Founder's story series - Ben Dickens
Our Founder's Story Series interviews each one of our team. In this one, our CCO Ben Dickens talks about his life and journey with Solocal.
Firstly, Ben's a father. He's dedicated to his family and enjoys spending time with his adorable daughter.
"I studied Chemistry so I naturally went into a career in marketing." You can tell where Ben's from with his humour. Ben's career started with joining the grad programme of Orange, and learnt a huge amount in a very fast moving company especially around the importance of brand.
Ben then shifted to the agency side working on direct marketing and CRM helping clients develop their knowledge and ultimately their organisations around a better understanding of the consumer. Keen to stay up-to-day with the industry, Ben moved to a digital agency and in 2008 founded his first company. Since then, he's founded and run his own agencies at the intersection of strategy, design and technology.
Hi Ben, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love problem solving. It’s just in my make-up really I see business as a problem to be solved and when I do (hopefully) it makes me happy. I’m lucky to work with a great team who all share a similar outlook. We relish a challenge!
Can you use three words to describe yourself?
Hairy, intelligent, funny.
Tell us a bit about your role at Solocal.
My job title at Solocal is Chief Commercial Officer. But, like most start-ups we’re very hands on and we pool our skills as much as possible. As founders we all have a lot of experience whether that’s marketing, technical or commercial which makes for a great mix. My main focus though is on the commercial partnerships and elements that will allow us to make money as a business.
How did you and Joly meet and why you decide to join?
I was in the envious position of being able to pay the bills and having time to work on new projects. I saw an ad Joly had placed and over numerous coffee’s we discovered we wanted to work together. That was a year ago and we’re still going strong, although I’m sure my sense of humour is still unfathomable!
Why I decide to join... Firstly it was Joly’s passion but secondly I recognised a real need for services like these for now and the future. As the father of a young daughter I saw Solocal as an opportunity to correct an imbalance for women and personally do something that would shape a more level playing field for her and other girl’s futures.
So Solocal is a community for female travellers, you’re a man how does that work?
Good question! Well the community is only for women but there’s really good reasons for that. It absolutely doesn’t mean that the team delivering that can’t be mixed though. I think Solocal is refreshing in that gender doesn’t matter it’s about a shred purpose to deliver an excellent product and business.
You've founded several companies, how do you define the word "entrepreneur"?
To me an entrepreneur is person with a certain character rather than a definition of what someone does for a living. The entrepreneur is much more open to taking risks, doesn’t dwell on mistakes and doesn’t care so much what others think of them. In other words they’ve got strong self-belief, sometimes this comes across as arrogance but I prefer to think of it as confidence.
What’s your dream trip?
I’d love to visit Tokyo. I was fed a diet of neo-noir movies and I love Japanese culture and design. I kind of envisage Tokyo being a bit like the set of Blade Runner, minus the flying cars. Well for now at least.
Contact Ben at Ben@solocal.travel