Ewan is 38 and lives in Hampshire, United Kingdom with his wife, Hetty and little boys, Archie and Freddie. His adopted city is San Francisco and he can oft be seen flying Virgin America across the States, but always British Airways across the pond.
Ewan founded Mobile Industry Review (or “SMS Text News” as he originally christened the site) back in October 2005 — but actually began publishing daily, two months later, on the 26th of January 2006.
The site is one of the most influential of its kind, totally dedicated to the mobile industry, but rooted firmly in the consumer mindset. It is far too easy to forget that, at the end of the day, the mobile industry is powered by billions of normobs (“normal mobile users”). Predicting how they’re likely to act has become nothing short of a fine art for Ewan.
Ewan is a serial entrepreneur. With a critical difference. He codes. He’s more or less fluent in PHP, MySQL, ASP and Linux Administration. Most of his businesses have been based around systems or services that he’s created — the most notable of which accounted for an estimated half-a-percent of the UK’s text messaging traffic on a nightly basis (His idea? Text-enable the giant screens in British nightclubs.) With this business (Neo One Impulse), Ewan was thrust into the forefront of the mobile industry, having to contend with mobile operators with infrastructure built, almost literally, out of string and sellotape.
Such was Ewan’s baptism of fire with the mobile industry — and having been at the ‘coal face’ of the mobile industry — or having to spend approximately 600 nights attending the most appalling UK nightclubs, he has an uncanny ability to spot a crowd-pleasing mobile concept from 50 paces.
He’s, in his own words, ‘made a lot of money’, and, as he feels obliged to explain, ‘lost a lot of money’, before pointing out, ‘made quite a lot back again’. If you’re feeling philosophical, you could say that Ewan has got a first from the University of Reality — but if you’re looking for real pieces of paper, he completed a degree in Information Management at University College London, Britain’s third oldest higher education institution, after the twin ‘dumps’ of Oxford and Cambridge (to paraphrase Blackadder).
Three times, has Ewan taken a seat at a board table and been asked if he’d like to sell his company. The first time was a complete surprise, so much so, he was dressed in trainers, jeans and a GAP T-Shirt, dropping off a contract, only to be ushered into a room full of expectant looking grey-haired old men, complete with the proverbial cheque book ready and waiting. The second time was thoroughly exciting, all the way up until the group Chairman suddenly found he didn’t have the funds to execute the transaction (Step away slowly from that Bentley Continental GT, Ewan) and the third time, well that was $24 million — and, despite the strangely perceptive invitations from Sotheby’s to attend ‘private viewings’, Ewan is keen to point out that there there were a few other founders too.
He’s been through the ringer with investors too. So much so that Ewan is perhaps one of the most depressing business people you could ever hope to meet within the borders of the United Kingdom. “Do not,” he repeats to all who will listen, “Ever do business with a British venture capitalist. Most of them are employees. Go figure.”
That said, Ewan did have success with some far-sighted venture capitalists in North America (he’s often known to proclaim, “Thank you Jim!”, now and again) where he, along with the support of his co-founder, raised $1.3m for one of his first ‘dotcom’ ventures.
Ewan has been described as ‘annoyingly perceptive,’ ‘brilliantly logical’ and ‘a total and utter mind-bending genius’. Not just by his mother. He thus regularly attends board meetings in a non-executive capacity for a number of media, tech and mobile-based companies and is an advisor to an array of FTSE and Fortune 100 conglomerates.
You’ll find his writing immediately accessible, direct and as far away from the ‘Queen’s English’ as it is possible to be — yet still qualify for an ‘A’ at GCSE level. Ewan prefers a direct, empathetic, lively and informal style of prose.
He drinks thoroughly good red wine — at the behest of his wife who threatened to postpone marriage unless he gave up his three-times-a-day Barrs Irn Bru habit. (He remains a shareholder.) You’ll often find him at mobile industry events, often easily identifiable as ‘the guy in the pinstripe’. Taking the expression, ‘the clothes maketh the man’ to heart, Ewan maintains a wardrobe full of sharp pinstripes that swiftly became his brand.
Mobile Industry Review (“MIR”) is one of Ewan’s businesses — and is certainly his most cathartic. Having spent years in the virtual wilderness trying, hope after hope, to get the only publication in the land (at the time, New Media Age) to write about his businesses, the opportunity to use the site’s mega-spotlight to shine upon struggling, well deserving entrepreneurs, makes life worth living for Ewan. So if you’re trying to get the word out about your new mobile startup, Ewan’s virtually guaranteed to want to write about you.
MIR — which, coincidentally, means ‘world’ and ‘peace’ in Russian, through the benevolent and much appreciated attention of some of the world’s most influential bloggers, analysts, journalists and investors, remains a stoic and unrelenting fan of all things concerned with mobile connectivity. You will, now and again, witness a rant of monumental proportions, authored by Ewan and usually aimed at hapless manufacturers or large mobile service providers. Although the site exists to deliver news and opinion to over a quarter of a million mobile industry executives and fanatics, the rants are often amongst the highest trafficked pieces. Watch out for them.
Ewan runs a hectic yet reasonably well managed MIR office — so if you’d like to get in touch, please use these details.