My Media Week: Paul Mikhailoff, Forbes

From closing several big deals to discussing Transformers at 3am: a week in the life of Paul Mikhailoff, director EMEA at Forbes.

Monday

6am and my mobile phone is telling me it’s time to get up and get stuck into a new week. This one is particularly busy as Randall Lane, Forbes’ editor, is in London today for 24 hours to discuss Forbes’ second 30Under30 Summit EMEA in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in early April, and Lewis D’Vorkin, Forbes’ chief product officer, is making his bi-annual visit to our shores to do some trade press interviews and see some clients.

Lewis has been busily working on some pretty cool stuff, most significantly, a new mobile experience and launching a progressive web app. We’re keen to tell people about all of this so after a quick breakfast with my wife, Kelly and our kids Chloe and Max, I head off to the office and get in at around 8.45 a.m. Soon I am sat down with the team to review business; we have a lot to achieve this week and we are all primed.

Along with my right hand man and sales director, Mike Duffy, we leave the office to meet with Randall at Mindshare’s offices to kick-off an afternoon of meetings. Considering a grueling week of travel, Randall is amazingly fresh and on fine form.

The meetings go well and we’re all delighted to see that the 30Under30 franchise is really starting to resonate here in Europe after the inaugural event in Tel Aviv earlier this year. 2017 promises to be bigger and better.

I treat Randall to a quick pint of real British beer then head home to try to catch the kids before they fall asleep.

Tuesday

Randall is with us until lunchtime, so I meet him for breakfast before heading off to look at a venue for the launch party on January 16 for the second annual 30Under30 Europe list, featuring some of the most influential young entrepreneurs across the continent. It’s hard to find a venue that can cater for 400 people – particularly when the guests are many of our incredible millennials making the 30Under30 list, but we think we’ve found the perfect one.

From the venue I join the newest member of the Forbes London team, Steve Canfield, to go and meet with ZenithOptimedia before heading back to the office to get prepped for a panel later this week and to catch up with Laura Luelles, Forbes London’s marketing and account strategist.

Laura and I run through some new marketing materials she is working on for 30Under30 and also refreshing existing sales material to reflect the ever evolving products we offer, such as our latest offering in our thought leadership marketing platform – BrandVoice Premium.

After this I head to meet Lewis at the Charlotte Street Hotel where he has a number of trade press interviews discussing some of the new developments: with so much of Forbes’ traffic now coming from mobile, circa 50% (and 58% of that from the millennial set), Lewis’ focus is on training journalists in our newsroom to think mobile-first.

Afterwards, we head to Forbes’ contributor drinks reception where UK-based Forbes.com contributors can meet with and hear from Lewis. We try to hold these events two to three times a year and it is always fascinating to meet and talk to our contributors.

Everyone is keen to hear about Forbes’ new mobile experience, but there is also a lot of discussion around podcasting, which Forbes introduced in April in partnership with PodcastOne to pursue its ambition of launching up to 10 Forbes-branded audio strands by the end of 2017 and further diversify the company’s revenue streams.

Wednesday

At 3 a.m. my son decides it’s a good time to have a chat about Transformers. Once we have thrashed out the reasons why Autobots and Decepticons don’t get along, I manage to grab a few more hours of sleep.

I get to the office just before 9 a.m. to have a call with World Media Group of which Forbes is a proud member. We catch up on the WMG 2017 Content Awards, which are shaping up fantastically and also discuss a WMG panel I am sitting on later that week about content and storytelling.

Mike, Lewis and I then meet up for a marathon of sales meetings, including a client lunch in the City at Duck and Waffle. Lewis summed up their signature dish of egg, duck, waffle and syrup perfectly, "It’s a dish I would expect a child to put together."

After lunch, we head to City Airport to catch a flight to Zurich which is pretty spectacular at this time of year. On arrival, we have a number of calls to make with NYC. We rejoin later for a light meal and a well-deserved bottle of wine. I get back to my room, fire off some emails and get to sleep.

Thursday

We have a busy day ahead of us with five client meetings scheduled all over Zurich: three of the meetings are with existing partners and the other two we are meeting for the first time. The meetings all go incredibly well, our clients are engaged with Lewis’ updates on mobile and co-storytelling and we have plenty of follow up to action.

As soon as the last meeting is over, we just catch our flight back to London in the evening.

Friday

In the office at 8a.m. to catch up on developments over the last couple of days: I’m delighted to hear that we have closed a few big deals this week.

Feeling good, I head to the WMG event, which doesn’t disappoint. It’s a great panel – all about how we approach storytelling and the processes to help our partners achieve the best results – and the subject is a perfect fit for Forbes to talk about the BrandVoice platform which now has over 130 partners since its launch in 2010. Afterwards, I meet Lewis and head to our final client meeting before he returns to New York (via Fortnum and Masons for some quintessentially British Thanksgiving treats for his family).

Back at the office, I catch up with Tibor Fuchsel, EMEA's Forbes Insights Manager, to discuss a project we are working on using a benchmarking tool pegged to bespoke research results, which can live across multiple channels, with an API to grow the respondent base and results real time. Finally, 5pm comes around and it is time to down tools and head to The Ship on New Cavendish St to have a few drinks with the team after a successful week.

Lowdown

Name: Paul Mikhailoff
Position: Director EMEA at Forbes
Age: 39
Favourite media: Amazon prime / Spotify
My biggest inspiration: My old man
Dream job: Record Producer
Not a lot of people know this about me... I love guitars, I have eight

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