Digital Economy USRG

#SXSC3 Speaker Profile: Alan Rae

Avatar photoNovember 13, 2013
by Lisa Harris

By Merel van Dijke

During the Creative Digifest #SXSC3, several experts will be giving talks and workshops surrounding the theme “value of digital start-ups”. One of these experts is Alan Rae, who will be giving a workshop in the second part of the day about building a business from scratch: How do you make your offer attractive? How do you get the site found? How do you make transactions and how do you fulfill?

The workshop is based on nearly 10 years’ involvement with Digital Business in the family horticultural business which successfully turns over nearly £3/4 million annually in plants, garden equipment and organic pest control. The session will give you some real insight into what is practicable for an independent operator to achieve.

alan rae

But who is Alan Rae? In his own words:

“Research – Structure – Present – Set to Music”

I guess I have been a digital pioneer since we set up our first IT company in 1981. I’ve lived through the change from an analogue to a digital world (when I went to University we used mechanical calculators in the labs!) through word processing, computer aided design, e-commerce and social media and mobile working. My career started as a market researcher and marketing manager for a heavy engineering company. I set up my first IT business in 1981 and have been helping businesses large and small implement IT related change ever since as a supplier, trainer, presenter and author. From 1996-2004 I ran the Executive Studio in West London which was a pioneering demonstration and training centre for the use of IT In e-commerce and mobile and flexible working. Since then I’ve been applying what we know about digital commerce to a family horticultural business (the DPhil IS in plant science after all) and to researching how small companies can use the internet in practice to make their businesses work better. Much of this work has been carried out with Lisa Harris.

I’ve created various training programmes for small business including 1 Man Brand and Punch Above Your Weight, and written books like “Growing Jobs” and “Social Media for Real Businesses”.

If you want to find out more about Alan’s work, check his Research findings at, practical help for small business at and his Sales and marketing materials at Also read his guest blogs for Brandwatch. You can also find him on twitter and LinkedIn

“What do you think is the biggest challenge in setting up an online business?”
Getting the delivery logistics right!

“What is your #1 tip for digital start-ups?”
Only sell things that people want to buy

Categories: Blog and Creative Digifest 3. Tags: #sxsc3.