Gavin Campion

Partner at Reality Group

Gavin Campion has made a name for himself as a revolutionary turnaround and startup entrepreneur in marketing services and software markets. Now based in Melbourne, Australia, Gavin has a reputation for being the person that you call when your business needs revitalization. Unlike many of his peers, Gavin has applied his entrepreneurial skills in a number of fields and has an incredibly diversified portfolio that includes initiatives in the worlds of marketing, video technology, branding, enterprise knowledge management, content management in the cloud, consumer loyalty programs, and art galleries.

Gavin Campion attended Huddersfield University in the United Kingdom, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and graduated with honors.

After starting his career in marketing roles, in 2000 Gavin founded marketing services company, Reality Group, Australia. Reality Group won Australian agency of the year. Gavin sold Reality Group.

He acquired Shoppers Advantage, serving as CEO and Chairman, Gavin took responsibility for quickly re-engineering the business into a Saas based B2B retail e-commerce business. Shoppers Advantage was sold.

He acquired Presidential Card. Serving as Director, Gavin assisted in making Presidential Card one of Australia’s largest online discount programs. Gavin merged Presidential Card with Strategic Rewards and acquired a number of minor players in the market. The combined business became a significant player employee rewards market in Australia. Gavin sold his shares to management.

Gavin was the founder and CEO of the digital marketing services agency, Sputnik Agency. He took Sputnik from foundation to the largest digital marketing services company in Australia. Sputnik Agency won B&T Agency of the Year.

Gavin invested in Linius Video Technologies and took over as part time CEO of a failing start up. Gavin made a successful bid for the assets of Linius, taking control of the company and ultimately floating it on the ASX (Australian Stock Market). Linius is a technology development company focussed on developing the first standards based video query language (VQL), for which the global patents have now been granted.

Gavin joined MMG Interactive as Acting CEO with the remit to restructure the business. MMG are an application development company for large enterprises and have developed enterprise grade CMS and CRM solutions for large organizations. In 2013 Gavin restructured the business in order to productize and commercialize a SaaS Knowledge Management platform Knosys. Gavin installed new management and floated Knosys on the ASX.

Gavin joined Dubber Corporation Ltd (ASX:DUB) as Director. He assisted in repositioning the business and listing it on the ASX.

Gavin has long been a passionate art collector and renowned expert in fine art photography. Gavin invested in Big Australia, the operator of the Lyons Gallery art galleries. Gavin has steered the company from one gallery to a network of ten and continues to steer the business through the next phase of growth as a managing partner.

Gavin’s work has allowed him to travel all around the world, through the UK, United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He makes it a point to spend as much time as possible with his family, at home in Melbourne, Australia.

Gavin Campion has long been referred to as a trailblazer, who thinks outside the box and delivers results. He has a real passion for helping people and uses his personal and professional experiences to help them achieve their goals.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

As a partner in an Advertising Agency called Reality Group, we saw the internet emerge as a viable marketing channel, so I launched a new agency called Factory 212.
Factory after an old independent record label from Manchester, England, and 212 after the NY phone code. We created a specialist digital agency looking after all aspects of clients’ online marketing, a complete outsource solution. The idea was that no client really knew what they were doing online so we would answer it with a full-service solution. And to keep it separate from the advertising agency so it didn’t get dragged down into the low-margin advertising business. I merged it with a creative digital agency called Sputnik for rapid scale and continued as founder and CEO. An innovative, expertise position driving high margins. Seems funny now but getting ahead of any emerging trend with true expertise is a safe entrepreneurial path.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Up at 515am and a cup of decaf tea.

Quick check for anything urgent overnight and review the diary for the day.

I like to get ahead of the day, prioritize the key things, and wherever possible delete out and delegate the mundane.

Whilst entrepreneuring is 5% ideation and 95% graft, we must make sure we are in the right spot at the right time to move the needle with new thoughts.

Productivity is about prioritizing our time to the things that make the difference.

And spend as much time with the kids as possible 🙂

How do you bring ideas to life?

An idea only has life when other people believe in it.

It only becomes real when others adopt it.

Entrepreneurs live and breathe their ideas

But it will only come to life if other believers execute it.

While the entrepreneur lives and breathes the idea, find those people with the skills to live and breathe its execution.

That’s the path to success.

What’s one trend that excites you?

More and more it seems that success and failure are driven by confidence rather than business fundamentals. This spells opportunity in every marketplace.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Floyd Mayweather used to say he trains while others are sleeping. Although he often got his timezones mixed up 🙂 I still believe that outworking everyone else is the path to success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Focus on one idea and put everything into it. You will know quickly whether it is going to work. If it’s not flying, cut it quickly and move on to the next idea. But one at a time.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That an entrepreneur is not a risk taker. An entrepreneur lives and breathes every aspect of the business. By the time a decision is made it’s been thought about so intensely that there is little risk. Lucky people celebrate success. True entrepreneurs are not surprised.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I assume I am wrong. Everyone says ‘question everything’ and ‘think differently’ and blah blah blah. By assuming I am wrong I am completely open to new thoughts and ideas. It takes away ego, hierarchy, and prejudice. Which business ever really looks exactly like the original idea when it achieves success?

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Pioneers educate. There is no point charging off and being the first to the top of the mountain. From there you are cold, wet, and lonely and have no choice but to come back down. The key strategy is to cut the path, put up the signposts, handrails, and safety ropes, to take others with you. Educate yourself about your idea before you go charging off.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Failure is everywhere, every day. Not a day goes by without a failure. The failures that stick with me are ones where I let people down.

I truly believe that when we employ someone we make a bigger commitment to them than they do to us. Our job is to create an environment for their success. Of the thousands of people I have employed, I have not always succeeded. It’s my biggest failure and I work to improve every day.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I once registered a business called RAGM. (rage against the machine). The idea was to suck every piece of data from the government including publicly available and under the FOIA, organize it, publish it and allow the populus to access it. To promote education and accountability, RAGM would provide multiple entry points; for mums and dads to see where their tax dollars went, for the media to interrogate, report and publish stories, and for the government themselves in policy generation.

It astonishes me that the world’s largest organization operates with minimal transparency and is driven by the belief systems of the few.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought my boys 3 Guinea Pigs. Eccentric, quirky, and constantly having fun…..The guinea pigs are cool too

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I like fast, accurate, and simple communication. I think where MS Teams is heading is very clever.I believe email is a channel for transporting information, not for communication.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Orbiting the Giant Hairball, A corporate fools guide to surviving with grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

It is an almost childlike book but then it should be as children dream, dare, invent and play without the constraints that we learn over time.

What is your favorite quote?

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886)

Take on the fight, be vulnerable to good, leave the evil and stay true to yourself.

Key Learnings:

  • Culture is the secret sauce that separates success and failure.
  • If your business is getting big, divide it up into small ones.
  • If you want to innovate, be prepared to educate
  • No fault, blame, or excuses
  • Never fear failure