An interview with Anthony Ogunbowale - Thomas

This is an interview series in the lead up to our upcoming class “How To Use Thought Leadership For Growth" at Huckletree on 2 October 2018.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m the founder of Utopians. We use technology to help entrepreneurs, academics and creators grow their influence and connect with brands/event organisers who are looking for speakers. I advise startups in the cyber security & AR/VR market on sales and growth, and consult on crowdfunding.

How do you position yourself as an influencer in your industry?

My past career experiences help with positioning me as an influencer, but I’m constantly connecting with new people and creating work. Work creates credibility, and sharing my knowledge helps circulate this. Sharing is a big piece. In my earlier days I was afraid to share my ideas in case someone stole them, that was the wrong way to think. Ideas are like seeds, the more you sow the more you reap.

I stay connected with people and communities who constantly create and challenge conventional thinking, whether that be via personal relationships, books, online content or social media. I also speak at events, mentor and connect people with opportunities, this helps too.

How did you decide what you wanted to be known for as a leader?

I didn’t decide on what I wanted to be known for as a leader per se. I know the impact I want to have and the change I want to see and the rest follows. I’ve still got a long way to go though. Often, you find people become leaders in areas that mirror their values and it’s no different for me.

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What is the most important attribute of an influencer and thought leader?

Authenticity. Today, it’s so easy to craft the image people want to see, often out of good intentions because you want people to see you as a thought leader, but it doesn’t pay off. The most important attribute of a thought leader, in my opinion, is someone who walks their talk. They know their topic well because they constantly absorb everything to do with it. It’s this authenticity, passion and knowledge that causes others to trust you and have confidence that you can help them.

What do you do to sharpen your ideas to remain an authority in your space?

Firstly I keep active. I actively work, advise and collaborate in the areas I talk about. This means I’m constantly learning - it keeps my ideas and perspective future proof. Working at the intersection of technology, marketing and sales with founders and companies gives me the opportunity to learn about different industries and trends which is super valuable in my line of work.

You walk into a room, on a chair is your 18 year old self. You remember his passions, goals and fears. What advice would you give him?

I would tell him to soak up every opportunity, to learn from others that comes his way. The more you learn, the further you can run. Learning from others is an underestimated necessary step in walking in your own path. There’s a famous quote by Isaac Newton that says “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants“.

I would also tell him not to be afraid to fail. Failure can cripple you if you let your identity be defined by it. Don’t allow it to. Embrace it, learn from it - it’s not your identity.

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Anthony Ogunbowale-Thomas is the Founder of Utopians, a tech startup making it easy for entrepreneurs, academics and creators to get grow their influence and get booked for speaking engagements. Previously founding a crowdsourcing platform for purposeful ideas, Anthony has written for the Wall Street Journal and advises on companies ranging from Ben & Jerry's to various startups. Find out more about Utopians


This is an interview series in the lead up to our upcoming class “How To Use Thought Leadership For Growth" at Huckletree on 2 October 2018.