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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kyoto City Review – Top Sights

We recently visited Hong Kong – a regular occurrence to visit my parents-in-law – and while there we often take a short haul trip.  This time we decided to visit Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.  We’ve visited Japan before, but went to Tokyo, and while we were very impressed with Japanese culture and food, it was in many ways, just another large city.  Everything we had read about Kyoto before we visited suggested it would be a much different (and more beautiful) place – especially during the spring cherry blossom season when we would be visiting.

Overall we had a great time, spending 5 nights in Kyoto, and walking close to 90Km over our 6 days – a few highlights and top sights are shown below.

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