Why I make it my business to share thoughts - Nick Freer

In last weekend’s column I wrote about curating opinion pieces for the business section of The Scotsman and how I always think there should be some Scotland-specific context to whatever is being written about.

Nick Freer is the founding director of strategic corporate communications agency the Freer Consultancy

What I should have added is that, where possible, I think the best columns combine themes around doing business in Scotland with how that fits into the global equation. So, for example, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist writing about why his or her firm decided to back an Edinburgh-headquartered startup, and their views on our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In November, Infracost CEO and co-founder Hassan Kjajeh-Hosseini, penned a piece about the “incredible power of networks for startups”. Last year, Infracost was selected as one of 350 startups from over 40 countries to be funded by renowned technology startup accelerator Y Combinator in Mountain View, California.

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As Hassan put it: “Our success is tied to the support of our network, and if we had more strong networks like this in Scotland, we would have more successful startups. A network of founders willing to share stories, learnings and connections. An example of where this is starting to work is at CodeBase in Edinburgh, and I can’t wait to contribute more.”

Ahead of COP26 last October, the CEO of digital skills academy CodeClan, Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, wrote that “we know technology can be one of the main drivers of recovery, to leverage creativity, engineering and complex problem-solving to reset our climate course.” Matthews-Clarkson continued: “In Scotland, we have a number of companies that provide a shining example of climate tech at its best.”

In August, Geneva-based Scot Gib Bulloch wrote about how he believes Scotland is “ideally placed to reinvent the future of work.” Former Accenture senior executive Bulloch, author of The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent and founder the Craigberoch Business Decelerator on his native Isle of Bute, is an inspirational individual whose thinking has made a big impression on me. He wrote: “For much of my adult life, the Scottish and British economies have been heavily dependent on North Sea oil. For the next half century, it needs to be something different.”

Also last summer, Scottish tech entrepreneur George Mackintosh wrote a piece about post-pandemic work dynamics: “Our experiences since March 2020 have changed the way we work and how business is done. In part that’s good: fewer commuter miles, less emissions, greater productivity, and improved wellbeing. But what’s being lost? How do you build team cohesiveness, brainstorm, agree strategy, solve problems and negotiate shared goals?”

In my own opinion pieces, I think I have written in more personal way over the last couple of years than ever before, over and above the more business-focussed articles - including around subjects like mental health and wellbeing, work-life balance, living through pandemic times, and the shock of being struck down by Covid after having dodged the dreaded thing for so long.

Writing from a very personal point of view can be hard, taking that step outside your comfort zone and really opening up, but if the result resonates with a number of people then I always feel like the exercise is worthwhile.

Nick Freer is the founding director of strategic communications agency the Freer Consultancy

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