Head of Product at CoolPlanet
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Professionally, I’ve been working in SaaS since 1996. I’ve created 3 SaaS products for the advertising market. I’m married with 2 kids and live in lovely Bray, Co. Wicklow.
I joined Irish Jobs straight out of college as their first employee. Together with the founder, we took that business from a tiny startup business to an international success story. My job involved doing everything, from manually creating web pages and lashing them up online with FTP, to account management and sales. It was in Irish Jobs that I first became involved in product management and I stayed there until 1999 when the company was sold.
In 1999 I started my own online stock photography business with two friends. We raised £250,000 and from there we built some software. The dot bomb crash in the early 2000s wiped out the business.
Around that time, I was out looking for investment and then got offered a job with Ericsson who were setting up a business consultancy practice in Dublin, it intrigued me and I accepted the job. About 1 month in, at a client conference I met an Ericsson guy who was working with a consortium helping with the licensing of a second fixed line phone operator in South Africa and that they needed help with developing their business plan. He asked me to “pop down” for a couple of weeks, so I packed the minimum luggage and went. I ended up there for two years. After that I came back to start up my own offline advertising business and that business is still trading successfully today. Online still fascinated me, so, together with some partners, I started a social media agency in 2010.
Where did you work prior to joining CoolPlanet?
I was co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Adtech company Optily. I led that business diversification into digital advertising. From there we started representing social advertising companies and gradually we moved into social and became a Facebook partner and built our own tech and subsequent integrations with Google, Twitter and Snap.
What does your job entail?
I work with internal stakeholders and customers to understand the needs of the market and then I use the insights I gather to define the product vision, product strategy and product roadmap for CoolPlanetOS. I then use this information to provide direction to the design and product development teams. In a nutshell, my role is really about focusing our product efforts in the areas that will meet customer demand and needs.
What does a typical day to day look like for you?
One of the great things about my job is that I don’t have a typical day, but in general, I start my day checking in with the development team on our morning stand up. Generally, I spend a large portion of my day in meetings, asking lots of questions and listening closely to the answers.
What do you enjoy most about working for CoolPlanet?
I love the mission and company values; the whole company is aligned around a purpose to decarbonise the planet. I really enjoy learning from my colleagues.
What are your favourite software tools?
I love Loom - it’s a great way to explain an issue visually to a client or colleague.
Intercom is an excellent way to service clients in an efficient and smart way.
And Google Pay - it just works.
What keeps you motivated?
Curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. I love to learn and I love to solve problems in innovative ways. Ultimately, I think one of the most rewarding experiences in any product owner or product managers life is when somebody who's a client joins a new company and one of the first things that they want is to use your software. I've had that experience a couple of different times. For someone to need that software to do their job is a very rewarding feeling and that keeps me motivated.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to have my own business in some shape or form. On both sides of my family there were entrepreneurs, so I was inspired by them from a young age.
What is your life mantra?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka. I have this on my wall at home.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to see more of the world and to do an MBA.
What are three interesting things about you?
- I lived and worked in sub-saharan Africa for 2 years and had some amazing and enriching adventures across the continent.
- I won a Facebook global innovation award for a product I developed for high street retailers.
- I’ve reluctantly accepted that I am terrible at DIY and it’s cheaper and safer to pay someone to do it for you.