Expert Market’s Titus Sharpe Meets Justine Roberts of Mumsnet
Expert Market’s CEO Titus Sharpe is one of the UK’s most successful serial entrepreneurs; having launched several brands with five friends from a basement in London, to growing international offices (including our own office here in Austin). Titus wanted to find out how his own experiences compared to entrepreneurs leading businesses in very different industries and what he could learn from them to drive further success.
Inspired by this entrepreneurial curiosity, we have created a brand new series giving Titus the opportunity to ask his burning questions and share valuable insights to future leaders.
In this first episode of CEO to CEO, Titus meets with Justine Roberts, CEO of Mumsnet, the UK’s leading parenting network, to discuss highs, turning points and the legacy she hopes to leave.
See the Trailer Below or Watch the Full Interview
Mumsnet is the UK’s leading parenting website which hosts popular forum discussions, webchats and information about all things parenting. Inspired by a difficult first vacation with her then one year old twins, Justine Roberts launched Mumsnet in 2000 after realizing there was nowhere for parents to ask for help or share advice for pressing issues related to their children. Mumsnet has since grown to be the most trusted parent-to-parent online forum, attracting over 9 million unique visitors every month.
We have selected some of Justine’s top takeaways. For more of Justine’s wisdom and advice you can watch the full interview here.
Good Times and Bad
As with any successful business, Mumsnet has endured its fair share of highs and lows. Justine recalls Mumsnet’s pivotal moment when she no longer needed to participate in discussions because members started contributing to discussions and answering questions amongst themselves.
Justine says her biggest challenge came in 2015 when Mumsnet was hacked and members’ personal details were leaked by a British schoolboy. The ordeal culminated in ‘pranksters’ calling in a fake tip to the police, leading to Justine’s home being raided by a S.W.A.T team. Justine remains positive about the hacking scandal, highlighting that Mumsnet’s cyber-security is now even more robust than ever before
Mumsnet has played host to many famous faces over the years including several British MPs and Prime Ministers. The 2009 UK general election is often referred to as the ‘Mumsnet Election’ because the website became one the most influential platforms throughout this time. Both leading parties participated in heated webchats with Mumsnet members who probed the party leaders on their policies towards protecting families.
Justine fondly recalls Hillary Clinton and David Beckham as some of the warmest, high profile individuals to have live streamed on Mumsnet over recent years.
Advice for Hopeful Entrepreneurs
So what is the one bit of advice Justine would give to budding entrepreneurs? Speaking from her own experience and challenges as a female founder, Justine tells women to never accept being overlooked by investors simply because they do not fit the ‘typical’ profile of a CEO. “There’s no one better than you to run your business”, advises Justine, after initial prospective investors told her they would agree to fund her business on the condition that someone else would lead it.
When asked what she would like to be remembered for, Justine modestly claimed that the legacy of Mumsnet is not about her as an individual, but the supportive community of women built through the brand.
If these takeaways have piqued your interest, be sure to check out the full interview here for more advice, stories, and wisdom from Justine. You can jump to any question using the dots in the play bar or the chapter menu.