Passing the Mic: Introducing ZigZag’s CTO Jon Eastwood
We took five minutes with our new CTO for a ZigZag Chinwag
In exciting news for ZigZag Global, we have recently welcomed Jon Eastwood to ZigZag as our new Chief Technology Officer. Jon will be responsible for driving our technology development, enabling us to bring even more products and services to market to support global retailers and their customers.
We spent five minutes catching up with this tech titan to find out a bit about him, of course all the important stuff like what he thinks is the most influential technology development of the 21st century and his favourite Marvel character.
Let’s hear what he had to say!
Tell us a bit about your background, where have you worked previously?
I’m a developer by trade, but in more recent years have been doing senior management roles in various sectors, including eCommerce; so, I’ve seen first-hand the problem of managing returns for retailers. I tend to join smaller businesses that are on the cusp of a major change or growth phase and help them navigate the waters of scaling up platforms and teams.
What was your first ever job in tech, and did you enjoy it?
My first job after university was a manual QA tester for an enterprise desktop security solution. To be honest, I hated the work! It was as boring as it sounds, and as you might expect we found very few bugs. But it was a great company, and an awesome team – I remember having some amazing laughs there and it taught me the importance of having a team that gels well to get through the tough times. This is something I still value today when building teams.
What is the best thing about being a CTO?
I don’t have to fix bugs anymore! Seriously, I’m lucky to have a job doing what I love which is deploying tech to solve real business problems. It’s really satisfying to sow the seeds of building an amazing team, and then seeing the results come back in time.
Which tech companies do you most admire and why?
In general, I think big tech needs to be a better corporate citizen with issues like data privacy, rewarding employees, creating value for suppliers, paying fair taxes and so on – so I would be looking in the direction of start-ups who have scaled well and maintain an ethical stance. I really like Monzo – they’ve created an awesome product, are giving the big banks something to think about and have scaled the team really well right here in London.
What are you most excited about to be working on at ZigZag?
The product is amazing, and I think we are well positioned to tackle a growing problem in the market. The pandemic has accelerated the trend to shop online and I can only see the business doing great things. It’s genuinely a privilege to be a part of that journey to help us get bigger and better. The part I’m looking forward to most is seeing where we can innovate and take the platform in a different direction.
What do you think is the best retail innovation and why?
I think computer vision will have lots of really useful applications in bringing real world shopping closer to a digital experience. This could be things like visual search, so you take a picture of an outfit and get recommendations on matching accessories. Also, things like Amazon Fresh which are trying to modernise the high street experience and keep it relevant.
What makes a great team, and how do you build it?
Beer. Lots of beer. I think the key thing is recognising that successful teams come in different shapes and sizes. They tend to develop organically and there isn’t a magic bullet which can make a team gel overnight – what team leaders must do is identify what works for that group and nurture it. And certainly make sure everyone is clear on the goals and direction of travel, and understands why it’s important. Did I mention beer as well?
Who is your favourite Marvel character?
Being an engineer at heart, it’s got to be Iron Man for me. I think if you asked any developer, we’ve all been in meetings where we’d like to construct a high-tech suit of armour to escape and go and spend life fighting crime!
What kind of returner are you?
The “I’ll have a grumble about this item that’s no good but never bother returning it.” I’m probably ZigZag’s worst customer! I’ll print the label, pack it all up neatly and it will sit in the boot of the car for all eternity.
Oh no Jon, we’re going to have to work on your returns! We can’t wait to see how you will enable ZigZag to grow and take on the next stage of our exciting journey. In our next Passing the Mic session, we will be hearing from a woman who knows a thing or two about retail. Watch this space.