Autumn 1998- A man sniffed at the cold autumn air, as he headed out of a coffee shop and back on to the streets of Manchester, so early it was still almost dark out. He’d been coming before work, to the same coffee shop in Manchester city centre for as long as he could remember, to get a head start on the day’s jobs and to while away the time until he can shake that crack of dawn feeling between sleep and wakefulness.
He started onwards, full of coffee and the usual early morning rambles of the brain.
But this was no ordinary morning coffee goer.
Imran Farooq was going to change the world.
As a young and talented entrepreneur, fascinated by the world of business, Imran had a plan to accelerate organisations into the future.
The internet was changing everything and Imran had a theory that if he could train marketers to make use of this impressive new technology, the very nature of business could be changed forever.
It seemed to him that offering cutting-edge, flexible learning courses for busy working marketers could be the solution organisations needed to revolutionise their business from the ground up.
But being in the business of distance marketing courses hadn’t been easy. He knew that Digital Marketing is the future, but convincing other people of that had presented a slight issue…
Since going solo and launching his company MMC learning, times had been tough. ‘The internet is going to change the world and Marketers need to be ready!’ He’d cried excitedly- in brochures and newspaper adverts… expecting them to come flooding. After all, it didn’t take a genius to realise that businesses needed to accelerate into the upcoming 21st century.
Or did it? Despite his conviction, not everyone seemed ready to follow Imran into this brave new world. There were those who were convinced that Digital marketing would never take off, or that the internet would simply never be a viable tool for marketing or indeed delivering courses.
Luckily he is not alone, there is one person, a kindred spirit out there who thinks as he does.
“I’m so sorry,” said a man holding a compass as the two of them staggered back up from the ground where they’d fallen after coliding, clutching their bruised foreheads, “my fault, wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“No worries, at least you know you’re going in the right direction, novel way of navigating there”, Imran joked, nodding to the compass.
“Gets me where I need to go”, the man replied, “Walk in the right direction long enough, you’ll find where you’re trying to get to”
“Which is?” Imran asked.
“Oh, random one, I’m heading to a conference event with this new company called ‘First Internet’, they’re a new Manchester based digital marketing agency, I’m a digital strategist”
“Oh no way that’s so funny, I’m heading there as well, I work in marketing” Imran said, stooping down to pick up a book that the man had dropped in their collision.
‘Groupware, workflow, and intranets’ by Dave Chaffey.
“You’re not going to believe this”, Imran said grinning as he handed it back, “But I’ve actually got that book as well, really interesting stuff on how technology can help businesses.”
“Well, thanks”, said the man grinning, “Because I wrote it”.
“Seriously?!” Imran said “You’re Dave? Oh wow, how’re you doing? Nice to meet you- Imran”.
They shook hands.
“What is it that you do, what brings you to the First Internet thing?” Dave asked
So, I run a company called MMC Learning, we’re a marketing course provider, we’re trying to educate marketers through distance learning courses…”