Who is Ian Hopkinson?

Ian is the original “mad scientist” – a digital creative who is passionate about the online market place and its potential to enable smaller businesses to compete on a global stage.



Ian: I’m Ian Hopkinson, this is Andrew Radics.

Andrew: Ian Hopkinson… Oh this video is about you!

Ian: Why?

Andrew: It has to be about you doesn’t it? It’s always about you…

Ian: Why is this video about me today?

Andrew: You tell me.

Ian: Okay, well I do get through quite a lot of conversations with clients, partners and they say ‘how do you know all this stuff, where does all of this come from?!’ So because people don’t like to read, it’s probably better just to have a video up on our bio page instead of two pages of biography. …Are we that old?

Andrew: Yeah well… So does that mean that I’m interviewing you now?

Ian: Of course, I guess so yeah.

Andrew: I better get into position.

Ian: You should.

Andrew: Now, Mr. Hopkinson tell us a bit about your background within the digital industry please?

Ian: The digital industry… Is that what I do? Are you mirroring what I do?

Andrew: Yeah absolutely.

Ian: Well I have been in digital since about 2009 officially. I was previously in the music industry which was where I learnt all of this stuff but we know how the music industry business model changed, it sort of all became about digital.

Andrew: That used to happen yeah.

Ian: So I moved to the States in 2003 I guess that was when I was getting settled there and that was around about the time that Napster dropped and then the iTunes thing happened so everybody was running around thinking so what happens now with digitised music?

Andrew: So is that why you got out of it?

Ian: It was a convergence of a whole lot of things including relationships, children and I think I had enough with the music industry, it sort of got to the point where I thought I’m putting a lot in and not getting a lot out.

Andrew: It’s a huge step from the music industry into digital. Why digital? What was the interest?

Ian: It was a bit of an obvious one because I’ve always been into computers in some shape or form, I actually did a course at uni in 1995 called Comp 101 and we did code language.

Andrew: Is that where you got this from? It’s the Internet Bible of 1995.

Ian: This was way before this book was thought of! Oh my goodness me, we should post that up online because that’s really funny to read. It was around about that time that I got my first Mac, it was an LC 630 ‘95. I think it was about $5000, that was a lot of money in those days and shortly after that I had an email address. But all that was very exciting to me, it always was and that combined with the entrepreneurial type spirit that I always had that I took with me into the music industry, it just became a really obvious choice to embrace that other side of my passion and move into digital.

Andrew: People often ask where did the name Mad Scientist Digital come from?

Ian: It was with a couple of buddies in LA that I worked on some start-ups with. Pretty much the way it grew was that we’d be having a meeting at 4 in the afternoon and we’d have all these problems that we needed to solve and in my enigmatic way I guess like a mad scientist, I wouldn’t sleep all that well and I’d come in the next morning at 9am with all of the solutions, and the guys used to say ‘you’ve been like a mad scientist, you’ve got all this worked out!’ You know I’d be doing this whole whiteboard session with arrows here and there and that’s how it came about. I guess it wasn’t until the first incarnation of this business happened to me that somebody said ‘can I have your business card?’ and I said, ‘I don’t have one.’ And then I thought, I don’t even have a business name and the next day they were wanting me to consult with them and I thought what am I going to call the business, Mad Scientist was just an obvious choice.

Andrew: Not a lot has changed, you’re still running around like an absolute lunatic. This morning he actually beat me into the office, I’m usually the first one here, this morning he was here and I don’t even want to know what time you got here this morning.

Ian: Well I did have one of those nights where there were lots of things bubbling away, I thought I need to get this solved, I need to start the week positively and get my head into gear. I thought I could lie in bed thinking about it or I could go into the office and get all of this in motion. I haven’t done as much of that in recent times because the business has grown to the point where we’ve got other people we work with and other responsibilities and schedules and things like that, we can’t be as fluid. I just said fluid – Mad Scientist…

Andrew: Move along, move along.

Ian: Yeah so that’s the thing really, I think that’s part of growing with a bigger business that you can’t come in with 2 hours sleep, you can’t do that.

Andrew: No.

Ian: You can’t be the classic Mad Scientist every day, that’s just not sustainable.

Andrew: Well, alcohol helps.

Ian: It does, although we’re drinking water.

Andrew: This is water.

Ian: Yes, anyway there you go.

Andrew: That’s a bit of an insight I guess.

Ian: A very strange, boring video for everyone, we’re normally laughing and joking about things but here we are talking about little old me. Thanks Andrew.

Andrew: That’s alright, you’re welcome.

Ian: Thanks for that.

Andrew: It’s nice to be the interviewer for a change.

Ian: Embarrassment over, I’ve got to get you back shortly.

Andrew: I’m sure.

Ian: Thanks all, questions, queries, worries; direct them to Andrew!

Andrew: Complaints to Ian.

Ian: Yeah, call my home number. My home number is…

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