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SHORT VERSION (135 words)
Orlando grew up in London, became a musician and worked as a producer and composer for tv and film, playing guitar and percussion.
He moved into international broadcasting and led campaigns for the Digital Revolution of the BBC, and the launch of the internet in Europe. Subsequently, he lived and worked in the Middle East, where he ran a consultancy for five years.
A new chapter started in 2012, when his wife fell seriously ill. Together, they moved to Cornwall, where she has family roots. Orlando began writing and campaigning for both ethical governance, and for protection of the natural environment.
He's written widely on ethics in business, and produces popular non-fiction and fiction.
MEDIUM VERSION (381 words) 'Why I write'
Some years ago, Orlando was running a company overseas which he built from nothing to an $11m turnover over just 18 months. Everything was wonderful until the parent company started behaving strangely… Long story short, Orlando returned home to Britain.
Then a doctor prescribed a medicine which disabled his partner. Severely. It caused Orlando to reflect and write about the damaging behaviour of certain companies and governments, the effect on those that depend on them, and the impact on their own fortunes and reputation. Gradually it became clear: we’re all in this together. Just like a family.
The motto ‘One and All’ captures this and we can feel it’s presence (or absence) in every group that we belong to, whether it’s a village, sports team or workplace. Awareness of this is the common factor in the great companies that I’ve worked with. Failure to honour this bond results in tension, unhappiness, poor communication and inefficiency.
Good organizations have a clear set of values at their core. They include a high level of respect for one another and a responsibility for the environment. This is important in an era of fluid international trade and climate change, as we all have a global perspective. We know that there is an infinitely rich resource that can easily support us all, but that it cannot support our greed.
That perspective holds true at the smallest, local scale, just as much as to the most complex public authority. Organizations will fail if they deny or ignore this truth, because they neglect the one thing on which they depend: the goodwill and interdependence of the staff, suppliers and customers.
We can all make a contribution, but we have to be given the chance. That’s why he writes.
LONG VERSION (914 words)
“Good judgement comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.” Will Rogers
My own story began with a lucky break, after slogging around grey wet London streets straight out of school and desperate for a job where I could use my love of music. I found a home with EMI producing film and TV soundtracks and spent a few very happy years dashing in and out of recording studios. By just 21 I was running three companies in music and publishing, travelling to New York and living the dream. By 25 I was burnt out and needed a brief spell of travelling before a return to writing jingles and TV soundtracks in London. It was around then that I developed a strong interest in exotic Eastern sounds and Indonesian gamelan in particular.
Later it became evident that, despite becoming one of the highest music royalty earners in the UK, my career wasn’t meeting the needs of a growing family. I was fortunately offered the role editor-in-chief in the media division International Thomson, a one-time publisher of The Times newspaper, as well as a big group of media titles led by ‘Broadcast’ magazine.
A twinkle in the eye
Thomson sent me around the world meeting broadcasters and technology companies at a time when ‘digital’ and ‘high definition’ were just a twinkle in their eye. Then an opportunity came to branch out on my own, so I grabbed it and set up a consultancy within Charles Barker, Europe’s biggest PR company. My mission was clear, to help companies as much as I could in any way that I could. Despite often working with journalists, I never thought of myself as a ‘PR person’ but simply as someone who is honest, articulate, rational and enthusiastic.
My first client was a little tech start-up (Avid) from the US, that grew from under $1m turnover to over $100m in three years; heady stuff for those times. I was invited to direct communications for the launch of the internet (aka ‘The Information Society’) for the European Commission; Sky’s transition from analogue to digital; and then the BBC’s ‘Digital Revolution’, where both the skills and morale of TV programme-makers were transformed.Happiness in the workplace has always fascinated me and the BBC proved that one could attain both high financial goals and generate deep satisfaction for all concerned.
Qatar and Home
After pitching and winning a multi-million dollar contract to work with an energy company in the Gulf, I found myself starting a new company in the bone dry, sunny climate of Qatar. This was fantastic timing, as the country was accelerating its growth on the back of a huge petrochemical cash surplus. It led to further enormous contracts, helping telecoms, science, technology and gas-energy clients to reach a global audience. These projects required me to manage multiple teams of designers, film-makers, event organizers, PR people, advertisers and other talented individuals to cooperate under demanding conditions to consistently produce world-class work. Profitably. That was tough but we did it.
Five years later I returned to the UK and Cornwall. My first step was to examine what lessons could be learnt from these experiences. I also read widely and wrote a short essay every day for over a year. The key conclusion is that good business is based on ethical governance as this provides the foundation of trust. It’s all about the culture. Ethical governance is therefore the cornerstone both of my approach to advising business on sales, as well as voluntary work I do to protect the precious landscape and people of Cornwall.
The wider challenge is how we can satisfy our region’s unique ‘triple bottom line’ of community, economic development and environment. But that’s another story…