typical-24
Human Resources

Typical 24: Ciaron Dunne, Genie Ventures

04-04-2016-ciaron-dunne-genie-ventures  Name:  Ciaron Dunne

 Job title:  CEO

 Company:  Genie Ventures (brands include BroadbandGenie.co.uk, Office Genie & Genie Goals)

 Location: Cambridge, UK

 Years’ experience: 16 years

 

 

1.                   What time do you reach the office each day?
On a typical day, about 8.30am - but that nearly never happens!
On a perfect day I get up at 5am get things done before my young kids (6, 5 & 3) wake up and it all kicks off. I clear my inbox (great time to do it, because no-one replies) and I go for a run around the spectacular river meadows near my house. The main benefit of all this is that when I arrive at the office I can concentrate on high-impact project work, rather than getting trapped in my inbox. Plus I really like the feeling of working when I don’t think my competitors are!

 

2.                   Is your job varied?
Unbelievably. Which I love.

3.                   Is your job creative?
In a certain sense, yes. I used to be extremely hands-on with overtly creative stuff, such as product and web design, editorial, and so on. I’ve moved away from this as the company has grown and we’ve taken on specialists. However business planning and problem solving requires a different type of creativity which is extremely challenging.

4.                   What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
I spend the majority of my time mentoring (for want of a better word) our key staff who are driving the growth and product development within the company. We have an amazingly talented and motivated team of people, but much of the experience still comes from me, as - of course - does the overall direction of the company. Our goals and key actions are planned extremely well; much of my time is spent helping to steer the company and team members to make sure we stick to plans and execute brilliantly.

5.                   Do you personalise your desk?
Not really. I like our workplace to be fairly clean so that people can move between desks in a flexible way.

6.                   Would you describe yourself as creative?
I always describe myself as the least creative person in the world. My approach to creativity is to copy something already in place, and to try and do it a little better.

7.                   Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I have a quirky weekly ritual, which is that I spend one day a week working out of the office with no meetings. I do this to force myself to work on certain types of projects - those which are massively important, but which - if I’m in the office - may tend to get pushed back in favour of more urgent work. I don’t work from home; I discovered a long time ago that I can achieve maximum “flow” in American-style coffee shops and in public libraries, so that is what I do. Earphones in, IM off, email off, medium black filter coffee, and I’m away…

8.                   Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
I guess I tend to have planning sessions with colleagues, and then work on my own. It’s a cliché, but CEO work can be relatively lonely.

9.                   How many hours on average do you work a day?
It varies, but probably about nine hours a day on average. I’m not a fan of long hour cultures; in my experience people don’t achieve more in long hours, they just work less intensely. I’d rather focus hard, work hard, and keep my evenings and weekends clear for family time if at all possible.

10.               Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
With the obvious proviso that each day is completely different. I would say two hours on email (I try to keep away from inbox, and just check it occasionally for urgent stuff after clearing it in the morning); less than half an hour on calls; and maybe four hours in meetings. Meetings are usually planning or reporting sessions.

11.               Do you use social media much for work?
Not really. I love LinkedIn for keeping in touch and for business development, and I like Twitter in principle for staying on the ball. But I’m more of a listener than a contributor, and I struggle to find the time when there’s always so much to do!

12.               What do you enjoy most about your work?
Most of all I enjoy working with the people I get to work with. We have a genuinely amazing team - full of positivity, courage, hard work and support. I love it.

13.               What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
While I’m working I can only listen to music I know really well, so it doesn’t distract me. Just checking my history… in the past few days I’ve been listening to Nirvana, Chemical Brothers, Rizzle Kicks, and First Aid Kit on Spotify. Hopefully nothing too embarrassing! Alternatively I listen to various house playlists on SoundCloud.

14.               What do you do for lunch?
On a normal day I make sandwiches! My bread machine is my second favourite possession (behind my road bike), and so I typically have fresh granary bread with cheese, ham and chutney. We have a great, social setup at work where it’s illegal to eat at your desk, so we all sit together round a large dining table for lunch.

15.               Do you socialise with work colleagues?
Yes, inasmuch as we tend to go for drinks together fairly frequently. Typically Fridays, or every time there’s something to celebrate (which seems to be quite often at the moment!). I genuinely enjoy spending time with everyone at work.

16.               Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
I can’t think of any. I’m a closet lover of admin work. And, because I’ve always had the luxury of working for myself, I’ve always been aware of how necessary all the small, dirty tasks are.

17.               What is your last task of your day?
Tick off the final item on my day to-do list!!

18.               How do you like to relax after work?
I generally have to look after three kids - not sure that counts as relaxing, though! Alternatively I love sport (running, cycling and football in particular) and pubs with great beer - so any combination of these works well. I don’t really watch any TV.

19.               Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Yes. I keep an eye on my inbox, but I tend not to reply till the following morning (unless it’s urgent).

20.               Do you take work projects home with you?
Not routinely. I don’t work well in the evenings. Clearly there are many times when work just needs to be done, but I’ll stay in the office till it’s done if at all possible.

21.               What would you say to your 20-year old self?
I wouldn’t do anything differently, so I wouldn’t say anything. Except maybe pass on a few Grand National results.

22.               If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
Gardener, without question.

23.               What device did you use to answer these questions?
Chromebook.

24.               Do you use your own personal device for work?
No.

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