Getting to know you: Tom Elgar

What do you currently do?

I am CEO of Passle, a new blogging platform which aims to make it much easier for businesses to maintain an interesting blog and social media presence.

At the moment, only one in eight business – of the 500+ we surveyed – have an updated business blog. So it’s a pretty big (and well-understood) problem.

When we were looking around for a new business venture we discussed blogging, and it really is one of those ‘oh don’t even let me get started on our blog, what an utter shambles!’ kind of issues that people moan about a lot.

What is your inspiration in business?

Initially I was inspired by the prospect of just being self-employed, with a kind of artisan style of working life. That’s one of the nice things about the web – you are very close to both your customers and your product.

The problem was that as a web developer (unlike a real artisan furniture maker, for example) you have to ensure the website is up and running 24/7. And it quickly gets very hard to run as a one man band.

If you do well, you employ people and boof! You are now a manager. There goes the artisan dream!

Who do you admire?

Bill Gates is a brilliant businessman. Just amazing. And then he gave away all his billions to causes that he really cares about. By all accounts, he’s a rather nice man too.

Looking back would you have done things differently?

Not really. I’ve been very lucky, so if I went back and changed something then the whole picture might change.

But I have learnt that…

1. Resilience is crucial

2. Make sure your corporate governance is right. The person with responsibility must also have control. Moreover, everyone needs to be on the same side, and remunerated in a similar way.

3. Work with people you like – life is too short!

What defines your way of doing business?

Find clever, motivated people – specialists preferably. Listen to what they have to say and then let them get on with it.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Go into an expanding, young industry and just rise with the tide: it’s SO much easier than needing to be better than others.