making these relationships mutually beneficial are the reason that they’ve flourished, in a time where all of us are still learning about emerging tools, applying lessons learned and understanding the psychology of community applied to business we must make the work we do Win-Win-Win, that’s personally, emotionally and in business.
Q: What makes someone a good networker, and how do you deal with balancing authentic relationships with strong and successful commercial initiatives?
Hidden agendas, Broadcasting and Self promotion all #FAIL, I really believe that if you go into these relationships thinking how can I help that person then the rewards in return will be double, now I don’t mean that like giving xmas presents to get one in return, but Seth Godin says “if you make a difference, people will gravitate to you. they want to engage, to interact and to get you involved”, I’d be delighted if the work I do gets me anywhere close to this.
Q: We’ve talked about how things started off for you, so where are you now with Fresh Resources and Social Media Monday?
5th of August 2010, is Fresh Resources’ 1st Birthday, and the September Social Media Monday will be the 12th so we’re one year in on paper and it only feels like the beginning of the journey.
I’m working super hard with a few people in the SMMo community to help extend our community and family of events worldwide, that is truly exciting and there’s an announcement that goes with it that I can’t wait to get out… right now it’s one of those if i told you i’d have to shoot you moments… but it’s exciting and to a degree, a change of direction that will give us focus and help evolve everyone involved.
Fresh Resources I call the day job, and I’m delighted to have close relationships with leading businesses in the London Social Media space, and have been overwhelmed with a couple of kind references we’ve received for our work recently – really great news for the business – and post-baby, we’ll be ready to grow the company (and maybe come to London).
Q: Who are the people working in your arena now that are inspiring you, and what is it that makes them stand out in a pretty crowded field?
I see myself as slightly detached from the space as I’m not a practising Marketer or Strategist, but a biz owner who uses the tools and facilitates a community and events. So it’s quite easy to step back see what’s going on without seeing people as competition. I feel at the moment there is an element of frustration in the social media industry, frustration with guru types, facebook page merchants and £99-499 a month bundle packages and I understand it, I’m a huge advocate of grown up intelligent marketing and an integrated approach that provides results for business, box ticking isn’t going to get far in a fast paced visible market where your work is accessible and the competition are so critical.
- Scott and Drew are doing great work with Like Minds, I really like their approach, Gemma Went of Red Cube again has a grown up approach to the space, and we have something happening at our Social Collective conf which is inspired by Shannon Boudjema, Darika Ahrens and Paul Armstrong called #mapMAP a step back asking what’s broken in our advertising model and that’s going produce some really good conversation and a paper that highlights the points made – it should be a great take away.
Q: Could you have done the work you are doing today ten years ago?
Ha, at 16 or in the yr 2000? I think it would have been a very different experience, and certainly would have used different methods and technology. Actually maybe not, I guess it’s happening now because of my fascination with modern day and emerging technology, business and community, I’d like to be successful in trying to find a way for them to work together harmoniously through Fresh and SMMo.
Q: Any final thoughts to share…?
I’m excited about where this space, technology and family of communities will take us… It’s very much a period of learning for me and as I seem to learn best from doing so I look forward to looking back and sharing.
Thanks for spending some time with me.