How I got here
I’ve spent 30 years working in Information Technology. During that time I’ve been a network engineer, a systems engineer, a consultant, a business development director, a product manager, a product marketing manager and an advisor. With that variety of experience, if there’s just one thing I now realise, it’s the more I learn, the less I know. I would say my experience has given me the tools to ask better quality questions, to speed up the next phase of learning.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s, there are few” Shunryu Suzuki
Near the beginning of my career, I was lucky enough to work for the largest corporate internet service provider in the world during the dot-com boom. People external to the company used to say to us “we’ve heard three months in UUNET is like a year in any other company!”. With hindsight, I would say a month was more like a year. It was the most compressed and accelerated learning experience of my career, and it was fantastic. Working with global companies like the BBC, CNN, Nasdaq and many banks as they made their first steps on the internet was fun; more so to look fondly back on.
I then spent 14 years freelancing, mainly consulting on infrastructure architecture and engineering, specifically on designing automation to aid large scale, repeatable, systems. Almost 10 years of that time was spent working on projects in investment banking.
With a couple of decades of experience under my belt, I realised I’d become more interested in how technology helped people, rather than the tech itself. I’ve always had a keen interest in good design, so bridging the tech I understood with the people trying to use it became a clear career choice. I joined an automation software startup when the company was a little over a year old, and moved into a commercial role. After a year of running the European business, we were acquired by Red Hat. During this time I also took an interest in building companies — how you set, nurture, and maintain a culture. How to rapidly innovate, yet maintain trust and stability. A balancing act, focussed on people.