Tom Manners

Managing Director, Clockwork Media

While Tom Manners is modest enough to not feel that he has “accomplished an awful lot”, most 26-year-olds don’t have their own communications business, a family and a successful rock band to their credit.

And it all happened, Manners says, because of one random decision.

Manners left university with a BA in English studies and got what he calls “a boring job”.

His business partner, Nic Simmonds, had started working for local news site MyBroadband as a gaming journalist around the same time.

Manners confesses he knew nothing about tech, but was sufficiently bored that when Simmonds mentioned a writing gig at MyBroadband, he jumped at the chance to interview.

He still doesn’t know how he got the job, he says, but that started his tech journalist career, which ultimately led to him going freelance and opening Clockwork Media about three years ago.

Clockwork Media is an integrated communications agency with a number of technology clients. It has 11 employees and has just expanded to London. Manners says he never wants to just sit and stop, he’s always got to be on the go, reaching for the next thing.

He hopes to make Clockwork Media the biggest agency in South Africa with a global network in the major centres – London, Singapore and New York.

Communications moguls don’t have time to be rock stars too, unfortunately, so Manner’s band, Dance You’re on Fire, broke up earlier this year.

In seven years the band produced two albums, seven number one singles, won the MK Award for Best Indie Band in 2012, and reached the top 10 in Germany with hit single Boxes of Tigers, which was the primary song on the Spud 2: The Madness Continues soundtrack. Not bad going, really. — Samantha Perry