Character Interview with Will Turner (‘The Frog Prince’)

SophieRanald1By Sophie Ranald

This interview first appeared in the tech e-zine App World. It’s reproduced here with their permission.

Igniting the Silicon Roundabout

In our regular “10 Questions” slot, we meet Will Turner, the 27-year-old founder and CEO of Ignite Digital and creator of the best-selling app Shutterly

You’ve got 30 seconds to tell us the story of your business. Start now.
Um… So I started the business with a friend, Louise. It’s a social media, photo-sharing app. But you know that. I’ve always loved coding, and this just seemed like the logical next step – a way to make a living doing something I love. We’ve grown hugely over the years, and now we’ve got a staff of… Oh. I’m out of time. Sorry.

How much are you worth?
Blimey. I don’t think I can say, really. Far more than I ever imagined. But it’s just money at the end of the day. You can’t buy happiness. I’ve bought a wicked new bike, though. I cycle to work most days from my flat by the river – yeah, I bought that too. I’ve done all right for myself.

Who’s your hero or heroine?
Bill Gates. No, wait, everyone says him. My mum. We didn’t have much when I was growing up, but she made sure me and my sister Cathy had a happy childhood, which is the most important thing. And she taught me to be ambitious, and dream big.

What inspires you?
I love what I do, so I’m inspired pretty much every day. But also my amazing colleagues, and Petronella, the inflatable dinosaur who lives in our boardroom. When I’m stuck with a tricky problem, I go and have a word with her, and generally I come up with a solution.

What motivates you?
Coffee, mostly.

What do you do to relax?
Play ping-pong with my colleagues (it’s fiercely competitive, as you know), go running when I have time… I guess I don’t get much chance to relax, to be honest.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t mind being shorter. Being six foot four is bloody awkward.

Who’s your best friend?
My mate Julian from university. He’s just moved back to London from Canada, and I’ve been hanging out a bit with him and his girlfriend, Stella. She’s a really good friend, too. She’s… anyway. Yeah. Julian. Probably.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
This is going to sound so cheesy. But I guess I’d like to meet someone, settle down, maybe have kids. Work’s great and I love it, but I’d like to feel I was giving something back, now just chasing after success. I’ve achieved that, and sometimes I think it’s not all that. Wait, that’s not what I was supposed to say, is it? Can I change it?

Tell us a secret about yourself.
My friend Stella – I mentioned her already – made me sign up to online dating, but, like, undercover. With none of the stuff about the business and the money and everything. So we’ll see how that works out… Wait. Shit. Don’t put that. You won’t put that, will you?

SophieRanaldWill Turner appears in Sophie Ranald’s latest novel, ‘The Frog Prince’.  Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. Since then, she has published three novels: ‘It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t it?)’, ‘A Groom with a View’ and ‘The Frog Prince’. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat. Look out for a new release from Sophie this summer.

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