Dave Lush is CTO at MindGym. He kindly took 5 minutes to share with us his career journey so far and the biggest lessons he’s learnt along the way.
What’s the story of your career so far?
My first technical role was with a 10 person company in Reading. The guidance given to me and another graduate was “make this work in the web”. From there we had to teach ourselves above source control, continuous integration, multi-tier architectures, bug tracking, hosting… Everything… It was brilliant! I haven’t looked back since then. I moved on to spend 9 years with Visa focusing primarily on mobile and online payments, before moving to ONZO (a data analytics start up) and most recently Mind Gym.
I’ve walked what is probably a typical path. I tend to speak up and help keep teams organised / focused. This has naturally landed me in team-lead followed by management positions. I’ve needed to keep learning new skill sets that are not purely technical. I then found myself getting further away from the technology than I wanted and focussed in on small to medium size technology teams.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve considered going back to being an individual contributor multiple times. If ever did I would not be able to live without the diversity of my current role
I love shifting between detailed technical, process, motivation, leadership, commercial and compliance issues (to name just a few). I really enjoy the constant flow of learning new specialisms in order to help guide us to the right decisions for the business.
What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2020 amidst all the Covid-19 disruption?
I’ve been working and managing remotely on and off for the past four years. I used to think that it was quite easy. What I now realise is that it is hard to maintain the strong social bond in your team when the option to meet face-to-face is taken away. We’ve had to put in place “scheduled fun” to stop people from working a little during the day and just get online to play a game of https://skribbl.io/ or grab a coffee together. It’s too easy to not make the time.
I realise this is two lessons, but I’ve also learnt how lucky I am to have a comfortable home situation with fairly open spaces nearby
As far as you can predict, what’s on the cards this year for you and your business?
Exciting times! Over the past year we’ve built up a seed of an engineering team with a combination of talent and experience. They have gelled as a group and are moving ever quicker with their software deliveries. In the coming year we plan on adding to this team with a diverse mixture of experience levels and backgrounds to push us on even further.
The team is working on a set of products that has potential to genuinely disrupt our sector and gets to work with an excellent tech stack (https://stackshare.io/mind-gym/mind-gym)
If you could go back and do it all over again, would you choose a different career path and why?
100% I would not change career path. I’ve loved the challenges I’ve encountered, the things we’ve been able to create and the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. If I could do one thing differently it would have been to move on from financial services a little earlier. Part of the joy of technology is that you get to move between different industries and there is a lot out there to explore.
Hopefully I have a long career ahead of me yet, with plenty of time to learn about new industries!
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