Sam Michel<br /><br /><br /> (toodlepip)If you’re after more CV-related info about Sam Michel i.e. me, you can check out my LinkedIn profile, or the blurb on the about page. If you want the uber-quick version here’s a bullet list run-down:

Chinwag LogoChinwag JobsChinwag LiveDigital Mission

Hammersmith & Fulham Credit Union HFCU

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Most of my time is spent working on Chinwag, which started life in late 1995, or it could have been early 1996. My memory from those days is a little hazy.

Chinwag started out life as an email discussion list, called uk-netmarketing, or UKNM to its friends, about the emerging world of marketing using this new-fangled world wide web, called. It’s still one of the oldest and most respected forum for digital marketing folks and you can subscribe here, if you’re interested.

As UKNM grew, others were added covering other emerging areas such as web design, usability, marketing on mobile and Viralmonitor for companies who wanted to let their peers know about viral marketing.

In late 2005, working with Thayer Driver, we started to move the company to a more commercial footing, with the launch of Chinwag Jobs. The site has since become one of the largest specialist recruitment sites for the digital industry.

Since then, the company has also launched a series of ground-breaking Q&A events, Chinwag Live, which have proved enormously successful and produces a comprehensive events listing for digital events in the UK and beyond. You’ll also find the Chinwag newsletters and the Chinwag blog, which includes the odd rant and other tidbit of info from yours truly. The more frivalous stuff stays here.

In June 2008, UK Trade & Investment, the government agency that helps business export and bring investment into the UK, awarded a contract to Chinwag to run two trade missions for the digital sector.

Digital Mission stand at SXSW '09 (that's me in the bowler hat)These quickly became known as the Digital Missions, to the USA. The first successful Digital Mission to New York in Sept 2008, was followed by a second much-larger trip to the reknowned South by South West interactive conference taking place in Austin, Texas in March 2009. The Digital Mission to SXSW saw 35 digital companies and nearly 100 people take part in a series of events, workshops and a large tradeshow stand.

These Digital Missions trade missions to the USA have since been followed by two day-long conferences looking at the opportunities for digital business in India and China in Feb 2009.

Chinwag’s mission is best summed-up by the tagline we use on the website, “connecting new media people”. It’s all about bringing together like-minded individuals across the full range of the digital sector to help innovate, build relationships and help businesses.

London Plus Credit Union

Hammersmith & Fulham Credit Union - First Branch in FulhamNot officially work, or at least not something that pays the rent, is HFCU. I’ve been working with the Steering Group for a couple of years now and finally after loads of work from the team, the Credit Union was formally recognised by the FSA and opened its first branch in Fulham in 2008, with another branch planned in Shepherd’s Bush.

It’s very exciting stuff, particularly as this has been a real community approach of volunteers, local housing associations and support from individuals at the local council. Credit Unions are owned by the people that use them to save and borrow. Hopefully in time, HFCU will become large enough to offer mortgage-sized loans.

It’s a proper social enterprise in the most literal sense. The people who save and borrow have a say in how HFCU runs, all the books are transparent and the dividend (interest) is set by the board who are elected. And…all the money is protected by the FSA in the same way as a bank.

If you’ve no idea what I’m on about, you can find out more about credit unions on the ABCUL website, they’re the trade body for Credit Unions.