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Inspiring to achieve

Inspiring to achieve

An interview with Mark Little.

An interview with Mark Little.

Olivia Lynch and Mark Little

Olivia Lynch and Mark Little at a recent KPMG Private Enterprise Inspire Series event

Entrepreneur Mark Little was the latest speaker in the KPMG Private Enterprise Inspire Series where he shared details of his new venture that aims to be the Netflix for news.

The KPMG Private Enterprise Inspire Series is designed to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and business experts to tell their stories and share insights to a selected audience of private and family owned businesses. Speakers have included Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirtmakers, David Robertson from MIT in Massachusetts who spoke on Lego as a family business and more recently, entrepreneur Mark Little, who addressed recent KPMG Inspire Series briefings in Dublin and Cork.

In the space of less than 10 years, Mark has moved from being the face of RTÉ current affairs, to founding the world’s first social media news agency, becoming Twitter Europe boss, and now the co-founder of a new venture which aims to be the Netflix for news. He spoke at the latest event in the KPMG Inspire series about his journey from journalist to entrepreneur to corporate executive and back again.

Rebuilding trust in news

Mark Little’s latest venture was inspired by his frustration at fake news and misinformation and a sense of optimism that it is not too late to fix the problem. NevaLabs, now Kinzen, is a unique news service which will deliver information to people matched with their preferences and interests but also filtered for the time of day.

“We are different people at different times of the day”, Little explains. “In the morning we are commuters and we might want hard news; at lunch time we might want to hear about food and health topics; in the evening it might be sport and what to watch or Netflix. Our service will be personalised to meet those changing needs.”

Most of all, it will be trustworthy with a team of journalists checking facts and validating stories. He laments the loss of trust in information sources as one of the unintended consequences of the social media revolution.

“If we started from scratch with Facebook and Twitter we would do things differently”, he says. “We would find ways to get the benefits of social media without the bad consequences. I still believe in the benefits of social media and if we were back in 2004 again we could build the people’s media and do it properly.”

Kinzen will attempt to play a part in rebuilding the trust which has been lost over the past decade and more. Interestingly, his first venture as an entrepreneur was aimed at verifying stories posted on social media for global news organisations.

Sell the problem

Mark Little’s central piece of advice to other entrepreneurs is to get into the problem-solving business. “Jeff Bezos developed a great business during a time of change”, he says. “He said the key to developing trust is to look at the customer problem that you are solving. You have to sell the problem you solve, not the product. It’s not about slicing people up into segments. It’s about getting into their lives, having their back, and having deep and meaningful connections with customers. We are at a moment of great opportunity but the people who will succeed are those with strong bonds with their customers.”

This article originally appeared in InBusiness Magazine and is reproduced here with their kind permission.