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The Dots: A LinkedIn for creatives launched from a boat

The Dots, which promises increased diversity, has been nicknamed the LinkedIn for the creative industries. The concept proved so intriguing that we just had to speak to its founder, Pip Jamieson, on her houseboat.
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Even before meeting Jamieson, her name was a familiar one – her thoughts about reinvigorating the creative industries through The Dots had made sure of that.

We knew that she wanted to eradicate the gender divide – a policy aiming for a 50:50 ratio of representation was created upon launch, Forbes noted – and evolve the landscape into a more mobile one. More importantly, Jamieson wanted to foster a place of communication and opportunity.

The initial concept for the platform isn’t new though. Jamieson actually set up its Australian counterpart, named The Loop, before launching The Dots – and it’s her global ambitions that spurred her into action.

“I’ve had a crazy career, going from economist to working in the creative industry and then becoming an entrepreneur,” she told Real Business, seated on the “porch” of her houseboat.

“I actually studied economics because my dad worked in the creative industry. That was my way of rebelling. But for years, when I was working at MTV, I regretted that degree. It had absolutely nothing to do with what I did on a day-to-day basis.”

But as they say, every company is made from a spotted gap in the market. In this case, Jamieson struggled to find new candidates.

She explained that while resumes aplenty had been submitted her way, their portfolios were what intrigued her most – something which couldn’t easily be handed over (yet).

There was no time to scan the web for talented people and any hire for an executive role needed to be made through a recruitment agency. LinkedIn proved too corporate in the end.

It limited their prospects to friends of friends, certain universities or via word of mouth. The end result? A diverse-poor workforce, she explained. The Loop was thus born – a place people could showcase all their work and obtain opportunities based on them.

“Of course, I ended up happy that I studied economics and had a good grip on maths and finance,” she quipped. “It’s become invaluable for startup-land. And if I hadn’t worked at MTV, I may never have launched The Dots.”

Indeed, she left both The Loop and MTV, moved to the UK and acquired the international rights for the technology before setting up The Dots on Horace the houseboat.

“The best ideas never happen when you’re sitting at a desk,” she said, explaining Horace’s importance. “And any time I’m stressed I just row down the canal. It’s beautiful and there are no distractions. I have dropped a few phones in the canal though. Funny story: I managed to fish one out a month later and it was still working.”

View the below video to find out more about the company:

The Dots definitely seems to be working. Jamieson explained that the team had immediately approached top creative brands – and now its fans include Twitter, Condé Nast, Facebook and Channel 4.

“We may have started the platform in the UK, but over 25 per cent of our community is based outside Britain,” she explained. “It’s been amazing watching the international reach bloom. Creativity is borderless. It doesn’t matter where you live or where you work, you can be part of The Dots.”

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business