Tom Threadgill

All about us

In this first of a series of special blogs, we give you an insight into our team here at Shuttlefish, starting with an interview with our Managing Director Tom Threadgill.  Tom gives us an overview of his early life, interests, and passion for the ‘Cotswold Olimpick Games’ and explains how, when he looks back, he was probably destined to start a business and work for himself.

Tell us a bit about yourself, early life, academics etc. 

I was born in Birmingham, I am a brummie and went to school in Solihull. I had loads of interests as a kid, but never had a games console, which in retrospect was probably a good thing. I supported Aston Villa football club, and still do.

Music has always been a passion of mine, so i have a wide range of tastes there.

I left home at about 17, and eventually moved to the Cotswolds, which is where I am based now.

So music was a passion? 

Yes, always has been.  Listening, watching, and playing. I have been in two bands, as a guitarist and singer, and more recently a funk and soul band. We were in the pub and we picked several songs off the jukebox as a playlist, and that evolved into us starting a ten piece band which lasted for five odd years. We headlined local festivals, it was great fun .

17 today sounds so young (today) to spread your wings. 

I went to secondary school only, my parents moved away and I didn’t want to go with them is the simple truth. At that time a bunch of 17-year-old friends could group together and afford a house. The house we lived in was something like 28k, so back then it was affordable.

I did a stint in hospitality and property, both selling and development. Development was great, that was something I really enjoyed. We bought a great house in Chipping Campden, which we spent some money on developing, and it was all looking great but then the crash of 2008 happened.

So how did you make the transition into the more creative world ?

I went to India, and did the rickshaw run from the north to the south, which I surprisingly won. I also met someone there who was a graphic designer. I had always wanted to do something similar, but just didn't have the formal qualifications as such. She sent me a book when I returned to the UK, on graphic design essentials. She also sent me £500 to buy the software I needed. I holed myself up in a cottage in the middle of nowhere for a few years and I got to grips with it. I started working freelance for a few agencies, and eventually started Shuttlefish, together with a partner, and that was ten years ago.

I have never worked full time for another agency, this is the one and only agency I have been in really. What helps the agency is the breadth of experience and training that other colleagues have got, that really brings a different perspective in house.

What was it about working for yourself, starting an agency that appealed to you? 

Maybe a combination of having worked for other people previously, and the desire in itself to create something. Those two things were probably the catalyst. I know myself psychologically, much better the older I get. I am an energetic person, quite happy to lead and drive work and I love innovation. Once you know where your strengths lie, it can open up areas that you need to work on as well and that can be challenging or exciting depending on how you look at it.

Do you remember your first customer, and how that felt? 

Absolutely, it was Barclay Care Group and they are still with us today. It was an amazing feeling. They have grown a great deal, and it's become a long-term relationship. On reflection that was our conduit into the care market which is where we specialise.

In terms of innovation, is there any technology that has got you excited? 

The idea of digital twinning excites me. Everyone knows about virtual tours, where you can look around virtual worlds, buildings, and the like. In the future public buildings will all be mapped as such. This technology does not stop at just scanning buildings, you can put layers and layers on top of each other, data points etc. You could use different layers for virtual training and for sales and marketing purposes. I would like to look at how we change the interaction with websites, where their focus is buildings, schools, care homes and even hotels. The building itself almost becomes the navigation focus of the website. That's an exciting area I would like to explore further with our clients.

Are there any books or podcasts you would recommend?

I’m one of the few people I know who doesn't listen to podcasts actually. I am a massive Sherlock Holmes geek though, I love all of those. 1984 by George Orwell, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde are also favourites of mine.

What else takes up your time out of work? 

The Cotswold Olimpick Games has taken up much of my free time in recent times. Started in around 1612 by a guy called Robert Dover, the games are well known for ‘Shin Kicking’. The genesis of the games is fascinating. I chaired the society and helped (along with others) to build it back up again, to where we are now. It's a really important and interesting social and political story.

The games are a nice tie into us looking at our next move with the business, which is to Chipping Campden, hopefully in the next month or so, which will be another exciting part of our story we hope.

If you have a question about how Shuttlefish can support you with your digital marketing needs, or even to learn more about the Cotswold Olimpick Games! get in touch with Tom Threadgill.