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Wining and Dining for Directors

Every quarter we invite 10 MDs and CEOs of Wired Sussex member companies to wine and dine with peers and discuss, in an open and collaborative atmosphere, their businesses and the opportunities and challenges of the sector locally.  These events take place in Brighton and are hosted by Alex Cowell, MD at MBA and Jason Woodford, CEO, Site Visibility.

Below, Alex gives us an overview of the conversation at the last dinner and offers up all of the information you need to know if you'd like to come along to future events.

I was delighted to host another Wired Sussex Directors’ Dinner recently; as ever, an inspirational evening of fun and conversation with great minds from some of Brighton and Sussex’s finest digital businesses.

For the uninitiated, our Directors' Dinners (hosted quarterly by Jason Woodford of Site Visibility and me) are a chance for a small group of directors - from the newest outfits to the most established companies - to connect, learn, share and, above all, to have a very enjoyable evening in a confidential setting at a first-class venue.

With design, search marketing, mobile apps, social media, advertising and ecommerce businesses present, we had a broad spread of the sector represented. We each discussed the primary challenge we face in 2015 and the results were fascinating, with six key themes emerging:
• Recruitment: Many businesses are finding recruitment challenging at a senior level and there is a feeling we all need to do more collectively to attract more talent to our fantastic cluster; at a junior level, the Wired Sussex Internship Programme has been a vital asset.

Industry change: The industry is changing faster than ever and larger, traditional agencies are broadening their integrated offerings, making it harder for specialists to maintain their difference

• Specialist or generalist?: Similarly, clients are requesting specialist businesses diversify, which presents a tough strategic decision whether to diversify for growth or remain specialist and retain the difference in the market

• Managing growth: The perennial challenge of managing operational growing pains and controlling increasing overheads

• Ever-changing technology: Keeping up with the increasingly rapid evolution of technology and try to predict the next skill-set the business requires to stay one step ahead

Software-as-a-service: SaaS products were a common theme and four of the companies present have created a new SaaS product within their business or a spin-off company, to add additional value for customers and/or to create a new recurring revenue stream

What we all agreed was the challenges we face today were positive and interesting ones to be facing and it was a great time to be running a digital business in the region.

It never fails to amaze me how supportive and respectful everyone is at these evenings and that is one of the things that makes being a Wired Sussex business very special. As always, I can’t wait for the next dinner.

If you are interested in attending a future Directors’ Dinner (and, let’s face it, why wouldn't you be?), please get in touch with Also if you have any recommendations for local private dining venues, please do let us know.

Finally, a special mention to Steph and the team at Riddle & Finns on the Beach who arranged a fantastic private evening for us all.

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