Joe Manariti: Founder of SWiM Communications

After early days studying to be a psychologist Joe fell into advertising and publishing, spent 6 terrific years at Fairfax between The Age and BRW. This eventually, after a couple of detours, led him to found SWiM, a Melbourne Web Design and Marketing Agency.

Hire terrific staff, work with the right clients. And keep them both!”

Away from work Joe’s passionate about local and overseas travel, wine, good food anywhere, old sports cars, AFL (ok, Collingwood) and more travel!

Tell us a bit more about SWiM

SWiM started as a print marketing agency 17 years ago. My clients very wisely took us into web. Today I find myself running a digital agency with an awesome team (Have I told you guys lately that I can’t do it without you? Thanks!) who have a diverse skill set. Websites are our core offering. But my clients once again taught me that’s not enough in this digital era.

I’m passionate about advancing the Web Industry through AWIA and was recently elected to the Board at auDA.

I also serve on the board of a charity which seeks to keep youth in education and employment, YouthNow.

What are you working on right now? 

Exciting projects!

A multi-vendor eCommerce store (virtual mall) letting people buy fresh produce from their favorite market, check it out: Local Markets Online

And an eCommerce store with full functionality that can be embedded into a FaceBook business page, linked with a conventional and mobile eCommerce store and managed through one admin portal. Cool!

Also working hard to grow the profile of AWIA.

How do you make ideas happen?

Avoid micromanagement – it limits productivity. ”

I get heavily involved in the decision making & planning early and then trust my team to implement. Avoid micromanagement – it limits productivity. This way, you can be responsible for more than one idea at a time and build momentum by including the ideas of others. 

What does your typical day look like?

People are more energised in the AM.”

Starts with catching up online from bed at 6:30 AM.

Breakfast, dog walk and into the office.

 I try to make mornings about meetings & sales. People are more energised in the AM. Afternoons are for “WORK” at my ever present laptop (a tablet just isn’t the same). I try really hard to avoid taking work home. Balance is important. The day finishes much as it begins, walking Beau and into a good book, usually historical fiction.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business in Australia?

Systems & procedures are boring, but they make businesses scalable and help them grow. There’s a temptation to say “I haven’t got the time to create them!”, but once you invest the time, they sure return on the investment.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Hire terrific staff, work with the right clients. And keep them both!

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

Troy Dean is doing great stuff with WordPress training videos & plus ins. Have a look at him in action:

What about internationally?

Do you know what a lightfield camera is?  Find an excuse to embed some images in your website!

What role do you think business should play in affecting social change?

Business needs to remember it serves the population, not the other way around.”

People plot the course of society, business helps us get to the destination. Business needs to remember it serves the population, not the other way around. 

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

Is there a trend here? Keep learning!

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter? 

Surely people don’t need my help finding Twitter celebs?

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Always looking for great people to work with. Potential clients, interns, staff and partners – Hit Me Up! 

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

How can we work together? That’s how we all grow.”

Hmmh. With readers like that, where are we going for dinner?

Seriously – if you see a way to engage with me productively, you have ideas for my business to work with or ways to get involved with the Australian Web Industry Association, why don’t you get in touch? How can we work together? That’s how we all grow.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Believe me, I could go on, with a glass of Barolo please!

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?


A 90 minute lunch/mentoring session with me.

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