Rob Shaw: CEO, Jaywing plc

Rob Shaw is the Chief Executive of AIM-listed Jaywing plc. The company is a data science-led agency and consulting business, with a marketing technology division and growing international footprint. The agency has two core propositions, performance marketing and brand-led marketing. Jaywing’s data science consultancy helps clients do smart things with their data in marketing, credit and fraud risk, and business intelligence. The marketing tech brand, Jaywing Intelligence, offers AI and big data led products. Employing over 650 people, 1 in 10 of whom is an experienced data scientist, Jaywing has offices in Sheffield, Leeds, London, Newbury, Swindon and Sydney and saw revenue of £47.5m for 2017/18.

Rob started his career as a software developer and was on the Board of Contact Centre specialist Ventura (now part of Capita) by the time he was 30. He moved into digital marketing at Latitude before selling to Private Equity in 2007. Then, as CEO, he grew search specialist Epiphany from 25 to 160 people by the time it was sold to Jaywing in 2014.

Rob is also a non-executive director for the late Jane Tomlinson’s fundraising legacy, Run for All, and is a Trustee of the Jane Tomlinson appeal. He sees the future of business over the next few years coming from successfully uniting data science, especially AI, with all the creativity the human psyche offers; both to exploit the opportunities and meet the challenges rapid technological advances present, in ways real people can engage with.

What do you love most about Your City?

I’d like to say football but sadly I’ve never understood the game!  In reality, I love Leeds for its people and its proud Yorkshire roots. It’s an ambitious city, embracing events like the Tour De France and the World Triathlon Championships.

Favourite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Avocado on toast with a side of good quality bacon and a green juice. The green juice has been a staple for many years; a great way to start the day. The best Avocado on Toast I’ve ever had is at the Establishment Hotel in Sydney, which I make sure I take time to visit when I’m in Australia working with our teams over there. It makes it all the sweeter that the hotel’s owner is now a client since our most recent acquisition of Frank Digital in Australia.

If I’m having breakfast in Leeds, then my favourite spot is Mrs Athas. Tucked away in a small street in the city centre, it serves great coffee and they know how to make a decent bacon sandwich.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Assuming I’m injury free, then I’ll be trying to get some miles in running, cycling or swimming. I love doing big endurance events and early morning starts are the best way to guarantee I do the miles, as well as the perfect kick start to the day ahead.

10:00 AM – I’ll be in the office, usually in Leeds or Sheffield. By 10am, I would aim to have cleared any emails that have come in overnight, read through the daily industry news updates, and completed any Skype calls with the office in Sydney before it’s too late in the day for them.

12:00 PM - Favourite Power Lunch spot/meal?

Next to our head office in Sheffield is a great place called Birdhouse Café. It’s a fantastic, independent, Sheffield-grown business and has an equal mix of healthy and not so healthy options. It’s also frequented by lots of our team, so it’s a good opportunity to bump into people.

7:00 PM - I always aim to be home at a reasonable time with some degree of regularity. Meaning I can sit down with my daughter (who is 11) and do some homework support, eat a meal together and manage the bedtime routine. If I’m travelling, then I try to do the same but it will be over Facetime and almost never 7pm where I am!

11:00 PM – I’ll be fighting the urge to turn in. I can manage pretty well on not much sleep, so late evening is time for watching box sets with my wife, accompanied by one of our two dachshunds on my lap.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

During the day, I drink lots of water and the odd cup of tea or coffee. At home, it’s good Yorkshire tea and, if I feel I’ve earned it, I’ll have a glass of scotch with lots of ice. I know many purists will disagree with the combination, but I know what I like.

Most used App/Favourite Instagram Account?

My most common app will probably be Twitter for a quick update on industry events or news, and I’m not too proud to say that on Instagram it’s Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). He has an incredible work ethic and contagious positivity.

What should everyone try at least once?

Guided meditation.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In the footpaths, woods and bridleways of Yorkshire. I’m fortunate to live in God’s Own Country as we like to describe it. It’s a beautiful place.