By Thomas Shambler
The Dubai Jazz Festival has drawn almost half-a-million guests over the last 15 years. Here's how Anthony Younes, CEO of ChillOut Production, stays productive
We interview many CEOs. How does managing a production company necessarily differ from running other businesses?
I haven’t had previous experience in managing other businesses, but I can say for sure that a lot of dedication and hard work goes into running any venture in any field.
I have been doing this since I was a teenager and have had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders from simple artwork development to artist management. It’s not necessarily more hands-on, but I choose to be.
For instance, I still to this day help in creating and developing marketing collaterals and online content for the festival even if we have a fairly large team to handle this. For me, there is no small or big task. I’m always ready to roll up my sleeves and do tasks to make things happen.
How do you make decisions?
I’ll be honest. I’m not the easiest person to deal with. Like I said I’m very hands-on and I know this festival down to the tiniest detail. But if you gain my trust, I will listen.
We at Chillout Productions are four partners of music aficionados. While I do the main strategy every year, I have a team and we meet weekly to share ideas and go through a decision-making process with our stakeholders, particularly our partners and fans. We owe them our success and it’s just right for us to always put their best interests first.
What's the most important decision you've ever had to make for your company?
We were affected by the economic crisis in 2008. Deciding to downsize the company was an extremely difficult but necessary move. We shifted our focus to the Dubai Jazz Festival and other small events and it worked for us.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
We work in a very passionate and respectful environment. And the key to our success is putting our customers at heart.
What's one mistake that leaders make more frequently than others?
Listening. Listen to what your customers want and keep an open mind to other ideas. At the end of the day, we make the decisions we believe are right but it is important to still consider other’s perceptions.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I am not a big fan of reading long emails and sitting in meetings for hours. I do think business matters can be handled in an efficient way.
What's one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
Have the guts to make decisions even the toughest ones. Specifically for our line of work that is extremely fast-paced, we have to make tough calls on a daily basis. If it leads to getting the work done, then it’s completely worth it.