Baku Last Impressions – 3 weeks on

Three weeks ago I wrote a post (which I didn’t publish until my return as I didn’t want to cause any issues with me in the country) about my first 3 hours in the Baku, Azerbaijan.  I’ve since returned after spending three weeks and thought I’d leave with my final impressions of the 1st European Games and what I thought of Baku.

Continue reading Baku Last Impressions – 3 weeks on

Baku First Impressions – 3 Hours In

I’ve posted this after my return from Azerbaijan, as I didn’t want any of the comments to lead to trouble while I was in the country.

I thought I would put down on paper my first impressions of Baku, Azerbaijan. Please bear in mind these are impressions after 2 hours of broken sleep on a plane and a broken night sleep the night before – so maybe this is what made them so exciting to me!

Continue reading Baku First Impressions – 3 Hours In

Baku 2015 – 1st European Games

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks (from 10th to 29th June 2015) working for the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) as a statistician for the volleyball event at the 1st European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.  I’ve got plenty of photos and I’ll release some extra posts on my return.

I’ve been employed to drive live statistics on the CEV website for all the games in the tournament as part of a team of 4 statisticians.  Most days we’ve been doing 2 games per day and while I’ve seen a little of Baku, I’ve mostly seen the venue, our hotel and the bus ride between the two.

Continue reading Baku 2015 – 1st European Games

Article on Lessons Learned from Growing a Team – FinTech Capital Fifth Edition

I was recently approached by one of our recruiters, Harrington Starr, to ask if I’d like to contribute to a regular publication that they have called FinTech Capital.  I decided to contribute an article titled “7 Lessons we learned growing a team”, for the latest (Fifth) edition.  If you’d like to read the article, you can download the publication here with my article on page 83.

Growing a team is a never ending task, but we’ve been doing this for the last 4 years now and I believe we’ve learned a lot along the way.  I wanted to share some of our insights and see if others agree or disagree with these.

Our team also manages to get a small mention in the article on page 86 about how we are working to change our culture and understand what is expected by employees now that the Google culture has become the ‘norm’.

As always, it would be great to hear any thoughts or questions you have.

Trust – Are People Generally Good or Bad?

Trust is an emotive word, but one that I find myself using more and more in discussions both inside and outside my team.  I think one of the reasons its so emotive is that trust is often viewed as black and white – either I trust someone or I don’t – there are very few discussions where we tell people we trust them 50%.

In a particular discussion I was starting to think why people may or may not trust others and started to consider how a persons experiences may lead them to deal with people in a certain way.  Which of the following two statements do you most identify with?

  • I believe that in general people can be trusted, they generally try to do the right thing and are not out to harm each other deliberately
  • I believe in general that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing. I would even go as far to say that people generally go out of their way to make things more difficult for others

Continue reading Trust – Are People Generally Good or Bad?

Complaint: Next Made to Measure

I’d like to share with everyone a recent complaint I had with ‘Next Made to Measure’ after placing an order for some curtains in December 2014.

I first had to complain as our curtains were made, but failed QA due to a defect in the material.  ‘Next’ didn’t then have enough material left to complete another pair, and told me we would have to wait until February for some more material to come in stock.  This in itself wasn’t great, but they also told me they were holding onto the money I had paid for 2 months and generally made this all appear like it was my fault.

Continue reading Complaint: Next Made to Measure

What makes a successful technology project?

Sorry, if you’ve started reading this post because you thought I’d be giving you a simple answer to what makes a successful technology project, then you can probably stop now!  I got onto this topic after a conversation between two senior people within our company, one within technology, the other outside.  The non-technologist made a comment about one of our recent projects not being successful (just in case anyone is in any doubt comments like this made incorrectly, can feel the explosion pictured above).  This led to a longer conversation about what makes a successful project.

Continue reading What makes a successful technology project?

Kyoto Food

For those who know me well, combining food and travel is my ultimate passion.  While I love most kinds of food, I have a special place in my heart from Japanese cuisine – one of the only cuisines where pretty much everything you see is almost too pretty to consume!

While in Kyoto we ate in a few places, mostly located around our hotel in Kyoto Station.

Continue reading Kyoto Food