Presswire CEO and Founder Richard Powell talks to AI magazine about the company and its future direction…

AI: Tell me about Presswire, the work you do and the types of clients with whom you work.

Richard Powell: We’re one of the world’s foremost news distribution platforms, providing up-to-the-minute information from businesses, governments, educational institutions, and communications agencies to the media and financial markets. We offer industry-leading Press Release Distribution Services and a live, global Media Contact Database of a million contacts.

AI: What is your approach when undertaking a new client or project?

Richard Powell: On joining us, our customers are provided with an Account Manager to ascertain how our products will best fit their requirements. They will then assist, and offer advice, throughout their campaigns to ensure they obtain precision targeting and maximum exposure for their news.

AI: Tell me about your business and your ongoing strategy. What techniques do you employ to ensure that you achieve this?

Richard Powell: In our first decade, our mission was to build the most comprehensive media and financial analyst database in the world. Once we reached our first milestone of a million contacts, our focus shifted to Artificial Intelligence, to keep our contact data current and anticipate how it would change over time. Now, in our second decade, our front-office is still run from London where our company was born in 2000, but increasingly our database architecture and AI development is run out of San Francisco. We anticipate major growth in this area, as our database is ‘taught’ to update itself.

AI: What are your thoughts on the state of your industry currently? Are there any particular issues/changes that are affecting it?

Richard Powell: Our niche industry became uncompetitive when incumbents (some over 50 years old), bought up independent providers of media contact information, leaving public relations agencies and communications departments few alternatives. They then merged to provide ‘super suites’ of communications tools and set pricing for them at unjustifiably high levels. Presswire remains an independent media contact data provider that has not been absorbed by a listed company and continues to offer fair pricing, even in a bull market (Grand View Research, Inc. estimates PR Tools will be worth $13bn by 2024).

AI: What has been the most important thing you have learnt throughout your career so far and how has this helped you achieve success?

Richard Powell: Sector analysts have suggested workers in this industry will need to become data scientists to achieve success from their media campaigns in the future. We think adapting to these requirements at the product-offering-level is what our customers will expect, putting this technical onus onto us. Therefore, adaptability, as well as forecasting what our customers will need from Presswire tomorrow, are our most pressing considerations. Success in these areas will enable us to not only remain relevant within this industry but lead it.

AI: What challenges and opportunities have you faced during your time here and how have they affected your role?

Richard Powell: As mentioned, large blue-chip news agencies and venture capital investors have created an unchecked monopoly within this sector that, to many, would appear daunting to compete with. But by maintaining our core offering and not overstretching ourselves and what we can provide, we can continue to offer the best product and service possible. Opportunities for us largely come from innovation, such as our development of a partially self-updating database. Implementation of key features such as this can also be integrated by us faster, as we resemble a speedboat, compared to our blue-chip, oil tanker competitors.

AI: How do you manage your staff and how do you cultivate an atmosphere that is conducive to a productive working environment?

Richard Powell: Presswire’s core team works remotely and online, with all of us aware of our required output and how to manage our workflow. Hard targets, limited holidays, micro-management and commuting are all relics of a by-gone era for us, and we continue to work together successfully because no-one wants to return to this restrictive modus operandi. Nevertheless, we work efficiently enough that we all pull our weight while keeping a keen eye on how to best play our part in the future of the company.

AI: What are your future aspirations regarding your business? Do you have any upcoming plans/projects you would like to share with us?

Richard Powell: Each major update fills me with a sense of excitement because our database is given a new lease of life. We tell the AI what we want it to do and where to find the information, and it works tirelessly to make our product more accurate, whether we’re sleeping, laying on a beach or working through the night to put our latest information live. All the updated contacts that are assimilated into our system allow our clients to reach the key influencers they are targeting, which keeps the end consumer essentially informed.