What’s all this then?


So what’s going on here?

Simple. I need a place to play with WordPress themes and experiment with responsive theme. You have discovered this playground. It’s open to the rest of the planet, but it probably won’t make a lot of sense. What you’re seeing is work in progress.

If you really want to discover what I am doing today, check out the Critical Distance weblog or my LinkedIn account. I also have a general switchboard over at Jonathan Marks.com. You can also fill in the form below which will send me an e-mail immediately.

Thanks for playing along and I hope to be in touch!

Six ways we help

Six ways we can help you

Hello.  Let me explain how we help.

I lead an international guild of creative, digital media specialists called Critical Distance.

We help build a media strategy for young disruptive teams that are making a big impact in a global society.


Because great ideas need to be heard, shaped, and then acted upon. And there is always a Plan B, C & D.

We’re proud of a 12 year heritage in consultancy. Even prouder of our switch last year to leadership of disruptive teams. Then we offer practical assistance in making dreams happen.

We’re also understand the need to be flexible. You can hire Jonathan individually or ask him to assemble an ace team of specialists to match your needs. We always deliver. Check out dozens of testimonials on LinkedIn.

We always match our team with yours.

1- Come to one of my “Bootcamp”  retreats.

This is my personal favourite format for working with teams, especially those in a corporate world whose daily routine is constantly interrupted. For between 2-5 days, up to 12 of us work together towards clearly defined goals. I often do these workshops together with colleagues in the guild who have complementary skills. That could be knowledge of the financial world (VC funding), design, or rapid technical prototyping. These hands-on sessions are famous for their take-away’s. We always build something that can be used to bring about new thinking within an organisation.  We usually do extensive intake interviews so that the time spent at the Bootcamp is as effective as possible. These bootcamps have an informal atmosphere, but the goal is serious, effective collaboration.09-DSC07979

2. We organise a Creative Bootcamp inside your company.

We can drive an innovation project inside your organisation, involving selected “intrapreneurs” inside your company or organisation. They are the agent for change, but are blocked for whatever reason.  Our “outside-looking-in”  approach helps break down internal barriers, because we’re not part of the traditional hierarchy. We bring in the latest, most relevant technologies. We’re offer independent advice that is not tied to any particular vendor. We have wide international experience so we offer examples which bring in less resistance. We start off leading the project, quickly identifying rising stars. At the end of the project they are able to carry the leadership forward, at which point I take a coaching role, if appropriate. Some people call them bootcamps, other call them Master Classes or innovation labs. (a secret – it’s all about disrupting change).

3 – Jonathan can coach your team’s innovation project

I have been a guest lecturer and in-house mentor at several media organisations, publishers, international business schools, broadcasters and universities. I know what it takes to manage and execute a project. If the team passes a simple intake challenge, then I will do everything to ensure they succeed. I show skills that help people become independent faster. Teams often simply need guidance rather than constant supervision.

4.-  Online One-Hour Intensive Consultancy Sessions.

Stuck with a particular dilemma? Trying to work out a new direction? Perhaps you need to rethink the role of your department and the best way of bringing about change? How can you break through the internal barriers? Have others already solved this challenge?  We both know that you can’t do this alone. The Critical Distance On-line Consultancy is the answer. Details of this service are on a separate page.

11-DSC001215 – I can inspire your group in a (formal) keynote, or informal workshop setting

I have always enjoyed public speaking. This comes from my heritage in broadcasting. Having produced over 1300 TV and radio programmes so far, I understand what makes a memorable story. But I also believe that the great programmes are made with the audience, not for them. I am actively involved in cross-media production.

I aim to give memorable practical keynotes. Which is why I value a pre-talk prep to understand your audience and what your audience is expecting to hear. I also enjoy the more informal setting of workshops or “bootcamps” where we take specific ideas and develop them in a fixed period of time. I am familiar with the challenges of being creative to a deadline.

6 – Looking for a specialist contributor for your Radio, TV or Online show?

Jonathan is also a regular independent commentator on disruptive technology and media strategy. He regularly contributes to programmes in mainstream media (BBC, Wired Magazine, TNW,) as well as specialist forums on consumer technology, digital strategy and resilient societies.  Let Jonathan know if you’re working to a deadline.

In the meantime, we’re currently working to re-launch a new series of the Media Network programme in the fourth quarter of 2015. So may be you can be a guest on our show? Watch this space for details.

So let’s collaborate. Get in touch. The first half-hour is free. Click any of the buttons under my bio on the right hand side of this page. Or try the simple web form below. It is connected to my email address (via a spam filter) so I see any reactions immediately. We know this system works.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Let’s collaborate

Online Consulting

An Hour with Jonathan Marks


Stuck with a particular dilemma? Trying to work out a new direction? Perhaps you need to rethink the role of your department and the best way of bringing about change? How can you break through the internal barriers? Have others already solved this challenge?  We both know that you can’t do this alone. The On-line Consultancy is the answer.

