Business Management

The CMO Files: Richard Morgans, Oncam

 Richard Morgans

 Organisation: Oncam

 Job title: CMO

 Location: Chiswick Park, London, UK


1.             Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Bristol and spent the first year of my life in Ghana, West Africa while my father worked as an Engineering Geologist building a dam on the Volta river. We then moved back to the UK where I grew up in Surrey.

2.             What was your first job?
My first job was working for a dive school in Cairns, Australia. I spent two hours taking the boat out to the Barrier Reef every day, checking equipment, filling numerous tanks and diving all day long. I was essentially a dive slave but I loved the environment and the diving, it was an introduction to a real work hard play hard culture.

3.             What was the first product you got really excited about?  
Personally and professionally I still get incredibly excited by new technologies. One of the first products I got excited about was a pair of headphones that I was given for my 10th birthday. I was amazed to hear the stereo sound and made sure the whole family tried them out. I have now progressed to my Bose noise cancelling headphones… a must for the many flights I now take, and I wouldn’t get on a plane without them.

4.             Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I was working for a leading Fortune 100 firm when the Chairman saw some potential in me, and took me under his wing. He taught me a huge amount, not just about business but how to behave and to tackle every challenge with style and professionalism. His advice to ‘be nice to everyone on the way up, because you may well meet them on the way down’ has stayed with me all these years.

5.             What has been your greatest achievement?
Our most recent achievement is an amazingly successful brand campaign. It was unique to our industry and used a really creative approach. The campaign was called ‘Heist On Cam’ and the user was able to solve crimes online by becoming a detective and using our unique technology to view crime scenes. We have won a number of awards and over 2 million people interacted with the campaign.

6.             What has been your biggest mistake?
When I was working at a previous company I stupidly agreed with my American boss on an advertising campaign that I knew he thought was great. It wasn’t, and I still regret that I didn’t stand up to him when I knew it was not going to be successful in the European market. It did teach me a valuable lesson, to stand up for what I believe in and more importantly, to listen to my own team.

7.             What is your greatest strength?
I believe I am very intuitive. I have a gut feel for what is right, what works and how people are feeling.
The other is a sense of humour which is a pre-requisite for any stressful role in any small, developing tech company.

8.             What is your biggest weakness?
Too trusting of others. Unfortunately, it’s part of my DNA, but I do like to trust people, to let them take responsibility. If I am let down by someone or a company it can take a while for me to regain that trust.

9.             What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
Creativity. When I was younger I worked with Manchester Business School to develop a ‘Creativity in Business Award’ which was hugely successful in the UK. Creativity isn’t just about the visual part of the job, although obviously it helps when you are working with creative agencies on design, advertising, PR etc. It’s also about ideas, how you approach a problem or challenge, and how you can build your brand.

10.         Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
Quality. With the exception of one previous employer, all the companies I have worked for have all been leaders in their field. They achieved this by doing the right thing and had a sense of style in the way that they behaved. As for squirming, anything along the lines of ‘we’ve been on a journey…’ – yuk!

11.         What makes you stressed?
Being late! I always arrive early and like to be prepared. Even if others arrive on time, they are still late!

12.         What do you do to relax?
Spend time with my family, particularly going to Cornwall where my wider family live. We all love the slower pace of life, the amazing scenery, the beaches and surfing. Music has always been important in my relaxation and I have always enjoyed seeing bands live and listening to old vinyl. I knew keeping my old vinyl was the right thing to do!

13.         What is your favourite song?
I am happy to listen to anything and my iPhone is filled with diverse music across all genres. I still reminisce about seeing certain bands live and ‘comfortably numb’ by Pink Floyd brings back great memories… I think.

14.         Which book taught you most?
Rather stupidly, it’s the AA road map! Pre Satnav, you’d literally be lost without it. My kids haven’t got a clue how to read a map. They probably will never need one, but I just feel happier knowing I can get by if the Satnav dies.

15.         Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
I played a lot of rugby when I was younger and love to watch the England Internationals. Going to Twickenham is a fantastic experience and such an amazing atmosphere. We also have a lot of football banter and rivalry at work. We even have a group chat on WhatsApp, which can get fairly brutal at times. I am the only Chelsea supporter which although being the best team in the league, made last season interesting…

16.         Which country would you like to work in?
Australia, I love the ‘can do’ attitude and the outdoor life. I worked in Sydney for a while and I could leave the office at 5.30 and be on Bondi beach at 6pm.

17.         Which company do you think has the best marketing?
I still think Apple has done the most amazing marketing. Opening their packaging with a new Mac product inside still gets me excited. Their product launches and firmware updates are really managed well and they always build the excitement levels so well.

18.         What do you love most about your job?
The people. We are a small but global company and we have developed some amazing technologies that we are all really proud of. The company has attracted some incredibly talented individuals from larger organisations who are all passionate about Oncam, our 360-degree technology and what the future holds for us. Our tech is great but our people are outstanding. I personally have a fantastic team that work really hard and make me look good… perfect!

19.         What is your favourite book?
The Dice Man. For someone who likes to be in control, enjoys planning and is fairly structured, the book really made me think about leaving everything to chance. That thought lasted about five minutes!

20.         What keeps you awake at night?
Personally, I worry about my kids too much, professionally I often wake up at night thinking about the direction of the company and my role in the process. I often have great ideas for work… some of which have worked out, others that just aren’t so great in the morning.


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