To communicate well, and bring perspective to ideas.
I am a writer and strategist who likes to help people tell their stories. I’ve written for places like ReadWriteWeb and ZDNet, and I spent a few years as the community person at Talis for the emerging technology community of the Semantic Web.
My job titles have worked their way through guest author to evangelist and community manager, and – most fun so far – editor. From podcasting and writing, to creating community engagement plans for an incubated startup, I’ve tended to work around content and people, but try to keep my eye on big ideas.
- Head of Content and Communities at Zengenti
- Content chap at Fluent Cambridge
- Community Manager at ScraperWiki and Kasabi
- Evangelist for the Semantic Web at Talis
Specialties: evangelism, editing, writing, content strategy, community management, story-telling, teaching writing, blogging, social media, market research, engagement, market research
Head of Content and Communities at Zengenti
September 2014 – Now, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Zengenti is a web software house that happens to have two digital agencies in its wings. It’s flagship – Contensis – is an enterprise-level content management system (CMS). It’s used by many leading organisations, and is popular with UK-based universities and local authorities. My job description is quite broad – I work with most teams within the company to build our message and keep our prose well-crafted. I also work with clients on content strategy through workshops and consultation.
Content Strategist for Fluent
June 2013 – September 2014 (1 year, 4 months) Cambridge, United Kingdom
I was Fluent’s in-house content strategist. Fluent designs and builds websites for SMEs and institutions such as the University of Cambridge. My job is to craft the message of websites – working closely with clients to understand their perspective, and make sure they have a clear and consistent voice. The work includes all aspects of content strategy from microcopy (details matter) to taxonomies and writing.
Fluent’s design director – Andrew – said:
Zach and I worked together at Fluent on web projects for about a year. He’s friendly, willing to get stuck in and thoughtful in the way he approaches everything he does. A great addition to any team – and he’ll make you a spoon with an axe!
Community Manager for ScraperWiki
February 2013 – June 2013 (5 months) Liverpool, United Kingdom
Scraperwiki hired me to manage their community of journalists and developers. In my time there, I launched newsletters, spoke at events and bullied our developers into getting analytics coming in from our various tools. A lot of the work was in creating ways Scraperwiki could hear from their users and connect them through rapidly evolving plans from the company itself.
Francis, Scraperwiki’s CEO kindly said:
“Zach is a skilled communicator who has a deep understanding of data and how it is used in the world. He can handle all aspects of managing a community in the Internet Age – from social media and newsletters through to supporting customers individually. He’s particularly interested in learning general conclusions from behaviour of the community, and making sure this feedback improves the product. And in coffee!”
Digital Community Manager for Emerald Group Publishing
June 2012 – February 2013 (9 months) Yorkshire, United Kingdom
I helped Emerald prepare for its first digital community offerings, looked after interns, and built up a working group within the company to support their online efforts. This involved pitching the very idea of a digital community to sceptical directors, and liaising with academics to support Emerald’s first community project, which has since been launched at networkedscholar.com. It worked like a kind of internal consultant on many projects across divisions as part of the Digital team.
Community Manager for Kasabi
January 2011 – June 2011 (6 months) Birmingham, United Kingdom
Kasabi was a data marketplace startup project at Talis, and I had the privilege of helping to plan and launch the beta as their community manager. The role was a mixture of strategy and groundwork, which included organising (and speaking at) events, writing marketing materials, conducting surveys, and setting up analytics.
Leigh Dodds, CTO of Kasabi said:
“Zach is really passionate about connecting with the community, he successfully built up a network of connections first as the editor of Nodalities magazine and later as community manager for Kasabi. He is enthusiastic and keen to learn new skills.”
Editor of Nodalities Magazine and Platform Evangelist at Talis
April 2008 – December 2010 (2 years, 10 months) Birmingham, United Kingdom
Talis built a software platform for semantic web technologies. My job was to tell Talis’ story and that of the Semantic Web to interested people — and to help people who might become interested to pay attention.
As editor of the Magazine of the Semantic Web, Nodalities, I helped people to tell their own stories to promote the industry, and put the content together. Sometimes, the stories were best told in person, so I recorded and edited podcasts alongside the magazine. I also spoke at industry events, met hundreds of interesting people, and did some writing for ReadWriteWeb and other web publications.
Talis’ CTO, Ian Davis wrote:
“I worked closely with Zach throughout his career at Talis. He has a valuable talent to turn abstract ideas and processes into understandable information. He possesses a curious mind and a fascinating combination of cultural insight and an interest in new technologies. Zach is always willing to share his knowledge and his energy and positive attitude makes it great to work with him for partners and colleagues alike. I would thoroughly recommend Zach and would be more than pleased to work with him again in the future.”
King’s College London Sep 2003 – Jul 2006
Covering a wide range of perspectives on human communication, the degree focused on applied linguistics. We covered psycho- socio- and un-prefixed linguistics, and spent time on language development, acquisition, and cognitive communication. My dissertation was on semantics, with a particular interest in metaphor and propositional communication.
Alongside writing for various company blogs, Nodalties magazine, and creating marketing material, I have also written for online publications including these:
- ReadWriteWeb: “Journalism Needs Data”
- FUMSI: An introduction to Linked and Open Data for Information Professionals
- ReadWriteWeb: “Seedcamp—Web-era Support for Startups”
A quick tag-cloud of my blog would probably show that my interests centre around forestry and woodworking, coffee, and language. I like sharing ideas, and getting others to do so too, so a friend and I started the Shropgeek gathering, which has become an annual conference.
Apart from the interests I often write about, I’m also captivated with the countryside, and love little more than taking my dog for a long walk with an audiobook. I carve spoons out of green wood, and attempt to make furniture that doesn’t fall apart. I also enjoy photography, and have an active photostream on flickr.com/beauvais. I’ve played the drums since I was 5. So: rhythm, language, woods and writing — so long as there’s coffee.