Gavin Rae is the Managing Director at Thiga, a product management and design consultancy, founded in 2014, with offices in Paris, Madrid and Sydney.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I was lucky enough to be a professional footballer in the UK for near on 20 years playing for 4 different clubs and also the Scottish national team before emigrating to Australia with my Australian wife and our twins.
Once I arrived I started working in tech recruitment focusing on Digital Product Management before moving onto Thiga to grow our team. At Thiga, my MD went back to work for Thiga France, and our CEO asked me to take over as MD – which I have been doing for nearly 2 years.
I have loved the opportunity and I really enjoy working in this industry and with the tech community.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My role is super varied which makes no 2 days the same really and that is what I like.
I can do a range of day to day duties from a mixture of sales, recruitment, customer experience, marketing, business relationship management, looking after our team, pre sales, looking after our business accounts, etc.
I also organise events like our Product Leaders Club and training we deliver to aspiring PM’s.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I think we are lucky within our industry that we can work remotely quite easily. I prefer working in the city though as opposed to home as I think it helps with focus. At the moment I am doing a mix of at home and in the city split 50/50.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
With a young family, I think it is super important that I switch off from work when I get home.
That is why I prefer home to be for family and not work which has been difficult with the COVID situation and working remotely. I think work life balance is about working hard, taking time to enjoy your family time but also taking time for yourself too.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I don’t think so, I am pretty set in my ways and feel I have not been too bad at managing workloads etc. I would say I have been actively trying to not sweat about the small stuff. Just chill and let it wash over you rather than stress on things I can’t control.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I read when I can but mostly fiction and autobiographies. I have read every Lee Child book about Jack Reacher and like books that are exciting and you can get into easily. Podcasts are mostly all football and I recorded a few as a guest during COVID also which was good fun.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I would struggle to live without my iPhone, I have been a fan since the first one came out. I use it for everything. Spotify is my favourite app probably as I am a huge music fan and enjoy instagram also.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I think it would be interesting to see a day to day from someone like Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian or Melanie Perkins from Canva.
Super successful entrepreneurs that have built huge companies but also seem to be able to do lots of other ventures and campaign for sustainability and equality. To see how they do that and still try and find time for themselves would be interesting I am sure.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think that we all need to try and relax and not stress out too much. Easier said than done but life is short and precious so let’s work together to make it enjoyable for us all.
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