Conor O’Boyle is the co-founder & Director at Drive Inc., an automotive technology group of companies that incorporates Sweep, TradeBid and Nevo.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I spent seven years working in the investment industry in Ireland from the age of 20. Spent 5 years working for Abbey Capital, an Irish owned alternative investment manager.
Post Abbey Capital, I joined Virtu Financial, a high-frequency trading firm who had their European HQ in Dublin. Both very different, Abbey being a hedge fund and Virtu being a technology business that used their technology and speed to make markets.
In tandem over the years I was organising snooker events around the country. This led me to take a break from the investment world in 2018 and manage a professional snooker player called Ronnie O’Sullivan for a year.
My current role is co-founder and COO of Drive Inc, an automotive technology group of companies that incorporates Sweep (automotive classifieds platform), TradeBid (B2B vehicle auction platform) and Nevo (electric vehicle education and purchasing platform launching in April 2022).
In my current role I look after the financial and operational aspects of the group, as well as legal, HR and strategy alongside my co-founder Shane Ennis.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I get up around 7.30am and am in the office at 8.00/8.15am. I’m lucky that I live about a 5 minute walk away from the office. I spend the first hour or so doing basic admin and emails that sets up the rest of the day.
Following on from this, I usually have 2/3 hours of meetings during the day. The rest of the time is spent working on strategy, growth, finance and operations. No two days are the same, we are in a scale up stage at the minute having just secured more investment so there is a lot going on.
We launched a new business in December which has been hands-on since the start but now we have a clear operational plan to streamline the entire workflow. I try to leave the office by 6.30pm and go to the gym with my wife if I can.
The last three months have been full on and I have a Peloton in the apartment so I can jump on that if I’m home late and not bothered going to the gym.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
It does. It’s important to have that balance for people, particularly nowadays. We find that our employees are as productive from home now when compared to them in the office. We’ve found that a lot of people want to come into the office a bit more now which is great.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Incorporating exercise is very important to me. It’s easy to get overworked and not exercise in the evenings or at night after long days. Making sure I get out with enough time to exercise and spend time with my wife (recently married) is vital. It’s good for clearing the head too.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I try to do certain classes in the gym 3-4 times per week. HIIT or spinning. I enjoy spinning as I think it’s great to clear the head and recently bought a Peloton so that I have no excuse not exercising on those nights I don’t feel like going to the gym
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a huge fan of the ‘How I Built This’ podcast series. I find them fascinating and having your own business it can be amazing to see how much other founders’ stories resonate.
There are always similarities in setting up a business and it can be very refreshing to hear of the struggles of other founders early on in their journeys. My favourite book from a business perspective is called ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by a sports psychologist called Steve Peters.
The Chimp Paradox is designed to help train your brain to not automatically think the worst when you hear something that you don’t necessarily like. Again for a founder or someone who has their own business it’s so important as it’s so easy to always think the worst when something small goes wrong. I encourage all our employees to read it also.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Whoop. I’ve had the Whoop band for three years now and I couldn’t live without it. It keeps me accountable for exercising during the day and also ensures that I have good sleep and encourages me to go to bed earlier.
Aside from this I’ve just bought a ‘Remarkable’ tablet as I take a lot of notes with paper and pen. I haven’t fully embraced it yet but it seems good. With the company growing there are often a lot of ‘things’ that come to mind when not in the office so I started using an app called Things recently which helps building a to-do / ideas list. I’ve built it into my calendar to
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Not really sure how to answer this one, I think everyone is different and has their own way of dealing with stress and work life balance.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think it’s important to realise at the end of the day that work is only work. Nothing that happens in it is really worth stressing over too much and with the right can do attitude it makes start-up life a lot easier.
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