What does your role involve?
I’m responsible for setting the strategy for the firm, communicating that strategy and guiding each team to successfully execute it. I also spend a lot of time training our people - it's the only way you can truly set expectations consistently.
What is it the company does?
We are a technical partner to some of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the world. We help them turn their ideas into reality through technology. This means we build everything from content management systems through to native mobile applications, all backed up with 24/7 support and maintenance.
We are structured as a professional services firm, and have practice leads (technical directors) who head up each of our engagements. It’s a different way of working but one we are very proud of – as the gains in client service are considerable.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started my career as a freelance developer. For 11 years I experienced the boredom and frustration of large enterprises and the disorganisation of small businesses. I wanted to build a company that was a dynamic and rewarding place to work and an organisation that created the next generation of professional developers.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
After charisma and communication, making the right decisions even when they aren’t popular.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
A smaller part of my role is to manage our team of technical directors. Helping them to balance client demands and make sure that they’re on track combined with my own focus on running the business can be a challenge.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I find that adrenalin-filled activities always clear the mind, allowing you to focus completely on that moment. In the summer I spend time slalom water-skiing and jet skiing. In the winter, I ice skate.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
We’ve spent so much time trying to reduce these that I am proud to say I don't see many pet hates in the office now. We wear our values on our sleeve - they are constantly measured. We were inspired by the infamous Netflix slide deck about culture.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Whilst the only current certainty is uncertainty, we don’t want to sit paralysed waiting. We are planning more locations abroad and in the UK. We launched our Edinburgh office last year and are continuing to strengthen our base there. We will have more technical directors and are hoping that some of those will have bought into the firm.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Since starting in business I have read hundreds of business books. I have distilled all their advice into one core principle - if you believe in the business model and are solvent, keep going!