CEO of Rokk Media, Adam Stone, explains why he believes Devon Delivers.
Starting as a one-man band in the early 1990s, Adam now owns several businesses, chief among them being Rokk Media Ltd, an award winning digital agency that has pioneered web and mobile app development, and which has an international client base serviced from offices in Exeter and London. When asked why he has a Devon base, Adam’s response is simple; “Why not Devon?” As far as Adam is concerned, there is no reason not to base a business here, and we should not be apologetic about living in such a beautiful, thriving part of the country.
“Over the last ten years, there has been a sea change in peoples’ perception of this part of the world. Before then, people didn’t quite know the South West and its cities. Now we are well and truly on the business map: everyone knows Exeter. It has a reputation as an entrepreneurial city, and that spirit is spreading across Devon.” Adam agrees that that the region has benefited from efforts to promote Devon. “We are now seeing constant headlines about great developments in the area. From the Universities and Colleges to the Exeter Chiefs and the Met Office, organisations are creating great headlines and evolving in a way that really benefits the whole county.”
So why do we still question why people base themselves and their businesses here? Adam believes there are historic reasons for this. “Twenty years ago, people would either brush under the carpet that they came from this part of the world, or make excuses for being here: being able to go surfing at the weekend was one of the most popular! Now, though, this just isn’t necessary. Take Rokk Media: we are offering value and experience, knowledge and attitude, and selling a service that clients want to pay for. Our client base is international and whether they are based in the UK, Texas or India, our clients don’t have any concerns around our location.” Even though they have an office in London, Rokk Media are very clearly based in Exeter. Clients simply never question this and Rokk Media never needs to make excuses for being based here.
“We work in a connected, networked business environment. We travel when we need to, we use Skype, email, phone: today’s communication choices are excellent and we can network at the speed of light. Sometimes it can even be quicker for a client to meet in Exeter than it might be to travel into the centre of London.”
Most Rokk Media employees live in Devon, travelling to the Exeter office from all four corners of the county, with often shorter journeys to work than their counterparts in the South East might experience. Many employees have worked elsewhere, and are enjoying the benefits of the work-life mix that Devon can provide.
Recruiting the calibre of skilled, experienced staff needed to produce the award winning outputs Rokk Media is widely recognised for has never been a problem for the company. Adam explains, “We employee people because they have the skills we need and want to work for us, not because they want to work in Devon. We have had circumstances when someone has applied for a job, not knowing whether the role is based in London or Exeter: they really want to work for us wherever they would be located. Some team members were already Exeter based before joining us, while others have relocated from the South East to Devon for a role. We use all the usual recruitment methods to find people with the right skills and experience, and our location is never an issue. We then combine technical and local training and internal knowledge development to make sure we all stay at the top of our game.”
And what of this work-life balance? Adam believes that every member of his team makes the most of living in Devon. “We have a special combination of factors that make Devon so compelling: from a mild climate to multiple coasts and moors, with a constantly improving infrastructure. The sum of all its parts makes Devon unique compared with any other part of the UK.” Giving back to the local community is something Adam and his team are also proud to do, and participating in business networks, championing educational organisations and supporting local tourist attractions and venues enriches their day to day experience.
So what would Adam’s final message be to anyone considering a business move to Devon?
“There’s really no reason not to. Do what you do: you don’t need to make excuses for being based here or relocating to Devon. We don’t and we’re thriving.”
Adam Stone, Rokk Media – October 2014