Platform81 turned 10 years old this year so, we’ve gone back to where it all began. Founders Alec and Nick are the heart of the business and not to create any ego’s, but we think they’ve done a pretty grand job so far. See what our founders had to say when apprentice Jenny caught up with them. When the youngest met the…ahem…oldest.
What were you doing before you met each other?
Alec: Nick and I go way back to university days at UCLAN when we studied Marketing together, so it’s safe to say that just before we met, we were probably in the Student Union drinking cheap lager.
Nick: We definitely were drinking cheap lager, but I was with my school friend Amy, who is now Alec’s wife.
Tell me about how you met. What do you remember?
Nick: At university Alec was desperate for somewhere to live so, being the kind, caring and all-round great Samaritan that I am, I gave him a roof over his head in his time of need. As well as introducing him to his wife Amy, I introduced the Oldham boy to Stockport, practically got his degree for him and made him the man he is today. He owes me his life, but I don’t like to mention it.
Alec: We almost certainly would have met in a lecture hall in Preston and got talking after Nick drew something rude on one of my text books. All other memories from that time are pretty hazy!
Did you know what you wanted to do in the future?
Nick: I studied Business at A-Level and marketing was by far the best module, so I chose to study it at university. I always assumed I’d end up in the industry in one way or another.
Alec: After university, Digital Marketing was really starting to develop. I also loved selling and working with clients so starting our own business really ticked all the boxes.
How/When did the idea of Platform81 happen?
Nick: Yet again, I introduced Alec to the project that I was working on where we brought in various other agencies to help create websites for us.
Alec: We did a project for a Market Research company who were expanding. Whilst doing this project, we had a few enquiries asking us if we could do something similar for their businesses.
Nick: It soon clicked that we could do this ourselves and create our own agency. Fast forward slightly to when we met Gary and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nick: We are building platforms for success and we wanted a number too, so we just chucked in the year we were born. It works.
Would you do anything different if you could go back?
Alec: Not really, no regrets. The journey has been great so far…
Nick: I definitely would have chosen somebody slightly shorter. He makes me feel inferior (in height only). Apart from that, no.
What advice would you give to your younger selves?
Alec: We are very focused on the type of work we want now, and what we don’t want. I feel we could have built the business quicker if we’d have learnt this lesson earlier, but this is all part of the learning curve.
Nick: Only take on projects that you really want to work on. I’d also tell myself not to draw comedy genitalia everywhere.
(We also wish he would give himself that advice).
What age do you feel now, and why?
Alec: I am currently 37 and have two young children who are becoming more independent. A couple of years ago I felt 47, but this year I suddenly feel 27 again…. I’m planning to regress back to being 17 again by the time I hit 40.
Nick: As young as ever. I’m desperately trying to cling on to my rugby ‘career’. But, with the arrival of a new born, I think it is time to grow up.
Describe the other at the age of when you met.
Alec: Nick has probably always been one of the most positive and optimistic people I know. He’s great company and has a childish sense of humour that he’s never grown out of. He has an unnatural ability to say and do things that he shouldn’t and completely get away with it.
Nick: As well as being very tall, Alec always had the presence to light up any party and he still does. At university, he was very focused to get the results he wanted, and he’s carried that through with him in all aspects of life.
Describe the other now.
Alec: As above, he’s just a bit fatter, greyer and more stressed. He’s also got a very angular shaped head which has earned him the nickname Kryton with me.
Nick: Still very tall with the physique of a drain pipe. He also likes to think of himself as a true sports man with all the knowledge. He definitely isn’t, and he knows nothing.
Write a biography title for each other.
Alec: Whistle while you work: A Stockport legend is born.
Nick: Noisy Alec strikes again.
What is your proudest achievement since P81 began?
Alec: The double win at the Stockport Business Awards last year – Best Creative Agency and Best Small Business.
Nick: For definite it was the double win. Also, when we won Small Digital Agency of The Year at the MPA Awards 2017, it meant we got Stockport on the map. *flicks wrist and clicks fingers with delight*
What is your greatest memory since P81 began?
Alec: Presenting to the whole team in character as Alan Partridge.
Nick: The same experience, except I was Mr Motivator.
If your job was a beverage, what would you be?
Alec: Guinness – solid, consistent and silky smooth!
Nick: Black Velvet (Guinness with a shot of Champagne) – Looks normal from the outside, but every drink has a surprise!!
What is the best thing about what you do/the business?
Nick: Helping our clients succeed is one of the best things. I’d also say helping our staff members grow and progress though their careers is up there, whether that be at the very start of it or half way through.
Alec: We’ve built a business based on honest, pragmatic advice. Its built loyalty in our clients and our team that has paid dividends over the life the business. Listening to and mentoring our team and knowing that they often have the answers has allowed us to build trust and understanding in all aspect of what we do.
Nick: Everything about these past 10 years has been brilliant.