Passion for product – John Hibbard

26 Nov 2019

One of the ways we continue to innovate at pace is by recruiting the best people who bring with them fresh thinking and expertise from a diverse range of industries. Our new Senior Product Manager, John Hibbard, ticks all these boxes and more. Here he tells us about how his past experiences can help shape the future for Schedaero.

You haven’t always worked in the aviation sector. What’s your background?

Well, I’ve been a Product Manager for almost 20 years. I started out in Financial Services, building complex marketing solutions for the world’s biggest banks. Next, I set up and sold my own company before becoming Director of Product Management for a search company called InfoSpace.

My first exposure to the aviation industry came in 2012 when I joined FlightStats as a Product Manager. We were responsible for all the real-time data aggregation and flight information and I was soon promoted to Chief Revenue Officer, where I ran the sales, marketing and product teams for five years.

What attracted you to the role at Schedaero?

I’m a product guy at heart, and this role meant I could get back to what I enjoy most. In my two previous positions I’d served on the Executive Team, and I found that the higher up you go in an organisation, the further removed you are from impacting product decisions. 

I missed being inside the product team alongside the product engineers. And I missed figuring out the technical and business trade-offs and working directly with the customer to understand their problems then creating solutions that drive real revenue.

So, the time was right to get back to your first love?

Absolutely, and it also felt like the right time to join Schedaero. We’re on a mission to bring the larger operators on-board and my background and experience is perfectly suited to help achieve that. 

The goal of securing some of the biggest charter operators while further building the product is also a challenge that really caught my interest.

How have you found the culture at Schedaero? Was it what you were expecting? 

Everyone is very focused and there’s a real sense of ambition here.

One of the most impressive things for me is that the development is continuous. A lot of businesses claim this, but we really do release software almost daily, which requires a very mature development process. In fact, the team has even created its own form of agile development that works fantastically well. 

Looking ahead, what’s the big goal for 2020?

We’re right on the cusp of really being able to step up. The first part of the year will see us finish off a few key features, then the focus will be on getting a couple of major operators signed up – ideally by the time of the NBAA Convention. This will give us a great platform to take on a whole new share of the market. 

How about outside of work, what interests you?

After selling the previous company I took a year out to recharge my batteries, read some books and build a hot tub from scratch. I’d never done anything like that before and it was just me and my dog, figuring it out. It ended up costing me a fortune and taking the whole year, but it was great fun. I think the dog is ready for us to take on our next project!

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