Nick Kind has worked in digital strategy and development for over 20 years, with a speciality in education and technology. Currently, he works as a consultant, spending the majority of his time advising adaptive learning pioneer Area9. Until mid-2016, he was Head of Business Insights for one of the largest media organisations in the world, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. At Holtzbrinck, Nick managed a thought leadership, market intelligence and internal strategy consultancy team for the board across consumer, scientific and education sectors. Previously, he imagined, created and managed a series of high-profile and cutting-edge software development companies and projects in education markets around the globe. More information is available at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/nickkind and https://nicholaskind.uk.
- What was the last book you read?
Paul Beatty’s The Sellout. The writing was extraordinarily impressive and the subject-matter urgent and compelling, but I was left feeling a little let down at the end. I wanted it to finish in a wackier way – more magically, somehow. I also recently read Jonathan Knee’s Class Clowns: How the Smartest Investors Lost Billions in Education which I would highly recommend for anyone thinking about the world of education, educational publishing and corporate development: it was salutary and slightly shamefully entertaining, especially if you know some of the cast of characters.
- How did you buy it?
The Sellout was a present from my wife. Class Clowns I bought myself digitally. I have to confess to buying books I really enjoy in both formats, as I prefer to read on paper and like to have the physical object as a reference and a memory on my shelves – but digital packs better.
- And what did you read it on?
A good old-fashioned paperback on holiday and a Kindle on a business flight to the USA, respectively.
- What’s next on your reading list?
I’m currently reading Edmund de Waal’s The White Road. I adore The Hare with Amber Eyes and I was a keen (if very amateur) potter when I was young, so his story of porcelain was an obvious choice (another present, actually). I have Kevin MacNeil’s The Brilliant and Forever on my desk, and a lot of other things on the “to read” shelves (both physical and digital!).
- Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
Shakespeare, without question. I put the Complete Works online for the Arden editions many years ago and have been fascinated by his variety since I did “A” level English. What was he like as a person? An edgy genius? A party animal? Melancholic? There are so many characters which he draws so convincingly that it is impossible to tell. And would he have a story or two…
- Tell us what you do in 20 words.
I help organisations and investors around the world find their strategies and execute them, mostly in education and learning.
- What do you like about your job?
I get to meet and work with some absolutely fascinating, exceptional and unexpected people, from educational rappers to powerful venture capitalists to inspiring teachers.
- What is the single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now?
Being thoughtfully prepared for the unpredictable pace of market changes. Because sometimes they are slow, and sometimes they are fast – and it is extraordinarily difficult to tell when tipping points are going to come. The education market is particularly vulnerable to change given its dependence on political policy, and (especially in the USA) the involvement of philanthropists who don’t play by normal market rules.
- What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
A battered and ugly brass cone which contains water from the River Ganges. A friend and colleague brought it back from a filming trip to India when we were much enjoying producing wonderful (and high-budget!) multimedia learning resources for the BBC. It reminds me of that hopeful time.
- Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?
I am particularly fond of the small bookshop in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, close to where I live. The owner is always cheerful, and always ready with a suggestion for anyone in the family. So she has hopefully got a future in the world dominated by Amazon.