This week we sat down with the ever-energetic Dom Gomez, a man of few words it was like trying to get blood out of a stone for these answers!
As well as unlocking the superpowers of growing businesses with his creative business development agency Snorkel, Dom runs our monthly Virgin StartUp events that enables entrepreneurs to give their top tips and one-to-one business advice to other entrepreneurs launching a business...Just don't mention smashed avocado!
What is Snorkel and what do you do?
In it’s simplest terms Snorkel is a creative business development agency, helping small to medium enterprises work on their growth strategy, gain new clients and unlock their superpowers. The important thing with Snorkel is that it’s designed to work in a very accessible way, it’s a pay as you go set up and works very much to meet the needs to the individual client.
I’ve aggregated all of my own business successes and failures from over the past twenty years and glued them together to form Snorkel. It’s an umbrella for me to express my teachings to business, because I think business should be creative and I’m not that person (nothing against that person) with the big Venn diagram or excel sheet for me it’s all about people.
Fundamentally it has to be a holistic approach, each client has a complete bespoke approach and I do this thing called ‘Discover, Define and Deliver’ where we go right back to the beginning and we question ‘What do you do?’ ‘How do you do it?’ and ‘Why do you do it?’ and you define what that thing is in terms of your collateral, your physical and digital real estate and then you strategise how you deliver that to get more business.
I get to work with a really eclectic bunch of people and businesses, intrinsically they have very similar speed bumps, so although it is a very bespoke approach you find commonality in and amongst these different clients.
What attracted you to PLATF9RM?I guess there are two things - Virgin Start Up, we were attracted by the lovely synergy of what Seb is doing (and his great colour palette as well!) but I think Virgin as a brand represents hungry, ambitious, tenacious, opportunistic all of which is present in the DNA of PLATF9RM. Having only been in Brighton for a year and a half after being in London for 25 years I wanted to go somewhere with this sort of energy. What I like about PLATF9RM is probably more about the lifestyle than the bricks and mortar - the way you galvanise people together, the way that Seb has created this environment that looks great and you feel part of the whole bigger thing, but of course you can remain autonomous in your ambition because you’re working on your own business.
Do you have a morning routine, and would say you’re a morning person?
I am definitely a morning person! I was born at 5.30 in the morning and I was premature so I guess both of those things add up to someone who’s slightly ahead of the curve!
I tend to get woken up by one or both of my two kids at about 6 something, and my morning will involve drawing, colouring, reading and doing something with them for an hour. I then try and do something cardio-vascular to get my head in the right space, like cycling to here from my home in Lewes which is a forty minute ride.
I know that my optimum working space is between 9-1 so that’s when I get my best work done, and I try and slow down the pace in the afternoon when I can.
Favourite place to go in the world?
I’ve been very lucky and been on numerous exotic holidays but I think a place of importance is somewhere that has an effect on you, and for me that’s the North Coast of Cornwall - that brazen, panoramic stretch of cliff face and pirate beaches just has a mesmerising effect on me. Every single season has it’s hero shot - I even got married there!
What three things would you put in your Room 101?
First off - Nick Grimshaw, nothing personal! But his radio personality just grates. He is just always trying to be in with the right people at the right time. Now although I like this thing, it’s more about how it’s been marketed and set up in the last five years... It was good old honest green fruit that was good for you and now it’s become ’Smashed Avocado’ - who smashes avocado?! Love avocado - hate ’Smashed Avocado’. Lastly unnecessary lycra - I’m a massive fan of lycra, it’s a huge part of running, cycling and I enjoy both of those a lot, but it’s when you see someone who is only going on a five minute cycle and have literally spent four times that amount of time getting kitted out in their lycra! It’s that moment when you’re running behind someone and you just think ‘you have definitely gone OTT on the lycra!’
What are some small things that make your day better?
I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to things like this! I think, politeness! I’m a real stickler with my kids with those real building blocks, grace, humility, politeness. I think the small things in a working day can go a long way to make someone feel respected and supported. I think laughter is really important - it’s an overlooked tonic. We live very busy and chaotic and contorted lives and I think the ability to stop and laugh at ourselves can give you a very healthy perspective on life.
What do you wish you knew more about?
I could just blanket everything! I have an obsessive nature where I have to know how things and why things are! That being said I think astronomy is up there - I’m a massive fan of the infinite monkey cage and Brian Cox and I just think the universe and beyond is fascinating. I’m also really into history so both of those things are about understanding order, and why things work and why things exist, it helps gives you perspective.
What’s your claim to fame?
Ok, this does sound like I’m bragging but I had this lined up! I gave Ed Sheeran his very first festival appearance. I conceived, produced and ran two 20,000 capacity food, drink and music festivals and in the second year I was offered 10 Introducing artists from the BBC, and I picked one of them before he was signed, and that small, ginger haired man with raw and fantastic talent was Ed Sheeran. He played 12 o’clock on the MainStage at Harvest at Jimmys in Ipswich. He’d just sacked his manager and shortly after he went to America, and that’s where he started to break through.
What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
You really want to ask me this? Ha! I’m going to say my band actually. We’re far too old to do anything with it other than rehearse and play gigs in the back of sweaty pubs. It’s a blues band so it’s right back to the Delta, swamps and Chicago Blues. So we take inspiration from the real 1930’s/40’s blues - artists like Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie playing their soul out, and try to emulate that feel. Obviously though we’re a bunch of middle class white men, but we love it!