CMO Files: Andrew Davies, Co-Founder & CMO, idio

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

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Name:  Andrew Davies 

Organisation: idio (

Job title: Co-founder and CMO

Location: London, United Kingdom


(1) Where were you born and raised?

Born in Liverpool, and then lived in Papua New Guinea for the first 4 years of my life. For most of my life since I have lived in Exeter, in the South West of England.  

(2) What was your first job?  

A paper-round, up a very long hill climb.

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?   

My first decent keyboard (as in piano, not as in computer keyboard…it was a Roland RD700). Sounds beautiful, designed for functionality, and still works today.

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

As the proverb says, ‘In abundance of counsel there is victory’, and I am fortunate to have got to know people from a range of backgrounds who I ask all kinds of questions. These range from my business partners to leaders of charities, to academics, to close friends, and of course, my wife. I value those multiple perspectives.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

At home, it’s building a family I love! At work, it’s the journey of building idio as a product and as a business - through thick and thin, with a team that rocks. I believe the its vital to enjoy and value the journey, rather than just look to the destination.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

To forget that behind every face is a story. Especially in busy times, I am too quick to judge based on what I see, without stopping to hear the journey and context of that person.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

Being willing to try new stuff without fear of failing.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Again, this could be a long list, but contenders for the top spot would certainly include my preference to start rather than focus on finishing, my tendency to take on more than I can handle, and my inability to turn down good food.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

Building a unified and cohesive team. That and approaching problems from first principles: so much activity seems to be by default not by design.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

I like using phrases to carry meaning for myself, but also for our teams. Good examples include ‘Silver Bullet Syndrome’ (the belief that this next idea is going to solve all our challenges), ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ (useful to rationalise risk in most decisions), ‘Forgiveness not permission’ (speed and optimisation is often more important than everlasting planning), and many more…

DISLIKE: Thought leadership, ideation, and most marketing bullshit.

(11) What makes you stressed?

Over-commitment and under-delivery. And people who seem to thrive off drama.

(12) What do you do to relax?

Family time, squash & badminton, reading, the outdoors – all important for me to maintain sanity!

(13) What is your favourite song?

The one in my head now!

(14) Which book taught you most?

(see 19)

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

I watch football regularly with friends, but despite being born in Liverpool, I wouldn’t call myself a fan of any specific team.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?

I love travelling but am very happy being based in the UK. I’d love to have some time in Asia and Africa, as most of my work has been in Europe and the US.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

The best marketing doesn’t get in the way, but quickly reveals a product that works and delivers value every time you use it. And ideally incites me to tell my friends about it. Apple, Amazon, Google do this at scale.

(18) What do you love most about your job?

This answer could go on forever… Top of the list are the people. I love working with a super smart, hungry team. If there is a brick wall, we will find a way to run through it. I also love the ability to move fast, experiment, and learn, learn, learn. If I went a week without learning something significant, I’d want a new role.

(19) What is your favourite book?

I always have several on the go, and my favourite is the one I’m reading most right now. Currently that is Bold by Peter Diamandis, but my short list over the last year or two would include The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Throw Them All Out, Confessions of an Ad Man and Affluenza.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

My two kids usually. Although good ideas also keep me up at night.