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Aaron Tighe, CPO DailyZest: My role means constant change, continuous learning and evolving of ideas

Aaron Tighe is an experienced Chief Product Officer, with a proven track record of launching and continuously evolving high traffic consumer facing digital products for some of the most visible brands and businesses in the world.

He is highly experienced in designing, building, nurturing and mentoring product and user experience (UX) teams using Quan-Qual data, Agile and Lean development. He is adept at creating the climate for real teamwork to ensure growth and facilitate cross-functional collaboration. Furthermore, Aaron works with C-level executives to agree on vision and arrive at business outcomes and goals.

More about DailyZest and Aaron’s experience can be found below:

Tell us more about your role in DailyZest?

Daily Zest is my personal consulting company; it is now ten years old. The company exists to provide consulting services on digital products, building digital teams, digital transformation and innovation.I am also a co-founder of Circle of Misse Ltd which is coming into its 11th year. We run creative writing courses, painting holidays and cooking and wine tasting holidays. Our creative writing programme has an 80+% repeat rate.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

The most difficult part of my role at Daily Zest is that my roles are always transitory ones. I act as a catalyst for change, kicking off initiatives, hiring teams, embedding processes. I then have to hand these off to their long term owners; there is a little sadness in that. However, that is also, hands down, the best thing about my role. Constant change, continuous learning and evolving of ideas. It keeps my brain in good shape. In my Circle of Misse role I continue to watch the company grow and expand with each season. We had actually sold every place on our courses for 2020. We pivoted and ran our creative writing programs online, but it forced us to shelve painting, food & wine courses which didn’t transfer online as easily.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

That’s a very hard question to answer. I have already had three careers. I was a professional musician for the first fifteen years and also a chef (my family were restaurateurs). In my mid-thirties I took stock, having realised that I would not achieve my key goal as a musician, to be a full-time conductor. I made the difficult decision to close the door on that and triggered a ‘dark night of the soul’, which took several difficult months. I went back to university and supported myself as a specialist decorator (oops maybe that’s a fourth career). After City University I became a webmaster, developer and digital product specialist. This might seem like a very different direction, but as a musician I had run a lot of small orchestras and ensembles. A huge part of the work involved was administration, so I had become very proficient with computers and computer programs; it felt almost natural. Almost. The best part of my career experience has been to realise that most of the skills that I had acquired were transferable, especially the soft skills, and these helped propel me. I think the only thing I would change, given the chance would be to have attended Oxford/Cambridge at the outset. I think that would have been a better start, and I was more than capable of doing so. The problem was that I didn’t have good advisers to turn to, but worse I was a hot head with insufferable determination.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

I am working on a book about innovation and introducing innovation tracks into the DNA of companies. I think that giving companies the tools to enable and encourage innovation is an avenue that has not yet been fully explored. I also think I need to continue to learn, grow, then distil and disseminate that knowledge. 

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

The pandemic has been tough on a lot of people and has created a lot of uncertainty. A great many businesses have already been shuttered, with many more to come. My heart goes out to all of my dear friends and colleagues who work in the arts, that sector has been decimated. On the flipside this creates huge opportunities for creative thinkers. And to be honest that is exactly what drives me. I see so many opportunities arising from these changes. The world is likely to snap back from COVID-19 in a similar way to what happened in the 1920s. There will be a huge thirst for thrills, experiences and travel; my ticket is stamped and I am ready to ride that wave.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

The innovator’s dilemma – by Clayton Christensen – Harvard professor and businessman

Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation – Book by Alexander Osterwalder and David J. Bland 

The Man in the Red Coat – Julian Barnes most recent book. He, along with the French writer Michel Tournier, has been one of the great constants of my life. 

Our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss about their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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