Angela Kyle is one of those connoisseurs of the transatlantic flight schedules known as “NyLon” (New York to London). But as a jet-lagged Angela told me when I met her in New York, “It’s a lot better than Los Angeles to London, which is what I used to do.”
The Real Time Project founders are all “globalists” in the way they view the world, so it’s really the only way that they know how to do business. Angela Kyle, American-born and educated with stints in the U.K., is a recently minted U.K. citizen. Kit Macgillivray - Canadian-born, New Zealand educated — has spent most of his professional career in the U.K., Middle East and Australasia. Tanya Greiner – born in Mexico, Swiss citizen and Swiss educated — is a Zurich resident who has spent her professional career in Hong Kong, Sydney and Switzerland.
Teams With an Unusual Mix of Skills
The Real Time Project does consulting work around the implications of content becoming more real-time. This is more than just Twitter and has profound implications for entertainment, particularly sports, as well as e-commerce. Trying for a sound bite to describe this, Angela opts for “McKinsey meets Ideo.” Her point is that you have to pull together a very diverse range of skills relating to social media, real-time Web protocols, video distribution and much more, and frame that within the context of a business and branding strategy that will “move the needle” for large clients.
It is unlikely that this ideal multidisciplinary team will be sitting in one office all employed by your company and available at the drop of a hat to engage with the client at the exact time when the client is ready to take action. Angela gave us an example:
“We are working with a global IP and content rights owner in the U.K. on a project that originated in Japan and is currently developing significant traction in the U.S. The global management team needs a perspective on how to best leverage the U.S. activity and disseminate this knowledge to teams in other regions.”
Scaling By Getting the Right Mix of Face-To-Face and Virtual
Today, really large consulting companies like McKinsey and Accenture can operate this way using internal resources. But they often lack that spark of creativity and access to bleeding-edge innovation that small consulting firms offer. However, as Angela pointed out, her firm’s resources are currently maxed out with a few big clients, so the company needs to scale.
And that led Angela and her partners to the federated, networked micro-multinational way of working. I asked Angela, “If an investor wrote you a big check, would you change to a traditional model? How can you imagine scaling this business model tenfold?
Angela told us:
“We would expand our monthly networking event in London called The Real Time Speakeasy. This is a true ‘mixer’ of people from the technology, content and marketing worlds, and is more of a discussion-based forum than a ‘card-swapping’ meet-up. We would love to scale that event to bring it to different cities, to film speakers and distribute the content virally.”
This echoes a theme we are hearing from entrepreneurs running micro-multinationals: It’s crucial to get the right mix of face-to-face and virtual.