Eamon Tuhami has half a mind to take his dissertation back to his professors at Derby University and ask to have it re-marked. “They didn’t believe me back in 1999 that digital would be the worlds biggest marketing channel!” he says; perhaps not many lecturers would have done, but most of what Eamon believed would change in online at the time has indeed come to pass. Given this charismatic founder’s penchant for making things happen, this is unlikely to have been a coincidence!
Eamon’s dissertation was on internet marketing and his career to date has maintained a similar upward trajectory to his subject matter, whilst encompassing some of the same ups, downs, and periods of change. It’s been an adventure.
After uni Eamon joined an emerging internet start-up in Cardiff called Acequote, working in the sales team and quickly being promoted to marketing manager. A year later, and as the internet bubble was bursting and the company was suffering financial losses Eamon opted for redundancy and went travelling with his then girlfriend, now his wife.
He left Acequote with his reputation enhanced, being labelled a “born marketing whizz” by colleague Drew Benvie, who is now the founder of Battenhall PR. In fact, if the sheer volume of positive feedback and solicitations to work again someday in the recommendations section of his LinkedIn page are anything to go by, Eamon can be considered one of the hottest properties currently plying his trade in the “Silicon Roundabout”.
He is an investor in 4 of the area’s hottest new start-ups, as well as the digital marketing agency he set up and ran, Digital-Labs, which specialises in the “four key digital disciplines, strategy, design, media and knowledge”, and can also be found at networking events pitching his new start-up business, Motivii.com, a genuinely unique idea that changes the dynamic between a manager and their staff, although the underlying concept almost raises as many questions as it answers. It helps that in the flesh Eamon is as enthusiastic, talkative, and curious about the world around him as his profile and his start-up suggests he might be. As the old saying goes, he’s the radiator in the room, not the thermometer.
Eamon truly made his mark on digital advertising as the Head of Online Marketing and subsequently Director of Sales and Marketing at Experian Ltd. He was the first person recruited to the newly formed Experian Interactive team in London, and tasked with launching Credit Expert into the UK market, building relationships and clients and recruiting a development team. That was in 2004; after 6 successful years, he was made director of Sales & Marketing in 2010.
Again, it is easy to find numerous people from his time at Experian who have been delighted to have worked with Eamon, won over by his energy and knowledge of the digital marketplace. But by now Eamon had taken a tough life decision and decided he wanted to go it alone. He founded Digital Angle Ltd, an agency / consultancy with a focus on helping client’s monetise digital through data, sales marketing and ad-tech.
Eamon is happy to swap stories about his time at Experian, such as how he built the UK sales team from scratch to eventually manage a £20m digital marketing spend, and signed one of Facebook’s very first UK direct advertising deals after bumping into one of their top sales execs at a US conference, and from his time running Digital Angle; the extensive testing, using AB and MVT, of different marketing strategies to find the perfect formula, and using the data to pinpoint a product’s target market or audience. He clearly has excellent market knowledge and a head for business, but recently he has been spending the bulk of his time when he is away from his family thinking about something a little more abstract, something that is the principle on which Motivii, his new start-up, is founded. Motivation itself.
Eamon’s belief is that motivation is the fuel that powers us on our journey towards happiness. He believes that happiness is an endpoint, a goal to work towards, rather than a state of mind, and, crucially, that motivation needs to be recorded and studied if the journey is to successfully reach its conclusion.
This is where the Motivii app comes in. It works similarly to a “map my run” style app or a Fitbit tracker, however all the user is required to do is to record their own levels of motivation, from 1-100, at different times of the day. On the commute to work, during a lunch break, before and after exercise, or before bedtime, for example.
The results, Eamon tells me, are revealing. A big fan of the “quantified self”, Eamon’s research on himself has already thrown up all kinds of helpful insights and helped him to approach his working day differently. Should he walk into work or take the train? Cycle, have coffee or tea, visit a client or sit down with the team? Using Motivii, Eamon can make informed decisions about how, when, where and with whom he should complete tasks and what his main focus should be that day. It’s a completely new and innovative approach to an age old problem. What makes us happy, and how do we manufacture more of it for ourselves?
Where Eamon also sees Motivii having a big impact is as a management information tool. Having led teams on countless occasions, Eamon notes that he has always found it hard to extract honest and unbiased feedback from staff. The annual staff survey is usually completed in a rush and not taken seriously by staff, but on the other hand asking for weekly updates from a team often results in a manager having to spend hours sifting through information submitted across different formats (word, excel, PowerPoint, written down), which lack the required level of detail around the only three questions a good manager wants to know: highlights of the week, biggest challenges of the week, and the plans for the following week.
Motivii asks all 3 questions and provides a universal platform for staff to use; similarly to Twitter, brevity is encouraged, and of course staff can also submit motivational readings, at any time, anonymously, for managers review. This is the beginning phase of a much larger project that uses merged communication to bring business benefits to teams and managers, takes snapshots of employee motivation levels, and ultimately uses the accumulated data to provide powerful insights and introduce potentially game changing new ways of challenging staff to be the best they can be.
The Motivii team, currently numbering 5 and based in Shoreditch, and on Tuesday launched a beta of the app with Ad-tech firm Criteo. It’s the first step on a long journey for everybody involved in the project; staff, managers, Eamon and his team, and doubtless HR managers and any corporates prepared to be innovative to ensure they keep top performing staff (and get rid of any “negs”) happy and on message.
No stranger to investment, having taken equity in and provided mentoring to Driftrock, Glisser, Zzish and Loyalty Bay, all successful disruptive tech start-ups in their own right, Eamon will shortly begin raising funds for the Motivii project. Some aspects of running a start-up are new even to someone with his experience. He is constantly on the lookout for a top class CTO, but finds it hard to locate programmers, or “hackers”, as they are better known, at networking events. Once he’s found them, I’ve no doubt his team will agree, he has no problem motivating them.
Eamon knows he has taken a risk; he could easily have stuck at consultancy and settled into his new home with his young family, but the 9-5 lifestyle never felt like an option. Eamon knew he had an itch; fortunately he has developed the perfect tool to scratch it with.
Eamon Tuhami is the founder and CEO of Motivii, a start-up that helps businesses keep track of staff motivation and use the data to improve motivation for every employee and organisation globally. He is an advisor and Investor in Driftrock, Glisser, Zzish and Loyalty Bay, and an online marketing expert. Eamon’s approach is to “work hard, play hard and always love what I do”.