Ewan is 38 and lives in Hook, United Kingdom with his wife, Hetty and young boys Archie and Freddie. His adopted city is San Francisco and he can oft be seen flying Virgin America across the States, but always British Airways across the pond.
The Pursuit of Quality is one of Ewan’s publications. His other prominent publication is Mobile Industry Review which provides news and perspective to a quarter-of-a-million mobile industry executives. The site is one of the most influential of its kind, totally dedicated to the mobile industry, but rooted firmly in the consumer mindset. It is far too easy to forget that, at the end of the day, the mobile industry is powered by billions of normobs (“normal mobile users”). Predicting how they’re likely to act has become nothing short of a fine art for Ewan.
His other site is FinTech Profile which publishes a new interview with a financial technology startup every week.
Ewan is a serial entrepreneur. With a critical difference. He codes. He’s more or less fluent in PHP, MySQL, ASP and Linux Administration. Most of his businesses have been based around systems or services that he’s created — the most notable of which accounted for an estimated half-a-percent of the UK’s text messaging traffic on a nightly basis (His idea? Text-enable the giant screens in British nightclubs.) With this business (Neo One Impulse), Ewan was thrust into the forefront of the mobile industry, having to contend with mobile operators with infrastructure built, almost literally, out of string and sellotape.
Such was Ewan’s baptism of fire with the mobile industry — and having been at the ‘coal face’ of the mobile industry — or having to spend approximately 600 nights attending the most appalling UK nightclubs, he has an uncanny ability to spot a crowd-pleasing mobile concept from 50 paces.
He’s, in his own words, ‘made a lot of money’, and, as he feels obliged to explain, ‘lost a lot of money’, before pointing out, ‘made quite a lot back again’. If you’re feeling philosophical, you could say that Ewan has got a first from the University of Reality — but if you’re looking for real pieces of paper, he completed a degree in Information Management at University College London, Britain’s third oldest higher education institution, after the twin ‘dumps’ of Oxford and Cambridge (to paraphrase Blackadder).
Three times, has Ewan taken a seat at a board table and been asked if he’d like to sell his company. The first time was a complete surprise, so much so, he was dressed in trainers, jeans and a GAP T-Shirt, dropping off a contract, only to be ushered into a room full of expectant looking grey-haired old men, complete with the proverbial cheque book ready and waiting. The second time was thoroughly exciting, all the way up until the group Chairman suddenly found he didn’t have the funds to execute the transaction (Step away slowly from that Bentley Continental GT, Ewan) and the third time, well that was $24 million — and, despite the strangely perceptive invitations from Sotheby’s to attend ‘private viewings’, Ewan is keen to point out that there there were a few other founders too.
He’s been through the ringer with investors too. So much so that Ewan is perhaps one of the most depressing business people you could ever hope to meet within the borders of the United Kingdom. “Do not,” he repeats to all who will listen, “Ever do business with a British venture capitalist. Most of them are employees. Go figure.”
That said, Ewan did have success with some far-sighted venture capitalists in North America (he’s often known to proclaim, “Thank you Jim!”, now and again) where he, along with the support of his co-founder, raised $1.3m for one of his first ‘dotcom’ ventures.
Ewan has been described as ‘annoyingly perceptive,’ ‘brilliantly logical’ and ‘a total and utter mind-bending genius’. Not just by his mother. He thus regularly attends board meetings in a non-executive capacity for a number of media, tech and mobile-based companies and is an advisor to an array of FTSE and Fortune 100 conglomerates.
You’ll find his writing immediately accessible, direct and as far away from the ‘Queen’s English’ as it is possible to be — yet still qualify for an ‘A’ at GCSE level. Ewan prefers a direct, empathetic, lively and informal style of prose.
He drinks thoroughly good red wine — at the behest of his wife who threatened to postpone marriage unless he gave up his three-times-a-day Barrs Irn Bru habit. (He remains a shareholder.) You’ll often find him at mobile industry events, often easily identifiable as ‘the guy in the pinstripe’. Taking the expression, ‘the clothes maketh the man’ to heart, Ewan maintains a wardrobe full of sharp pinstripes that swiftly became his brand.
Ewan has been obsessed with quality products and services ever since at age 11 he realised that the special (and ridiculously expensive) Goalkeeping outfit he wanted came with special pads on the arms and shoulders. Using a T-Shirt was OK, but a special jersey with padding for when you dive to get the ball? Genius. But, it was about three times more expensive than the standard T-Shirt from Marks & Spencer. So his parents sensibly made him wait. Ewan’s quest for quality began then.
As you’ll see, Ewan covers a wide variety of topics — but (with the exception of the mobile industry) is absolutely not an expert — so please do weigh in with your comments, suggestions and perspective on the posts.
You can find Ewan’s contact information right here.