5 Minutes with our Heroes: Molly Flatt

Eloise Wales, Content Manager

In the lead up to our From Zero to Hero! event on September 22nd at Rich Mix, we’re celebrating each of our panelists and speakers. First up is Molly Flatt, Associate Editor of FutureBook, Associate Editor at The Memo and Digital Editor at PHOENIX Magazine.

Give us your elevator pitch… 

I am an author, journalist and consultant who explores how technology changes the way we think, work, and live.

Now explain it to your Mother in Law. 

I write stuff about how computers and the internet have changed our lives (from the way we read books to the way we interact with nature) for places like The Bookseller, the Guardian and the BBC. I’m a permanent part of the editing team for three publications: FutureBook (books), The Memo (business) and PHOENIX (fashion and culture). And I’ve also just finished my first novel, which is about the same sort of stuff, except it has more sex and swear words.

What inspired you to join The Bookseller?

A lifelong passion for books combined with a lifelong love-hate relationship with technology (I’m 33, so I’m part of that generation that was the first to grow up straddling low- and high-tech worlds). During my early career working in a word of mouth marketing agency, I wrote a few articles for The Bookseller and helped judge the monthly essay prize for Futurebook, its innovation arm. Then when I finally went freelance last year, I ran a new ‘BookTech’ competition at the annual Futurebook conference: a live pitch-off between exciting new tech publishing startups from around the world. Following that, this January I was offered the gig to head up Futurebook overall, which was my dream job, bringing the two parts of my life – innovation and books – together alongside an amazing team. So, although I was eight months pregnant at the time, I snapped up the opportunity without a second thought.

Who’s the team behind The Bookseller?

The Bookseller has been going since 1858, so it’s incredible to be part of a publication with such a respected history. It is run by a bunch of incredibly diverse and talented people who are experts in everything from children’s literature to marketing and design, but who all share one common trait: they’re obsessed with books. I love learning from all of them, but the three I work closely with on a daily basis are Philip Jones, the overall editor; Sarah Shaffi, the online editor; and Emma Lowe, who’s in charge of events.

What’s your top tip for getting a project off the ground?

Just keep going. No excuses, no procrastination; you have to keep trudging on alone through the endless self-doubt. Persist in doing the bit you can control – the bit that you’re good at, the reason you started the whole damn project in the first place – every day, whatever the weather, however you feel – and eventually you will have something you’re proud of, although it’ll probably look very different from how you imagined.

And finally, what can we expect to hear from you at our From Zero to Hero event? 

I’ll be moderating the panel, so I’m going to do much more listening than talking (I hope!). I’ll be encouraging our panelists to be really honest and vulnerable, sharing the everyday ups and downs and emotional truths of what it means to build something from the ground up – what they would have done differently, mistakes they’ve made, what’s doesn’t matter and what really counts. We need to hear about more ways of doing things beyond the usual aggressive winner-takes-all-then-buggers-off Silicon Valley narrative.

You can find Molly on Twitter @mollyflatt.

Early Bird tickets to From Zero to Hero! are available here.

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