60 seconds with: Greg Dooley, 30 Seconds

Business, Interviews | Tue 19 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Greg Dooley, Founder and Owner, 30 Seconds

Greg Dooley, Founder and Owner, 30 Seconds, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

In my early teens I spent a summer picking stones in Co. Clare. Lots of individual fields and stone walls were knocked into one huge single field, so there were plenty of stones to be picked! It seemed a daunting task at first, but row by row the stones were cleared. We worked back-breaking six-day weeks, but it did give us a sense of satisfaction and relief to see the area of stones left to pick get smaller while the area we had cleared got larger.

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

As my background was in teaching and then banking/finance, it would have to be entering the new world of business to develop and launch the 30 Seconds brand in Ireland from zero and battling through those tough early years in a very crowded and competitive market. In the last three years there has been a 300% increase in sales with 2017 seeing the biggest production run of 30 Seconds yet, with 20,000 units being manufactured at the Cartamundi plant (formally Hasbro) in Waterford. To have passed the milestone of total cumulative sales in Ireland of 50,000 this year, translates into a lot of people out there having fun with 30 Seconds.

Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?

Peace of mind.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Pay attention to the numbers (even if you don’t like numbers!). When sales start to really grow and it’s busy, it can be so easy to ignore the figures, but you need to have a handle on where the business is – which can give comfort or sound alarm bells…

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Thinking back to those difficult early years is always a great motivator! I always get a great buzz from customer feedback and the requests from fans of 30 Seconds for new editions, booster packs, etc. Also, it’s great to hear how much they enjoy and how often they play 30 Seconds.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

Tony or Padraig Smyth of Smyths Toys: they have built up a hugely successful business, mostly under the radar too as they seem to keep a low profile – Smyths now has over 100 stores throughout Ireland & the UK, which are run from their HQ in Galway. It would be fascinating to see how the business worked from their (the retailers) perspective. Also, to get an insight on how they interpret and use their point-of-sale (POS) data would be most interesting!

Q. How do you relax?

Time spent with family and friends is always good. Though I still have a great interest in sport, I do miss the playing days. Many would think it a bit strange for relaxing, but I do love road trips!

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

To continue to grow the 30 Seconds brand by increasing promotion and exposure, and, of course, to have fun along the way. The first 30 Seconds booster pack needs to be developed, manufactured and launched in 2018. Also, we have also had retail demand for the product in Northern Ireland and the UK, so a plan for this will be put in place next year. And as always, to try and do things a bit better than last year.

Pay attention to the numbers (even if you don’t like numbers!). When sales start to really grow and it’s busy, it can be so easy to ignore the figures, but you need to have a handle on where the business is – which can give comfort or sound alarm bells…

30 Seconds is an Irish quick-thinking, fast-talking description board game and is suitable for any group, party or family, big or small. It’s an easy game to play and has broad appeal – it’s not narrowed by gender, age or interest. It’s a game for everyone.