Thank you. 2016 has been one hell of a year for all of us; and one hell of a year to start a new chapter in life as a business partner. It has been a rollercoaster journey, but one where the continual support of the CIO and innovation leadership community, both user and supply-side has been incredible and I thank you all so much.
Horizon began its life back in June 2015. A series of meetings, both with the community and others revealed a fantastic opportunity in the market and one I had to seize right there and then. Work began for the remainder of that year and then in January of this year it was time to put the ideas into action. Icon Business Media (publishers of the Horizon podcasts, events and website) was born as not only a significant chapter for me personally, but also for Icon Photomedia, a highly successful photography and imagery organisation, as it grew into new areas.
Becoming a business partner is a learning curve that rivals an ascent of the Mont Ventoux and one I am still very much on. Fortunately I have been on one of the most advanced courses you can ask for; eight years of spending time both professionally and at leisure with the UK’s best business technology leaders teaches you a great deal about commerce and the ways of dealing with the challenges that you face day in and day out. Though none of us could have predicted just how damaging Brexit would be and when a significant customer goes under in your first half of trading it is an experience you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. But the insights shared by you in the community over lunch, a coffee and even a bike ride gave me the necessary tools of the trade.
Another massive winning card in my pack was business partner Matt Gore. Having been at the helm as founder and leader of one of the UK’s most successful photography services business, Matt has known how to navigate the tricky waters of 2016. As with all of us whose formative careers were through the 90s and into this century, Matt has a wealth of editorial and creative skills honed from adaptability. Anyone in business, media and technology from 1995 onwards has lived through some of the most dramatic periods of change and as a result has a skill set that is as wide as it is deep. That creativity and adaptability is what brought us together as a business partnership and has been at the core of our outputs in 2016. Alongside my amazing wife, my greatest thanks goes to Matt Gore.
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Probably the most significant moment of the year for me was the Innovation Leadership Summit in September. Having hosted more major conferences than is really good for your health, it was very different to produce, moderate and co-own an event, especially when you have a very important sponsor commitment in a deal you brokered. A special thank you to partner eSynergy Solutions who we will continue to work with in 2017. To see so many CIOs register and then attend the event will be something that will live with me forever. Thank you all so much, the sight of that room, full of so many leading CIOs was almost overwhelming.
I must also say a huge thank you to some stalwart supporters who have been generously sharing advice and time with me for a number of years, but whose support this year made a substantial difference. A particular thank you must go to Mike Altendorf, Ian Cohen, Catherine Stagg-Macey, David Tebbutt, Ian Cox, Tony Westbrook, Richard Sykes, Richard Corbridge, Chris King and Jerry Fishenden.
Throughout the year CIOs, innovators and suppliers have said to me time and again “how can we support your business?” Support us you have and thank you. 2017 looks set to be as exciting a rollercoaster ride as year one; the reception of our new podcast programme has been incredible, our first event for 2017 is already booked in and we promise to continue to be just a bit disruptive, producers of quality journalism whether written, spoken or live, we have some great ideas to revise old formats and most importantly to support you in the community.