Mike Piddock

Founder of Glisser

Mike Piddock is the Founder and CEO of Glisser, an award-winning tech platform powering unique company event experiences, anywhere.

Glisser enables companies to power engaging event experiences for their customers, partners, investors and employees, in-person, online, and in-between. It goes beyond basic video and screen sharing tech, to create inspiring, high participation events of any size. Best-in-class virtual and hybrid event tools give planners the power to wow and make every event count. Clients include the likes of Informa, Pfizer, KPMG, Facebook, Uber, and many more.

Prior to forming Glisser, Mike was a Chief Marketing Officer working in the telecoms and financial services industries, where he was responsible for multi-million dollar budgets with a significant weighting towards client and employee events. This was followed by a stint at Octopus Investments, a London fund manager and venture capital company, where he helped grow assets under management from £500m to £4 billion in five years.

Where did the idea for Glisser come from?

Prior to forming Glisser I worked in B2B marketing across a range of industries. Over about ten years there was a quiet revolution in marketing, where the sector became far more data-driven. The ‘Mad Men’ became ‘Math Men’, as Google Ads replaced print and direct mail. Yet events and conferences, which often took the lion’s share of B2B marketing budgets, remained hard to track and measure effectively. I was really looking for a way to better analyse my own events, and the product span out from that.

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

I like to work with a pretty high cadence and enjoy being busy far more than not, so I find it valuable to schedule a couple of anchor meetings around my day with blocks of work between them. This gives me the right balance between thinking and discussing, and cracking on with things. At the start of the week those meetings tend to be more direction setting, and at the end of the week more reflective (and more relaxed!).

How do you bring ideas to life?

I suspect my team would say that I use analogies, occasionally stretched to the limit. When you’re working with people of different skillsets, personality types, and experience levels I think a simple analogy can help bring people onto the same page, as long as the reference is one they can all get.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited by the way this experience with COVID will completely change what is ‘normal’ in terms of the way we work. I’m interested in how all companies respond when we can return to offices, or not, and the impact that can have on regions in the UK and abroad that have previously suffered from ‘brain drain’ now able to retain talent. If people can stay remote, then there’s a knock-on impact on regional service providers, and things like town planning, use of technology, and of course, events. I guess I’m just excited not just how we rebuild, but how we rebuild better.

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

I’m happy that I’m quite able to manage my own mental state of mind, levelling out the tough days and not getting too carried away with the good days. It’s important to step away from the moment and keep things in perspective. I genuinely enjoy the journey.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Learn to code.

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

The remake of The Italian Job is better than the original.

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

Looks outside your industry – whether it’s marketing trends, product ideas, business models, or customer behaviour – there’s often something useful that can be applied to your business.

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

We’ve always tried to understand our customers’ needs: not just now, but what might be coming down the road for them, and position ourselves for them when they arrive (did I tell you I like an analogy). So, for example, we were talking about the GDPR impact on events over a year out from when it came into effect. This drove our product roadmap and content strategy, and remains our most effective campaign to date.

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

My biggest regret is not hiring a couple of excellent people that I think would have been great additions to the team. I’ve definitely put a lot more focus on good interview technique on my side, to help clarity of thinking and decision-making, so it doesn’t happen again.

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

A drop-shipping business that focuses on useful ‘working-from-home’ tools and gadgets, that companies can add their staff to and send them equipment and perks. We did that for our staff (read our blog here: https://blog.glisser.com/best-wfh-items-essentials-setup-2021) and it was a bit of a manual process.

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

I bought myself some Peloton shoes so I can use my wife’s bike. It’s been great during lockdown – I’m definitely motivated by beating my own PR (or PB as we say in the UK) rather than racing others – maybe my approach to building a business is similar?

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

I’ve just discovered Otter.AI as a way of transcribing my thoughts really quickly – it’s great for interviews like this so I can answer instinctively.

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

I’m really bad with this question because I really hate reading business books – I like to keep book reading as a leisure and relaxation activity. Instead I consume blogs and online content continuously. For me the go-to is always Jason Lemkin of SaaStr.

What is your favorite quote?

“All men (sic) dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E. Lawrence

Key Learnings:

  • Look outwards and forwards for inspiration
  • Manage your time and your own state of mind
  • Act decisively and with clarity of thought
  • Be your own motivator
  • Dream, but also act.