Just a (kinda oldish) kid with a crazy dream

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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“I remember the last time I was on tour, when I was 60, just a kid with a crazy dream…”
–  The late (and much-lamented) Leonard Cohen on stage at 75

Company No. 4426543

The Registrar of Companies for England and Wales hereby certifies that Moodie International Limited is this day incorporated under the Companies Act 1985 as a private company and that the company is limited.

Given at Companies House, Cardiff, the 29th April 2002.

Armed with that standard bureaucratic-speak, I embarked on a journey this day 20 years ago that has taken me places geographically, commercially, philosophically and mentally that I could have scarcely imagined.

As anyone who has founded a company knows, the hours are long, the pressure unrelenting, the fear of failure constant and the attrition rate horrid. I’m glad I didn’t look at the statistics back in 2002 as I have in researching this Blog but if you’re a fellow entrepreneur about to embark on your own journey look away now.

The numbers vary by source but according to Investopedia, the failure rate of start-ups in 2019 (and remember that was pre-pandemic) was around 90% between year one and – for those lucky enough to get that far – year ten.

The original ‘Worldwide Headquarters’ – the garden shed in West London

Reasons for failure, the same source reveals, include (not surprisingly) money running out, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, bad partnerships, ineffective marketing, and not being an expert in the industry. Ways to avoid failing include “setting goals, accurate research, loving the work, and not quitting”.

Heck, so to get through two decades I and we must have ticked some of those boxes even if one of those goals on day one was simply to survive. Growing and ultimately flourishing would have to wait. Loving the work? Yes, apart from a perpetual love/hate relationship with my boss, for sure. Not quitting? Never a chance of failing on that score.

If you’d offered me 20 years back then I would have, as they say, bitten your hand off. Probably, without sounding too cannabalistic about it, your arm, elbow and shoulder too.

Through those years we have had many highs and – like the business community we serve – multiple lows. SARS in our first year; the second Gulf War a few months later; the Asian economic crisis; 9/11 and many other acts of terrorism; natural disasters; and – to save the worst for last – the global pandemic of 2020-2022. Running a publishing business whose revenues are predominantly derived from advertising and physical events through the mother of all crises is not for the faint-hearted I can assure you. And yet, thanks to the combination of a great team, brilliant industry partners and a garden shedful of hard work and innovation, we’re emerging from the pandemic stronger than we entered it.

Throw in a few personal crises along the way, including a battle with stomach cancer through 2010 and 2011 and a heart attack and triple bypass in 2015 and that 20-year landmark seems pretty satisfying.

The challenges you meet along the way: Presenting a cheque in December 2013 from The Moodie Report Foundation for £124,000 (then US$202,000) to Professor David Cunningham of London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, the lead oncologist in my successful cancer treatment. Colleagues Colleen Morgan (second from right), still with our team today, and Jaclyn Wampler (back left) are pictured with me.

I will most certainly open a bottle of something chilled, French and fizzy tonight but we won’t celebrate formally until this September. That’s the month we actually launched what was then The Moodie Report, a simple pdf with no visuals, no advertising, no subscription fee and, according to my former company – the then market leader – no hope.

At a point when business media was almost entirely print-based, we launched instead as all-digital. Was I mad? No, simply 46, just a kid with a crazy dream.

Baby steps: The first edition of The Moodie Report (right) appeared on 16 September 2002 in PDF format; (left) our inaugural print edition from October 2003

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  • It’s too many years ago but if you can hark back we played rugby in the same strange expat TFWA team the day before the exhibition opened it’s doors.

    Like you I went through a few ups and downs medically but still got through somehow.

    I finally retired (Kind of!) — still a bit active from time to time. So my point is congratulations. To you I do remember your go it alone start up. You have certainly progressed over the time and have a great team helping you!

    Hopefully you have many years to go and I wish you all the best going into the future.