A bit about Clive Wilson
From school dunce to Mission Impossible and beyond
It didn’t start very well…
School and I didn’t get on very well. At all.
I failed all my exams and left with little more than a passion for electronics and an inquiring mind, always needing to understand how things worked (or mostly how things came apart and didn’t quite go back together again).
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
My obsession with electronics and technology came in very handy when a friend of my parents arranged for me to have a job interview with a senior ‘techy friend’ of his.
This friend just happened to be head of Operations & Technical Support for the Metropolitan Police, in London (UK).
For the next half-dozen years I worked in covert communications, security and surveillance, and it felt like I was on the set of a film that was somewhere between James Bond and Mission Impossible. I’d love to tell you more, but I’d have to kill you.
Suffice it to say I was involved with the Iranian Embassy siege in London, and I was also present, albeit on the roof of a building, at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, providing video feedback support for Command & Control at Scotland Yard.
Like all good films, there was a love interest. It forced me to make a decision that took me straight back to normality to begin a new career in the print industry. But it was good, as the experience triggered a deep interest in typography, design, page layout, graphics, and lithographic (and later, digital) printing.
By the mid-90s it was clear the future would be online. As early adopters of the technology, we quickly got to grips with modems blasting data up and down the phone lines at a blistering 28kbps, rising to the supersonic speed of 128kbps within 18 months. Many of you are now wondering what the hell I’m talking about, whilst others are chuckling knowingly to themselves, rocking back in their chair and nodding that “Yeah, I was there…” nod.
By 2006, I’d been building websites for about 8 years. I decided it was time to go it alone and left to set up a web-technology company based in Surrey (UK). Over its 10 year life, and with clients in the UK, Australia, Norway, Canada, Seychelles, Barbados, North America, Iraq and Thailand, we provided graphic design, web development, marketing, training and support services to a wide range of clients from startups to established nationals.
When opportunity knocks
Marketing had become my passion, as had working with clients to help develop their businesses, so my role became far more consultative. Early in 2016, a conversation with a national property security company led to my accepting a full-time position as UK Group Marketing Manager.
The company’s client base is 95% B2B in a niche sector. The service is very much a need-based, grudge-purchase for a low-cost/long-term rental product, so it was a tall order for marketing to make a positive impact on the company’s bottom line. But I like a challenge, and by the end of 2020, marketing-related new business revenue over the four-year period has exceeded £3.5m.
Writing for pleasure
I’ve been writing web content, blogs, newsletters and other marketing collateral for twenty years, but I’ve never written content that allowed me to share my thoughts and insight.
I joined Medium in Oct 2018 to do just that but actually did very little with it until January 2021, when I decided to take writing more seriously.
Finding your voice is quite hard, to begin with, but I quickly found an incredibly supportive community at ILLUMINATION many of the editors and publication's owner, Dr Mehmet Yildiz, providing help, guidance and encouragement way beyond my expectations.
It felt like I’d been released (think; balloon, prison, a runaway train, dog off its lead…), and the freedom was liberating and exciting.
I love the quote I found from Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man:
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
It’s beginning to happen. One day at a time. One new relationship at a time. One expressive article at a time. I can feel it.
Giving something back
I’m regularly publishing on Medium now, and have noticed how some new writers struggle with the basics of language and layout. I saw this as a great opportunity to impart some of my knowledge to help them, and I set about writing a quick, simple, tips and advice article.
It’s fair to say that didn’t go quite according to plan. The more I wrote, the more I wrote. And wrote. I’m sure you’ve been there. My quick article grew into a seven-part series of around 10,500 words. It’s being published on Medium (here) as I write, and once complete I will modify it to suite the Vocal Media interface and it will be published here on VM too. Note to self: don’t forget to remove or update that last line of non-evergreen content, once it’s published. Or this note. Or that one.
So much to write about, so little time
I use Trello to organise my thoughts and notes on everything, not just writing, and it’s bursting at the seams with new ideas across a dozen or more categories, from technology, business development and marketing, to personal growth and life lessons.
Almost daily I add more ideas, finding inspiration in random conversations, news broadcasts, TV programs and adverts, plus my own thoughts and ideas around many of life’s many imponderables, often triggered by; “I wonder why…”, or “Is that really the way it is…?”. There is so much to write about.
I particularly enjoy writing about business development and marketing, recently creating articles such as:
However, as many of us have experienced changes brought on by the global pandemic, I felt compelled to share my thoughts and feelings as we, in the UK, live through our third national lockdown, with a deep freeze winter upon us:
I quickly followed that with my take on the thought-provoking life lessons we can learn from, of all things, Game of Thrones:
On more personal matters, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to bare my soul yet, but exploring the ‘who am I?’ and mental health-type questions that emerge from my navel-gazing moments, is creating some interesting possibilities. Watch this space.
Don’t be a stranger
Oh, and the ‘MCIM’ at the end of my name? People often ask. I’m a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.