Why we launched the On-line Intensive Consultancy Sessions

Hiring a full or part-time consultancy bureau quickly gets into five figures per person. It’s slow, when answers are needed fast. Many organisations have drastically cut back their R&D budgets. That’s why Critical Distance takes a very different approach. We’re offering you access to world-class strategic thinking, analysis and brainpower in 60 minute segments.

It’s bite-size, focused assistance that is tailor-made to your needs. And it is always strictly confidential.

What’s the deal?

It’s easy to set up a session with Jonathan Marks. Use the request form below. We’ll get back to you fast to confirm the date, time and payment. Then we’ll send you a pre-conversation questionnaire that helps us prepare the session. At the appointed time, we’ll connect up on the phone or via Skype. We’ll discuss the strategic goals of the call, and then start to talk about the bigger picture. We’ll focus on practical tactics…what can be done to tackle the challenges. How have others in your sector solved the same problem? How can you get a team on your side when you’re changing direction?

What are the topics you advise on?

  • Digital Storytelling – How to build an open narrative to get support and realise the dream. Who can help get the word out? Practical, hands-on advance. 
  • Understanding how Audiences Change –  We’re actively monitoring how audiences everywhere are becoming more engaged. Second screen is becoming the first screen. There are huge opportunities for every company to build a collaborative community. We share examples.
  • Disruptive Digital Marketing. Every company is becoming a media company. But the impact of social media as well as disruptive innovation by small start-ups is often difficult to recognise or change.
  • Understanding where Social Media is going. And how can you integrate Social media into a clever media strategy. We also look at the 10 things never to do.
  • Smart Cities  & The Internet of Things. We’re evaluating how people will build conversations safely when more and more devices connect to the web. 
  • What Smart Media Needs to Do Next. Netflix is disrupting traditional media channels. Production Guilds are upsetting the corporate business models. But paths forward are emerging. 
  • Media in Fragile States. What have we learned from the ways in which media have influenced audiences for good and evil. For policy makers and media practitioners.

What will we discuss?

The conversation will be about the challenges, but also the opportunities. I’m often asked to critique current (mobile) websites to give advice on what needs to change to draw people in and increase conversion. I look for weaknesses in the story. I give feedback on what’s not clear. Some clients have shared a beta-version, prototypes, outlines and asked for honest feedback. We have also helped in scripting or re-writing elements of a website or TV documentary. We know what’s working and not working.

But it will also be honest and frank.

I have helped companies realise they are taking the wrong path, perhaps with the wrong team. If that becomes clear during the conversation, then I will share my thoughts about possible scenarios. Recently, this has helped several clients make more productive use of their time and save huge amounts of money heading in the wrong direction. I have also helped start-ups make the decision about when to launch a new idea, how to get traction, and when to exit. I use an adapted form of the Lean Startup Methodology and the Business Model Canvas to build a success of their business.

What to expect

One hour of focussed conversation. Plus follow-up links and suggestions after the call. We know that take-aways are important.

What you won’ t get

This is important, we know. You won’t get lectured to.  There’s no small talk about what’s happening in my life. I understand that your time is precious and that you’re paying me for focused consultancy. I understand what’s out there. But I am not selling any products or recommending specific services. I have always been independent. I give objective analysis on who is doing what, including my observed strengths and weaknesses.

Who am I to advise you?

I have a proven heritage working with leading brick and mortar communication and broadcast companies. These include, BBC, RTL, ARD Germany,  Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Singapore MDA, Al Jazeera, UN Media, iHub Kenya, VC4Africa, IBC.org, Liberty Global, Discovery Channel, NDTV India, and VRT Brussels. I am also delighted to have worked with startup accelerators such as Startupbootcamp, now one of the leading brands in Europe. For the last ten years I have focussed on emerging media platforms, writing articles, making video documentaries and organising conferences and workshops. That has always involved meeting people and discussing what’s happening next. I thrive on discussion and interactions.

I am proud to be working with colleagues in the Future Agency who combine a number of talents with world-class keynotes covering a wide area of topics. They represent me for keynote presentations.

Check out over 80 recent testimonials on Linked-In. Many of my clients request confidentiality. But I can supply recent case studies on request.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there going to be a match?

I speak the language of creative entrepreneurs. I understand how to develop the company so as to give you an unfair advantage against the competition. You should be running an operating business or in closed beta. Then I can help with dilemmas on how to move forward. I can also advise on building a media strategy so that others will know about your ideas and you can grow your audience or build a customer base. I’m searching for clear stories and directions. If you’re doing the same, then we have a match. If I don’t know a specific answer, I will say so. But I usually know someone who does.  That’s the power of developing an extensive media network.

