Steve plans the route

Managing Director

Steve Sykes - Managing Director of Applied Digital Marketing.

For me, it’s all about how people use machines.

Unlike most marketing types, my background is in real-world engineering, and I grew up in the days when ‘new media’ meant ‘colour TV’.

After an apprenticeship and a few years in electrical and electronic engineering, quitting a computer course at college and spending a memorable year working as a gopher in motorsport I spent the next phase (no numbers, sorry) of my life grafting in what one might call ‘process engineering’, always made more exciting by a hint of technology. Much ‘on the job’ training, some management courses, 3 years part time at University, lucky opportunities and hard work led me to specialise in Instrumentation, Control and Automation with real mission critical (read ‘Life and Death’) equipment and systems.

My role at that time (approx 1999) was as a ‘Project Manager’, usually acting as liaison between techies and ‘normal people’...... Hmmm… funny how life turns out....

After meeting a real life ‘designer’ (take a bow, Mike ) I realised the future for me was in digital; the possibilities of what could be done through a browser were also becoming apparent and were, and still are, tremendously exciting to me. I started doing a few websites for small businesses (many of these relationships are still in place after 16 years) and finally made the jump - a short stint as ‘Account Manager’ at an eventually ill-fated agency followed.

Smart Arts (the name arrived in a flash of inspiration while on the M25) was immediately my only source of income; it’s since developed into a team of great, enthusiastic people all with the same mindset and goal; applying the latest tech and design experiences to the real world. Anything we do must show a result. We don’t tie people into long term contracts, so we exist on the outcomes generated by the wonderful work we do and the trust we build.

Applied Digital Marketing (the rename happened in April 2016) is the next stage of the journey for us. 'Applied' the name didn't arrive in a flash of inspiration, (unfortunately!) but it does effectively communicate who we are and our approach.

Heroes: Soichiro Honda (triumph in the face of adversity, free thinker, tenacious), Alec Issigonis (just a genius), John Force (long-term successful, great teeth, and just damn funny), Stirling Moss (even just for that single ‘55 Mille Miglia drive).

Little patience for: Slackers, lollygaggers, bullshitters and litterers… poseurs, prima-donnas, and most politicians (not you, Jason, you’re a good bloke).

It’s not all work, y'know...

Interests: Motorcycles, cars, motorsports, pretty much anything motorised), tinkering, developing creative ideas (furniture design, 3D printing, etc, etc), home automation and the internet of things. A light sprinkling of mountain biking, though not enough. Oh, and beer. And biscuits.

Watches: House of Cards, Italian Job, Laurel and Hardy…. box sets, box sets, box sets. TED talks.

Listens to: Music from Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead. Any podcasts with Danny Baker (@prodnose), Jonathan Dimbleby, Stacey Higginbotham (@gigastacey), the boys at Motor Sport Magazine (@motor_sport).

Random thought: Where were you when you saw your first iphone? I was working with the great character Simon Berger at the Motor Sport Business Forum, at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

Sykesville - the perfect place for Applied Digital Marketing MD Steve Sykes.