John McLeish, Equator Managing Director

Written by Alan Robertson on 20 November 2015 in Feature

For 100 days, Connect is running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland

John McLeish (@JohnMcLeishEQTR)

Job Title/Organisation: Founder and Managing Director, Equator 

What does your role involve?

Equator is an ideas agency for a connected world. As managing director I am responsible for the overall running of the business, ensuring that we are driving value across all of our clients. A major part of my role is to champion the strategic development of the company and realisation of our vision.

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

As part of a fast-paced business, every day presents a different challenge. One of the biggest challenges in the sector is people. Given the rapid evolution and relative immaturity of the sector there is unfortunately a limited talent pool. The team at Equator are therefore a main focus of mine.

I am keen to ensure I give the right support and encouragement to not just the leadership team but the wider business. I am also keen to develop a ‘grassroots’ policy to ensure we are growing the talent pool for years to come.

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

I personally enjoy most things I get involved in. However, as an agency we have undertaken many exciting and rewarding initiatives for both our clients and for the agency itself.

In the last 12 months we have undertaken a fairly significant and exciting evolutionary programme which will deliver value to our current and future clients through greater innovation and sector insight. Currently, we work with many national and international brands and this development will create a platform that enables Equator to compete on a global stage. 

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

It is important that we as a sector embrace the fact that there is a shortage of experienced talent and work together to implement a ‘grassroots’ strategy that fuels the sector for years to come. At the moment most of us are competing within the same pot which is not beneficial to anyone. However, more concerning, this is stunting growth for many exciting companies.

We need to start to stimulate interest from schools through to further education and university whilst motivating individuals to get involved in the digital sector in Scotland. There is no need to go to London, New York or any other progressive city. We have great businesses here in Scotland that can easily develop to be global brands if we fuel their growth with good people.

Without stating the obvious, there is not an immediate fix for this therefore working together to create a medium to long-term strategy will undoubtedly bring rewards. This is something that Equator is already embarking upon and believe it is crucial in order to support our growth plans.

Which new technology excites you the most?

It would have to be mobile. In the last weeks, months and years this tech has changed the lives of many and there is more to come.

What's your favourite app and why?

There are too many great apps out there and all have a purpose. I use Evernote every day and no matter where I am, what I am doing, I can access my ‘memory bank’.

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

I am really excited about the year ahead. There have been many great technological developments in the last 12 months and leveraging them to benefit our clients and their customers will be beneficial to all concerned. Businesses will be able to enjoy greater efficiencies as well as delivering a better experience for their customers as a result.

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