My name is Barrie Jarrett, CEO of Planet Sport Limited, Planet Bet and CrowdyNews Limited.

My team and I have built a successful independent sports digital media business with an audience of 20 million unique sports fans per month. We invested a lot of sleepless nights, sweat, and tears, the latter sometimes in the literal sense.

In this series of articles, I share some of the important tools, tricks and tips, the must-haves, for running a successful website. I discuss things you can do to help improve your website and the spinoffs for your business or hobby.

Why am I writing this?

I’m one of the lucky ones and I want to prove that you too can do it. I know it’s clichéd, but honestly, it’s not exactly rocket science.

I come from a deprived background, brought up in a council estate in the heart of Leeds, Gipton. My parents, with almost enough kids to make up a football team, lived most of their lives on benefits.

The Jarrett Family

One thing I know is that poverty does not discriminate, not here in the UK or in South Africa, both countries I have lived and worked in.

Before I was introduced to the digital world almost 26 years ago, I spent the early part of my adult life working in a tannery (leather manufacturing). So you can imagine the career shift after further education.

Diversity and skills

Diversity in the workplace is the buzzword these days. It’s long overdue if we are being honest. Sadly, the imperative is being undermined by the bandwagon effect.

I believe that a lot of organisations really grasp the true meaning of diversity.  I see statements like, we will have 40% women on the board of directors by 2023.  But what does that really mean?  Replacing one privileged person with another?

It pains me even more to realise that because of resistance and lack of initiative, government is forced to legislate for diversity and employment equity in the work place.

When reading the news I see of lot self-congratulatory chest beating by companies after meeting their diversity targets. However, below the surface some of it is little more than window dressing and obligatory political correctness rather than a real call to action.

Creating sustainable industries

Don’t get me wrong. The pursuit of diversity is important. But equally important, if not more so, in my opinion, is for governments and corporates to invest considerable political will and financial resources in the creation of sustainable careers. There should also be a deliberate strategy encouraging entrepreneurism, more so in schools.

Look at the carnage in the tannery industry, barely handful left .

According to a report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published in 2018, there were only six leather tanneries operating in England and 17 in the UK. This was a significant decline from the 1970s, when there were over 150 tanneries in the country.

The decline of the industry and companies like Pittards, closing and making hundreds redundant, is not only painful to watch but also a damning indictment of government and business failure to pre-empt and mitigate.

Industries don’t just close overnight. There is a timeline of the progressive decline, affording ample opportunity for interventions.

There should be more focus on creating new opportunities and relief before the inevitable happens. It’s not just coal mining, textiles (Tanneries), shipbuilding, steel but also industries like automotive and retail are in decline.  

Upskilling and reskilling for alternative career paths need not necessarily focus solely on acquiring new academic qualifications.

Not everyone has the temperament for books. But, as they say, learn a trade and you will never go hungry.

A love for learning

What you don’t know you learn. I’m an information sponge, curious and dogged in my pursuit of knowledge and new skills. I have read enough “idiot’s guides” to last me a lifetime.

Because of my appetite for learning, I’m a jack of many trades and ‘master of quite a good few’ of them. A nice quote from one of my peers at Sky.

You will do well to make a habit of hanging around experts in fields that interest you. Don’t be ashamed to ask even the most seemingly idiotic questions. You will be surprised at how generous some experts are with their knowledge. And don’t let some of the technical language intimidate or put you off. I’ve discovered in the tech world everyone loves their acronyms.

I’m also driven by fear of failure. Now, fear of failure is both good and bad. Good if it serves as motivation to keep working hard so that you may never know what failure feels like, and in my case that I may never know poverty again. Bad if the fear curtails your dreams and ambitions and stops you from trying.

Quite a few of my early attempts at new ventures were the proverbial dog’s breakfast. I didn’t give up. I dusted myself down, readied myself for another heave-ho and stayed the course. You too can do it.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will be sharing with you some of the must-have tools for running a successful sports website and the business derivatives therein.

My Digital Toolbox

Creating a successful sports digital business
When asked, how do I create a website?
Must Have Tools for Publishers 
What the hell are cookies?
Why Publishers should embrace Chat GPT


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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