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Industry Moves: Daren Forsyth Leaves BBC-Land To Launch A Twitter-Esque Startup

By Jemima Kiss: BBC executive Daren Forsyth is leaving Media Trust after one year to explore the potential of a Twitter-inspired business for large organisations and brands. Forsyth was the executive behind the BBC’s major technology partnerships, setting up the memorandum of understanding with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), as well as deals with IBM and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) during his two years as senior business development manager. He left the BBC in December 2007 on secondment to Media Trust, where he has spent the past year as director of innovation and new media building deals and digital media strategy for the charity.

Forsyth set up similar partnerships at Media Trust including with Siemens, which donated servers to the charity and helped update the technical infrastructure of the organisation. That has paved the way for the creation of a ‘sandbox’ that broadcast partners can use to prototype live online content, but there will be more news on that soon, he says. The trust is recruiting for a digital director.

The new project, however, will see Forsyth return to the startup sector where he began, building up the digital TV and web agency Fernhart from 1996 until it sold in 2005. Forsyth is fired up by Twitter, particularly by the potential for that kind of communication to be used in large organisations in a structured but creative way, and in the dynamic that encourages strangers to communicate in a productive, discursive environment.

He’s organised three events, through Twitter, with US entrepreneurs and ‘Twitter thinkers’ in New York for business development research in late February and early March, plans to meet 20 chief executives – and the director of the CBI – by the end of the year.

He’s cagey about the specifics of the idea, but Forsyth said the startup will recruit around five staff when he puts the company together later this year. But isn’t a downturn a strange time to launch a startup?

“It has to be now. In 40 years there has never been so much change and so much dynamism across every sector. The one rule of enterprise is that if everyone else thinks you’re mad – it’s the right time.”

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..