Jon Woodall (@) is Founder and Leader of Space 48, a digital agency filled with talented developers, marketers, project managers and creatives that work closely with clients from a range of industries. The Space 48 team develops engaging sites for their clients with award winning eCommerce website solutions. Since 2011, the team has more than tripled in size and is continuing its growth.
Within our interview, Jon kills the curiosity of what it’s like to be founder of an award winning digital agency. Jon explains what goes into a typical day at work and how he spends his time away from the office.
Can you describe what you really do at work?
The largest part of my time is spent working with people and helping them to achieve what they really want. Where the team’s skills are, what the individuals’ goals are and where this crosses paths with the aims of the business; this is where the magic is. When someone is motivated on a personal level they tend to find the passion, which leads to high performance.
If money was no object, what would you spend your days doing?
Honestly, I would spend a lot of it with my little girl and my wife, however I am fuelled by challenges, I love what I do everyday. I also love exploring, I always have. To explore, discover new ideas, connect with smart people whilst spending more time with the family would be how I spend my time, so not so far from the current truth. The very recent Meet Magento New York was a perfect example, I was working and enjoying it – I took the family and made it into a holiday.
In your spare time what do you get up to, and how do you balance this with your workload?
I’m a family man but I also like to seek out challenges, these can be physical or mental. I like to keep fit in my spare time but this counterbalance also gets brought into the office. We have regular boot camp sessions which all staff are welcome to join and we took part in Tough Mudder as a team in September. We are also planning a hike up Snowden.
How do you see the future evolving for Magento and the eCommerce space in general?
There is a lot currently going on in the Magento-sphere, especially with the launch of Magento 2. It sounds like positive changes are coming. We have to pull together as a business and also as a community, adapt, be open to the change. E-Commerce is different to five years ago and the rate of change is increasing.
Where there’s change there’s opportunity. We can push along career development and fulfil ambitions. But we just don’t know what could come, we have to deal with it, it’s just another challenge.
What is usually your last thought before falling asleep?
I want my last thought to be ‘good, I’m tired enough’. I don’t want my mind to be all over the place. As long as I have exercised, eaten well, and had a little of ‘my time’, perhaps some reading then I’m good and that will hopefully be my last thought.
Who is your role model, and why?
My Granddad. He was such a good person. As a farmer, his work ethic was just unbelievable. I owe so much to him, a lot of the things I do I have learnt from him.
What’s the worst thing you have to do as part of your job role?
As the business has grown there is a tendency that only really good things or really bad things get brought to my attention, no in-between. People come to me to get the ‘monkey off their back’, but then there is nowhere that I can go with that, I have to do something about that. Sometimes I can learn from it or use it as a coaching opportunity, which is good!
What motivates you?
Working with amazing people. It motivates me to see others achieving, knowing that I do things that will motivate others and doing things that will make my family proud.
What is the most played song on your MP3 player or phone?
I enjoy listening to audiobooks, so the most played one is most probably ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.
Would you like to plug anything?
Yes, Mage Titans. We wanted to do something to connect with the smart people that we’re lucky enough to have as part of the community. 2014 introduced the inaugural Mage Titans event which was very well received and we’ve just had the 2015 event – I feel that we’re doing our bit for the collective. Our goals for the event were to connect, collaborate and build with the community and we feel that they were certainly achieved.
The Magento community is already one of the kindest, most active and helpful communities around and we are big fans of the Meet Magento events (also the various community podcasts and newsletters that surround it), and we wanted to create something that was even more developer-centric, we wanted to create an event for us, for our team, for other teams and for anyone who develops on the Magento platform. The exchange of knowledge just pushes us all further, helps us to adapt and evolve with the fast-paced growth of the sector.
We are now launching the Italian chapter of Mage Titans too. It will take place in Milan on the 5th of February which is in partnership with BitBull & Alessandro Ronchi, in fact, Alessandro spoke at this year’s Mage Titans with us. Mage Titans Manchester brought people from far and wide together; Germany, Netherlands, Italy, even America, we’re hoping that any who missed out (and those who didn’t) can out make it to Mage Titans Italia – we’ll certainly be there!