Bloch To Blockchain, Finzi To FinTech - Changing Career Midlife

25/09/2017 14:26

I'm on my way to meet the CEO of leading RegTech company, and the editor of a major business magazine. And I'm terrified. Good God I hope I'm not found out. I rehearse acronyms in my head: "AML, CTF, KYC, PEP..." And my phone rings "Jonas Kaufmann? The Barbican?" For a bizarre moment, my old world and my new world collide. "Can I help out with filming for the BBC this Sat? Is it an OB? Any PTCs? IV or OOV?" Oh, it feels good to be back on home ground.

For 41 years I've lived and breathed classical music, the last 15 of which have been predominantly spent producing classical music documentaries for the BBC. I've produced films on Handel's Messiah, Shostakovich 7, Music and Monarchy, the greatest opera singers that ever lived, the Story of Music, Vaughan Williams, Edward Elgar, this list goes on... Yet now I write about changes to the legal landscape and the latest developments in FinTech. Admittedly it's a shock to the system, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

On the surface, Messiah to MiFID II seems like an enormous leap, but in reality it's more of a sidestep.

This is because anyone who has worked in any profession for a significant length of time will have built up a range of skills that are perhaps more transferable than they think. As it turns out, nothing could have prepared me better for writing about employment law than writing about the history behind Handel's Messiah. Why? Because the story of Messiah alone is unlikely to bring a big enough audience to BBC 2, so you need to find the interesting angle and package it in such a way that it captures wider attention. For us, it was the birth of philanthropy in 18th century London - of which Messiah's involvement with the Foundling Hospital played a crucial part. Many tuned in for that, but after watching the film raved about Messiah itself. Result.

Whether cybersecurity, the latest anti-money laundering regulations or the ways in which Brexit will affect our rural communities, there is an interesting angle in everything. On its own the subject matter may garner little interest, but look at the bigger picture and your fascination grows.

Whether marketing, communications, public speaking, or TV, the rules behind presenting information in a compelling and readable way are fundamentally the same; reading Talk like TED I was struck by how much of the advice in this best-selling book could equally be applied to penning a great script.

The big lesson for me has been that as soon as we start to think laterally about how our skills can be redeployed in other areas of business, then a whole new world of opportunity opens up. The challenge then becomes less about re-training, and more about making that initial jump.