Turn’s out we’re an office of secretly talented techies –
from a rock singer via a hand-skateboarder (it’s a thing) to a diablo juggler. But we didn’t want to stop there so in June we decided to add a former professional footballer to the mix. Apparently Beckham was busy – something about buying some land and setting up a new US soccer team – so we cast our net a little closer to home and found Harrogate’s finest, Joshua Philpott.
Here we discuss being t’up north, tech overload, and how he’s about to spice up 101 Ways’ life.
Hi Josh, welcome to 101 Ways. Tell us about your new role as UK client partner?
I’m the new Client Partner for the UK north. After some phenomenal growth in London and Amsterdam, we’re expanding to the rest of the UK and hoping to emulate that success. It’s therefore my role to launch the business model and establish relationships with prospective consultants and clients up here. I’m really excited.
As the first person on our UK North team, you have a great opportunity to drive the brand forward and carve out a new path. How do see yourself capitalising on what’s already been achieved?
I feel as if the whole HQ crew is ambitious and strives for success on both an individual and team-level. This is reflected in the wider 101 Ways culture which lets people thrive by being themselves; I’m someone with my own motivations and aspirations and so think it’s a good fit on that front. I’ve had a lot of success in the technology industry already, so I can bring a different opinion to the table about what good looks like coupled with my knowledge of the northern tech market.
So, what drew you to 101 Ways in the first place?
I’ve always known that 101 Ways has an excellent reputation, so it was on my radar as a place I would like to work. Now that I’ve joined, it’s clear that I’m surrounded by great, clever people doing great, clever stuff and I’m proud to be a part of that.
You’ve had a really interesting career path working as a pro footballer before moving into IT – how do you think this has shaped your skills and experience?
I left school at 16 and went straight into a professional environment so the fact I’m personable and resilient massively helped. From a young age, I’ve led and managed teams where colleagues were younger or twice as old and they’ve all been successful. It is important to treat people as your equals regardless of their seniority or otherwise.
When I began working as an IT specialist, I progressed quickly and eventually became Head of Sales at a global agile consultancy. I learned a lot in a short period of time; mainly good things but also how to fail fast when tactics I tried didn’t necessarily work out. When that happened, I pivoted and changed my approach to get the results we needed. It’s about having a flexible attitude and ethos, which I think stands me in good stead to be an effective Client Partner.
What quote resonates with you most?
‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ by Tim Notke.
How do you see your part in pushing 101 Ways forward and becoming the most sought-after tech consultancy in Europe?
The Client Partner role is crucial for laying solid foundations for the company’s future. For clients, we are essentially the face of 101 Ways because it’s our job to open doors and develop relationships. Client partners scope out exciting projects to get involved with and get to know great new startups through networking and/or referrals from those who’ve already witnessed our capabilities and credentials. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help organisations grow through true partnership.
Do you ever worry about the world reaching ‘peak tech’? Where things get to the point where we’re solving problems tech created in the first place?
101 Ways enables startups to become established companies, but we can also help flourishing businesses utilise technology to ensure the world progresses on a more humanitarian and economical level.
As will be no surprise, my main passion is football and I think tech can actually encourage a healthy active lifestyle if you want it to. