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20.12.16 / ARCHITECTS OF NEXT: NATHANIEL REILLY-O’DONNELL/ONEFIFTY

Analysing performance is second-nature to Nathaniel. Having spent years as a professional athlete in the GB Rowing team, quantifying what works, doesn’t, and just hurts isn’t just something one does when it comes to social content and engagement. As a consultant with OneFifty, he’s now helping brands win their own social and digital races.

Nathaniel’s a man of contrasts. Tech early adopter, yet loving nothing more than some sweat and cold air. Growing up in rural County Durham as the eldest of five, he found sporting excellence, winning Junior World Championships, before moving to London to study law and continue rowing at university. He then became full time athlete at the National Training Centre, ultimately becoming a European and two-time World Champion, and most recently representing Team GB in Rio.

At the same time, he was exploring digital tech. An early drone flyer, by his own admission “I was on YouTube surfing for hours on end before it was even cool, and found some pretty weird corners of the internet as a result.”

He’s carefully followed the development of the internet over the last decade, and sees the shift: “I saw when brands or public figures changed from broadcasting messages to genuine interaction or just really novel uses of tech to get themselves noticed. I loved the Felix Baumgartner RedBull space jump but have no idea why he or mission control didn’t say the words “Redbull gives you wings” as he jumped off the platform…”

As he moves from a life training, to a life surrounded by social and digital media, his personal routine has changed too. “I used to tweet pretty regularly around my training and thoughts on sport. Now I post less frequently and use Instagram more to share what I’m doing rather than Facebook or Twitter.”

He’s clear about where the opportunities lie for brands and creators alike: “People need to be more readily willing to commit to a cause and create change to the world around us.” Likewise by what he wants to see less of: “I don’t enjoy being fed content that reinforces what I’ve already seen, I want to learn new things not hear the same again.”

“I’d say social feels like a university common room, wild ideas and a few dominant personalities often drowning out a fairly silent majority. I’d like to see it turned more into a family dinner vibe. All comfortable to chip in with some thought and reason into what is being said.”

To stay ahead think/do:

  • Top Twitter follow: Probably not the best thing I follow but probably one that readers aren’t following is CourtNewsUK – live updates from the weirdest stories currently in courts in the UK. A more predictable answer is rorysutherland for a great eclectic mix.
  • Top Insta follow: Dronegear – I was a fairly early adopter of buying a proper outdoor drone and this feed is good for reviews and cool inspiration for new types of shot.
  • Productive habit: If possible I try to respond there and then to emails otherwise they get lost forever.
  • Unproductive habit: I have a tendency towards burning the candle at both ends.
  • Favourite brand: Guinness looking back, Tesla looking forward

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