Name: Robin Tombs
Job Title: CEO
Location: London, UK
What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Two bits. Firstly, listen carefully to consumers, suppliers and colleagues you do business with. Any feedback given is valuable - whether this is consumer feedback on your product, or a review of your work from your manager or colleagues.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. It’s better to face new challenges for yourself, make some mistakes and learn from them, than not experience anything at all.
What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Look to exploit customers’ lack of knowledge to make a short-term gain. It’s far better to explain something and show that you want to create a mutually beneficial, long term trusted relationship / business partnership.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
If you’re looking to kick start your tech career, be flexible and be up for a challenge - technology changes at such a fast pace that being able to adapt and face new, and unexpected challenges is essential.
If you’re looking to start your own tech company, think whether you’re solving a significant problem for a significant number of people. Ask people about your idea and listen to their feedback. You may think it’s a fantastic idea but you need to know whether there is an appetite for it! Also, don’t give up the day job until you’re relatively sure there is an addressable market willing to pay a sensible price.
What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Listen! To thrive at a c-level position, you must listen to all of your stakeholders - whether this is consumers, shareholders or colleagues. Learn from what you’ve heard and be willing and open to take on any feedback, information and advice.
In return, clearly communicate. You need to share your ideas and articulate your vision and strategy to your team so you can all work together to deliver the results you want to achieve.
Finally, take some time out for yourself. You’ll find that you will be more focused and productive at work if you’ve taken some time to relax and unwind.
Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I’m particularly proud of investing the time in, and encouraging an HR employee at Gamesys to become proficient in producing the requirements for a proprietary HR / intranet for the company. This is now used by over 1,000 Gamesys staff including use of internally developed timesheets and rota software for the large Customer Support and Chat Host teams.
It was so rewarding to see her grow in confidence throughout the project and deliver work of such a high standard. This employee continues to shape this mission critical software system 7 years later.
Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond