Speaker Spotlight: Fred Roed

KEYNOTE

I’m the co-founder of a digital marketing agency called World Wide Creative. Together with my business partner, Mike Perk, and the World Wide Creative team, we aim to become the best in the world at creating (what we term) ‘profitable online communities’. On a day-to-day level we strive to consistently deliver remarkable work – in other words, work that stops people and makes them remark on it to their peers.

I started out as an illustrator / designer, but I’ve always been passionate about brand-building and marketing. My fascination with the web started in 1997 when I worked a short stint in Copenhagen for one of the first web teams in Denmark. Even back then, the talk was about continual engagement, digital narratives and real consumer interaction. In the early 2000’s, Mike and I started talking about starting something multinational, that combined our skills, and that would always have a creative slant. Hence, World Wide Creative!

Session: Midgets On Unicycles, Steve Hofmeyr & Elvis In Tableview
Time: 10:50 – 11:25

fredroed.com World Wide Collective The Heavy Chef Project

Tell us more about how you became interested in WordPress, what about it drives your continued interest?

I’m not a techie, so my interest in WordPress was born out its role as an accessible platform for content. Together with my friends Shane Dryden, Jon Hughes and Andrew Smith, I started a blog called Ideate.co.za about 8 years ago. We used WordPress to get it up and running very quickly. Initially we did it to cover a three day experiment we ran called “Extreme Business”, which ended up with a fully functional e-commerce enterprise, BugZapper.co.za, which still runs today. Ideate soon evolved into a channel for business articles and interviews, and is now one of the biggest business blogs in the country.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Cape Town?

It was a no-brainer. I spoke last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It’s a great crowd – a brilliant mix of techies and bloggers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs – and I had loads of insightful conversations with interesting people.

What is your talk going to be about?

My talk is about the common factor in successful communities, businesses and individuals.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I want them to be motivated to find that common factor within their own professions and their lives.

What is your favourite WordPress theme and/or plugin, and why?

Eish… tough question. That’s like asking ‘what’s your favourite grain of sand?’ I like the work of local guys Obox. Great dudes, and super ambitious. Not so good at soccer though.

Can you share one WP tip with us?

Well, I can share a blogging tip. Focus on something you really enjoy writing about. If you don’t, it’s going to suck when you realise only 10 people actually ever read what you’re slaving over. If you’re passionate about it then it doesn’t really matter how many people read it, it’ll still be fun.

What are you most looking forward to at WordCamp Cape Town 2012?

Apparently Steve Hofmeyr will be there.

Do you make money from wordpress?

Yes – through creating the odd WordPress site via World Wide Creative, through selling corporate training courses on HeavyChef.com and through selling ad space on Ideate.co.za

Is WordPress an effective platform for getting your message across?

It has worked very well for Ideate.co.za and for World Wide Creative’s learning initiative called Heavy Chef.

Digital Marketing is your passion. How well is WordPress suited to being a part of an integrated Digital Marketing strategy?

It is one of many ingredients in the digital marketer’s kitchen. Sometimes it is essential to a recipe, sometimes not so much.

The Heavy Chef project shares some of the most interesting insights into the evolving industry of digital marketing. How did the Heavy Chef project come about?

I did a presentation to a potential client about 9 years ago. He was not impressed, because he saw that World Wide Creative was not using the tools I was trying to sell to him, so he said “Fred, I never trust a skinny chef!” So Mike and I came up the idea that we need to become Heavy Chefs. The term stuck and we adopted it at World Wide Creative as our mantra. All the members of my agency understand what it means to be a ‘Heavy Chef’.

The Heavy Chef initiative has since evolved to becoming a learning platform with interviews and insights, as well as a mainstay on the South African marketing calendar via our monthly Heavy Chef Sessions run in Jozi and Cape Town. In 2008 Heavy Chef launched its first digital marketing training course, and subsequently have trained Woolworths, Virgin Mobile, MiX Telematics, Honda, Mangosuthu University of Technology and many others.

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