The CMO Files: Ian McCaig, CMO / Co-founder, Qubit

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'...

  Name:  Ian McCaig

  Organisation: Qubit

  Job title: Chief Marketing Office / Co-founder

  Location: Split time between New York and London




(1)           Where were you born and raised?
Windsor - a small town 20kms west of London. I lived 5 minutes away from Windsor castle and the Queen (although in a much more humble abode)



(2)           What was your first job?
I set up my first company when I was 17 with a friend and it was called Impact Gardening. We were a landscape gardening company and our motto was minimum effort, maximum impact (not that we told our customers that).


My first proper job was on the graduate scheme for a music company in Soho, London when I had aspirations to work in the music industry. Although this wasn't the route I ended up taking it gave me my first insight into how digital was transforming some of the most established industries at break neck speed.


(3)           What was the first product you got really excited about?
I think it has to be my first Lego kit. My brother and I would spend hours building intricate castles and pirate ships to then spend 30 seconds destroying them.




(4)           Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I think it would have to be Matt Brittin (Managing Director, Northen Europe at Google) who I worked for from 2007-2010. I learnt an enormous amount in that time (and I continue to whenever we meet up).


(5)           What has been your greatest achievement?
Probably setting up Qubit in 2010. We still have a long way to go but it is definitely something I am very proud of (not to mention the fun we are having along the way).



(6)           What has been your biggest mistake?
Not getting the right work-life balance in my first few years of Qubit. Getting back down to the gym has improved my productivity two fold!



(7)           What is your greatest strength?
I would have to say my ability to dissect a problem quickly and rally everyone around to fix it.



(8)           What is your biggest weakness?
Sometimes taking on too much - there just are not enough hours in the day (although I am starting to learn this).




(9)           What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
Iterate, iterate and iterate! I think CMOs sometime look for perfection but in this new digital world it is much better to get things out quickly and see how your customers react to it. Fail fast (if required) but most of all learn fast. If you don't do this you risk getting left behind. Take Google - many of their products stay in beta for this very reason.


(10)       Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
Mantra - Own it (Empowerment is my number 1 belief in building a great team)
Squirm - Any business jargon like synergy, let's take this offline (although you do find yourself saying them from time to time)


(11)       What makes you stressed?
Other people stressing




(12)       What do you do to relax?
Gym, Running, Live Music, Festivals, Cinema and getting to the beach as much as possible



(13)       What is your favourite song?
At the moment, probably Get Lucky by Daft Punk, but I love my 80s so anything from Prince, David Bowie or Queen would be right up there.



(14)       Which book taught you most?
I read a book by Chris Anderson called Free at a very good time in my career. Not because I was on a beach in Thailand but because we were in the process of launching our first fully-fledged SaaS product called Opentag, which is a Tag Management Solution. This was the first Free or Freemium TMS in the market so getting this right was critical and this book helped frame my thinking on this.



(15)       Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
Liverpool Football Club (but I prefer playing sport myself)


(16)       Which country would you like to work in?
I love Barcelona but given that the Spanish economy is in not in great shape at the moment, the North American market and New York in particular has been a great experience so far.




(17)       Which company do you think has the best marketing?
I really respect Hubspot in the B2B marketing space. We are a customer and I am impressed with how they created a new category and therefore become synonymous with this term ‘inbound marketing'

On the consumer side I think it would have to be something disruptive like dollar shave club as I love a David vs. Goliath story. I love how this DSC have come into one of the most established industries and started to challenge the big guys with a simple online subscription model all led thorough a great low cost viral video campaign.

If you've not seen the YouTube video check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI&feature=c4-overview&list=UULhWeWGlaxqJBKQdtbICiLQ




(18)       What do you love most about your job?
A bit clichéd I know but we have hired an amazing team - super diverse, extremely smart people that think differently. I love coming into work for that reason.



(19)       What is your favourite book?
Alex Garland -‘The Beach' reminds me of my gap year and 4 months in South East Asia.


(20)       What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing - I sleep like a log!


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