What does Jonathan Marks need to know before the call?

Once your session is confirmed, I will send you a short open questionnaire. It won’t take long to fill-in – less than 4 minutes. It helps me prepare. Some people send me links to websites or campaigns they would like me to study. Others have sent me videos of keynotes they have given which they want me to dissect. All this material is kept is confidential, as is my advice to you.

What about face-to-face meetings?

This type of consultancy is only by phone or Skype. This has sometimes lead to face-to-face consultancy and projects at a later stage. I’m based in the Netherlands, but frequently travel to visit clients in other countries.


It hasn’t happened yet in several years of this type of consulting. But if you cancel within 48 hours before the session starts or don’t show up for the appointment, I’m afraid there are no refunds. This is a professional service. That comes with clear terms and conditions.

What happens after the session?

People normally ask me to record the conversation so they can listen back later. I send this via we-transfer as an mp3 file within 5 working days. I usually make a list of further reading, links and specific suggestions. This is usually sent within 7 working days.

Booking Fee and Contact Form

The fee for a Critical Distance on-line session with Jonathan Marks is 800 Euros, paid in advance. I always issue an invoice for all the work I do. Clients resident in the Netherlands are subject to VAT (BTW) at the current rate.

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Media Network Vintage Vault 2016



I do a lot of work with organisations trying to turn a passive archive of content into an active reference source. Rather than just talking about it, I am using various tools to conserve and digitize the Media Network archive of programmes. These were radio shows that I compiled, wrote and presented during my tenure as Programme Director with Radio Netherlands Worldwide (which was known as Radio Nederland Wereldomroep or just Radio Netherlands for most of my time there ). Thanks to those who helped make the Wikipedia entry.

stats chart

The results of this work are now in iTunes (search for Media Network Vintage), or you can go to the special website of Media Network Vintage Radio Podcasts to browse more than 480 individual editions. I have been delighted that several thousand people have expressed interest in this safari into media nostalgia. I am now doing follow-up interviews, to find out what has happened since some of those features were made. In the meantime, we have had over 501,000 downloads. It is currently running at around 70,000 downloads a month (August snapshot above was made August 10th). I think that says something about the quality of audience participation in the latter part of the last century. When you empower people, many become involved!


This site is a project started five years ago in early February 2010. It is simply a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. The difference is that these programmes are now available as high-quality MP3 files, many of them in stereo. My aim is to present these programmes simply for academic purposes only.

Background in Brief

Media Network  was launched on May 7th 1981 on Radio Netherlands English Service, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it.

We ran on the shortwave wireless until October 26th 2000 with more than 1000 editions. I was particular proud to work with media strategist Diana Janssen, who co-hosted the programme from 1995-2000.

hard to believe this is 15 years ago

Media Network continued after 2000 as a web page and then an active Weblog, run by Andy Sennitt. In April 2012, when Andy retired from Radio Netherlands, the Media Network weblog service was first mothballed and is now offline.  Radio Netherlands itself has ceased to be in its current form and is morphing into another organisation. Everyone is curious to see what they will become.

What did the show achieve on the radio?

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. Today, shows like This Week in Tech have pioneered new ways to build communities. While I hosted and produced the programme, it would have been impossible without a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. I kept copies of most of the programmes, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period.

Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have been slowly digitizing the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave.  I believe that a visual component is going to be far more important than it was, especially as the cost of HD cameras has plummeted. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email. Most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them.

On the Air

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time.  Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 15% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. Facebook is becoming increasingly important – especially because the player is embedded. The rest do so by directly downloading from the site.

Please tell friends about this site and encourage them to subscribe. There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault. This podcast publishing system archives editions on a monthly basis, showing only the latest editions on the home page.

Finding a show

If you want to see what has been put up since February 2010, click on the Media Network Archives orange button on the left and all the editions will be listed. Note that programmes are now archived under the months in which they were published. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for “Media Network Vintage” from within the iTunes store. As each “new” edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player or iPad.

As of August 2015, the most popular programmes have been those on

  • Wartime Deception,
  • Propaganda Past and Present,
  • Broadcasting in Indonesia,
  • Mysteries behind the number stations,
  • Radio London (offshore station)
  • and the RNI Libya programmes from a ship.

Marks in Sydney

Will this material ever be mainstream?

No, because it was never intended to be “mass media”.

I know some of the material there is niche stuff. But I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of the politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion. I release between 6 and 8 vintage Media Network’s a month, as time permits.

Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures!