From one girl boss to another: Emma Gannon of Ctrl Alt Delete

From one girl boss to another, meet blogger, podcast host and best-selling author Emma Gannon. I first met Emma at the female founders dinner with The Lifestyle Edit last month and have already made my way through the majority of her Ctrl Alt Delete podcast back catalogue; if you haven’t already tuned in, I seriously recommend you give it a listen. Emma talks candidly to her inspirational guests (including Lena Denham, Gillian Anderson, Lily Cole and Melissa Hemsley) about their relationship with the internet and general life stories.

Since our dinner, I recently caught up with Emma to find out what inspires her, finding a happy work/life balance and her ultimate dinner party guest line-up. All that’s left to ask is, can I come too?!

photo credit: Matilda Hill-Jenkins

What was your initial inspiration to start blogging and your podcast, Ctrl Alt Delete?
I started my blog when I was still at University and inspired by the rise of the photography fashion blogs (people like Tavi Gevinson, Man Repeller, Susie Bubble, The Sartorialist) who were making waves in the mainstream fashion world from their modest websites. I wasn’t really that into fashion but I thought: why don’t I start a writing blog and see where it takes me? I wanted to publish all the articles that were sat in files on my laptop and try and use it as a way into the magazine industry, and it absolutely worked.

The inspiration behind my podcast was Liz Gilbert’s podcast show Big Magic. She published a book (also called Big Magic) and found she had way more to say on the subject, so instead of writing a follow up book, she started a podcast and invited people on to discuss the book’s themes. It opened up the conversation in new ways and that’s what I wanted to do with Ctrl Alt Delete. I discuss themes like cyber-bulling, feminism, identity, friendship in my book and I wanted to interview other people and share their opinions.

What are the core values of Ctrl Alt Delete?
The core values are honesty, creativity and open-mindedness. I wanted to create a platform where I could hosted real unfiltered conversations with people that weren’t limited to 140 characters or by a big corporation.

Your website and podcast are well known for featuring some seriously influential women – where do YOU find inspiration from for new features and projects?
I find inspiration from how quickly the world is moving and changing. I find it quite impossible to get bored or sit still because if you look around the way we live our lives now is quite bonkers and always evolving. Technology has opened so many doors, but we also need to look after ourselves and our minds. That’s why the podcast has so many episodes, because there’s so much to talk about!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting Ctrl Alt Delete?
I haven’t really faced many challenges as I run it pretty much by myself so I make all the final decisions, on interviewees, the promotion, the brand deals etc. The only challenge is making sure I continue to monetising it in a way that feels really natural. A lot of people still think of writing/blogging/podcasting as something that is just ‘for fun’. When actually, it’s worth something and it’s OK to make money from it.

What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Three things spring to mind. 1) Seeing the things I work hard on come to life. 2) Working alongside really talented people to make a project happen. 3) Receiving emails from other entrepreneurs or people wanting to start their own thing saying they’ve been inspired by something I’ve produced.

From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business?
To anyone starting out, I’d say that no one is going to care more about your business than you do. I guess it’s an old-fashioned saying but: “if you want something done, do it yourself”.

What is your favourite part of working for yourself?
Definitely running my own schedule. Sometimes I can go travelling and take my laptop and get my work done somewhere totally different. I don’t have to book time off with a boss and Monday morning’s I can take as slow as I want.

As you travel around to meet and interview people, how do you find the balance between work and home life?
I make sure I schedule in days where I’m just at home at my desk, hitting it hard, whether that’s writing or catching up on emails/calls. But I feel like it’s possible to be more “on the move” these days without needing to be tied down to a specific location to get stuff done. I have days where I am out and about interviewing people but I’ll get loads of work done on my phone in between.

What are your future goals for Ctrl Alt Delete?
More live events, more amazing guests, more big partnerships with brands I love.

What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
I love a having a long bath with lots of bubbles, face-masks, scrubs, candles, all the good stuff and listening to Desert Island Discs.

Talk us through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What is your favourite meal?
For breakfast I have a bagel normally, with honey or peanut butter. My favourite meal is probably brunch because I think of it as such a leisurely weekend thing. It normally means I’ve had a lie in and then met up with a friend.

Where are your favourite places to eat out?
I love authentic small Italian restaurants that do delicious simple food and good wine – Il Bacio in Stoke Newington or Ciao Bella in Soho are two faves. Last time in Ciao Bella there was a guy playing the La La soundtrack on the piano and the whole restaurant was drunkenly singing along.

If we came over for dinner, what sort of food would you serve?
If it’s Summer probably something with fish. If it’s Winter, something stodgy like a pie.

Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without cheese. I love all cheese.

If you had to pick 6 guests to have round for a dinner party, who would they be?
Ooh I love this question. Probably Obama, Emma Stone, Joe Lycett, Shona Rhimes and Adele.


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