On the up · 23 February 2016

“Try to avoid starting a business on your own,” urges Scenes of Reason founder

Scenes of Reason claims to decode politics in an "accessible, impartial and engaging" way
Scenes of Reason claims to decode politics in an “accessible, impartial and engaging” way

Now growing into a successful digital news platform with some impressive partners, entrepreneurship hasn’t always been smooth for Olivia Cappuccini. She started the business all by herself and has found decision making hard, but has big plans for Scenes of Reason.

The enterprise calls Bathtub 2 Boardroom home, spending its days building the foundations of the early-stage business with a network of mentors, professional advisors and other diverse startups.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

Hiya! My name is Olivia Cappuccini and I am the founder of Scenes of Reason. The business is a digital news platform that decodes politics, current affairs and news using quirky video and short form explainers.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Just under a year, we launched in March 2015 ahead of the general election with a series of videos aimed to combat first time voting apathy.

(3) How do you make money?

We make money by co-creating video content and distributing to other publishers who don’t have in house video teams or our mad creative skills. Once we have built a critical mass we will begin to natively advertise.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

We’re independent and we keep our personal opinions independent to our work. Our job is to educate through storytelling, provide two narratives not one, unashamedly answer basic questions, offer context, and pull that all together into highly energetic short media forms.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Supportive people to give you confidence. I never acquired a journalism degree, or something to say you officially have a qualification to make Scenes of Reason. I had enough people in the industry to confirm my belief that if you’re trying something new, completing a traditional journalism course will conform your creative ability. You’re always going to make mistakes, the sooner you get it out there, the sooner you make the mistakes and learn from them. No-one can prepare you for the startup world.

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Establishing key partnerships with some big players in the media space, and not just traditional media but organisations who agree with our ethos: that honest storytelling is the only way. We’ve already had the pleasure of collaborating with Huffington Postchange.org and openDemocracy. Working with those organisations validate what I set out to do and nothing can be more fulfilling than knowing your idea is worth something not just a fantasy.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

Not sure if setbacks is the right word, challenges that need overcoming is how I view it. Being a sole founder and starting a business on your own has made everything twice as hard, everything takes longer, every decision is harder to make, every morning you have to motivate yourself as well as the rest of the team. I can’t view anything that didn’t go my way as a mistake or a setback because eventually I realise it wouldn’t have been right in the first place and that means I can cross that strategy off the list.

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Able to reward my team appropriately – set up as the best video production agency as well as a news organisation making awesome videos with awesome companies, educating the most dense topics in interesting ways and then leading our audience into social action.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Try to avoid starting a business on your own – it is an emotional rollercoaster and not healthy. Don’t be afraid to work with others and avoid being stubborn in your decisions. Create something that people want and need not just what you think they need, we live in a selfish world, don’t try and change that, work with social norms to create small changes that can grow.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Joanna Natasegara, the founder of Violet Films, and Bryn Mooser, founder of RYOT. Both have founded media companies and successfully built businesses that use new media, namely video and film, to not only educate but offer a social action – proof that you can make money and do good.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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