Hello there, I’m Neil - thanks for visiting my site.
My passions are technology, helping people and embracing adventure. This ties into my mission - to live honestly, help others and make the most of the opportunity.
It’s important to me to do this in all aspects of my life, whether at home with the family, at work, or volunteering in the community. I find this helps me stay authentic, upbeat and allows me to approach challenges with energy and open-mindedness.
I’m part of the team at Semantic, a leading digital agency for attractions in the UK.
Semantic was founded in 1997, and I joined in 2008, so it’s been a big part of my life.
I was lucky to work my way up, under the guidance of Nick Warren, the previous owner and still a great friend of mine. His support combined with my constant desire to take on more responsibilities and improve things helped me to work to become Managing Director in March 2016.
Whilst on the surface it seems that Semantic develops websites, it’s actually all about developing people. I worked hard to buy the business in 2018, aiming make the most of the opportunity, keep the team happy and deliver awesome results for our clients.
Since buying the business, we’ve weathered the pandemic, and are constantly adapting what we offer to clients. We’ve done lots of business development work, having focused in on the leisure, tourism and attractions niche. It’s fun and dynamic sector that we’ve been working in for over 20 years.
In 2023, we launched our new LOOP platform for attractions. It’s a fast, optimised solution to help get new attractions online quickly, or level up the online capabilities of existing attractions.
We’re looking for opportunities to scale LOOP worldwide as we grow the business.
Looking back, I’ve really learnt a lot in the few years since hitting this milestone. It’s amazing to be alive at this moment in history, with so much information and thinking available at the touch of a button online, but I have found this to be a blessing and a curse at times.
In my twenties, I was fast and impatient - for instance, I used to power through as many audiobooks as possible to try and hoover up all of the knowledge.
Now, I have developed better processes to think things through in more detail, and to be mindful of goals and desired results. Some of the stand-out lessons that have really stuck in my mind over the past few years are:
- Thinking beyond ‘Deliverables’ - in my early Semantic days, it was all about tasks and doing the work that was briefed, with a healthy dose of proactivity too. But transitioning to MD, it’s more about thinking, strategy and not feeling guilty to take a day just to ponder ideas and clear my head.
- Telling yourself better stories - this ties in with the ‘fake it til you make it’ mentality, but it’s another Derren Brown lesson about staying positive, leaning into your story and making the most of any situation.
- ‘Start with the end in mind’ - Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People
- ‘Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’ - a Shakespeare quote in Hamlet, all to do with Stoicism, and echoed in various books by Ryan Holiday and Derren Brown
- ‘Eat That Frog’ - Brain Tracy’s classic book to tackle the hard problems first
- 95% of people settle with average, so if you want to be above that, you can’t do the same stuff as everyone else - Hal Elrod’s Miracle morning
- I really like the Chimp Paradox book by Steve Peters - having such a strong reminder about the unique human ability to separate our thinking from our responses/behaviour is a valuable lesson when dealing with other people and situations.
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling is a must read if you want a data-driven perspective on the world and how it’s developing.
- The live shows from Derren Brown that I’ve seen are mind-blowing - it’s scary/exciting how easy it is to trick the brain, and how similar everyone is on the inside.
Making sure I’m staying positive, and set up for success is key, and certainly helped in some of the more challenging points of the last 5 years.
Other interestsI'm careful to make sure all Semantians have a really good work-life balance. I think it's so important and really helps people to do their best work.
For me, that means spending time getting out there and enjoying the world:
- Family and adventure (especially with our 9 month old daughter around Australia!)
- Reading and audiobooks (particularly books around growth, psychology, philosophy and stoicism)
- Swimming and swimming coaching
- Walking in the woods (so important for clearing your head)
Get in touch
I’m always keen to meet interesting people, whether that’s as part of my work, or just in the community. Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to arrange a chat:
Otherwise feel free to reach out to me and the team at Semantic.