An Interview With Mark Allardyce IT Producer

Written on 11/11/2013

What is an IT Producer?

IT Producers get to make magic happen every day, how lucky are we. Basically we take an idea and then nurture, model, morph, mould, bend and beat it to launch and beyond…

How do you do that?

The Producer’s a very important element of a project, whether it’s a site, service, system or app. We’re involved in every aspect of pre-production, planning, HR, payroll, legal, insurance, fund raising, finance, tax & vat planning, production, post-production, IP, Patents, monetization, shareholder relations and exit strategy. We hire the designers, programmers, project managers, graphics, hosting, servers, directors, writers, videographers, talent; and ensure that PR, advertising, marketing and sales all happen as scheduled.

Do you have to have a technical background?     

I tried programing many years ago, but was rubbish at it, in fact after graduating from the UK NCC (National Computing Centre) I worked in the industry for years feeling my way around all areas of operations in a variety of large organisations, including British Nuclear Fuels. There’s no easy way to gain experience other than to do it.

How did you break into the business?

I’ve always had a ridiculous work ethic, even when at University, I had several jobs running concurrently; working in operations in the computer lab, working as a lecturer in outdoor recreation at Salford College, as well as setting up a  software development company and an IT sales and marketing business . So, it wasn’t really a sit down and think it through conscious job choice, just something I naturally morphed into.

How do you know what is going to work?

Use your instincts and keep looking around the bend and have a feel for what’s next. You really need to have a nose and appetite for it and I’ve found if I go with my gut feeling, I’m rarely disappointed.

How many titles have you produced?

Lost count, several titles have been very successful, touching countless lives around the world.

Did everyone think they’d do well?

Not at all, most have been produced in spite of what people thought.

After all these years, do you still enjoy your job?

I absolutely love what I do. I love living this life I’ve created and I think that passion is totally infectious to those around you.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?

You can achieve greatness by just believing it. Never let others shake you from that belief in yourself. Know who you are and what you believe. Let others do and think whatever they want – Just know yourself and what you want to achieve and never give in.

What qualifications will they need?

It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, or where you’re from, it’s where you want to be and where you’re going that counts. Just choose. Then get there, one step, one day at a time. You can be what you want, you can make happen what you want – just do whatever it takes. Confucius said “he who says he can and he who says he can’t are both probably right”. Create what you want, just believe it.

Is it realistic to suggest that hard work alone can make something happen?

Be delusional, be obsessive, be persistent, and make a difference. Be unrealistic, whatever you want, you can make it happen. As one of my favourite actors, Will Smith said, “Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity” and he’s right.

  • It was unrealistic of Dr John Steptoe to think that he could take an egg and sperm and somehow create life in a test tube.
  • It was unrealistic for a Reverend  Garret to design the world’s first a mechanically powered submarine 1880 and see his design launched.
  • In 1919, it was unrealistic for two young men (Allcock & Brown) to dream of flying an open wooden, cloth and twine plane, non- stop across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It was unrealistic in 1803 for John Dalton to think his work on atomic theory would be the precursor of all modern chemistry
  • It was unrealistic for Frederick Rolls and Charles Royce to imagine the world’s greatest car
  • In 1919 it was unrealistic of Rutherford to believe that he could split the atom
  • It was totally unrealistic  to invent the first computer 

Now how’s this for unrealistic – every one of those world first achievements happened Manchester!

It’s about to get silly – so did these:

  • the first train service, steam powered mill, industrial revolution, suffragettes, vegetarianism, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op, Mackintosh coat, Lancaster Bomber, world’s first scheduled air service, Ship Canal, Public Library, Microfilm…

Never listen to those who think your dream is not realistic, the people above didn’t, there’s no reason for it to be, if you want to do it, think you can, believe – then do it.

What does it take to make it happen?

Work sickeningly hard on your skills. Talent and skill are often misunderstood. People are born with talent, but skills can be learned and honed by hard work. You must develop a mighty, sometimes obsessive work ethic to hone your skills. Focus with all your power on the task in hand.

What if it goes wrong and I fail?

You can’t fail if you’re still trying. Failure cannot live with persistence. But, never be afraid of failure, as the Roman, Cassius said “in great attempts it is glorious even to fail”. In fact attack your fears, confront your fears head on. Roosevelt said “the only fear you have to fear is fear itself”. Make a difference in every situation, make those around you feel better by you being there and trying – people will slipstream into your dream and want to help. And if it all goes wrong remember Churchill’s words “when you’re going through Hell, keep going”.

Any final words?

Commit to your dream and make it happen. Demand from life whatever it is you want. You choose who you want to be, you choose what you get. Just Decide and Do it and NEVER QUIT.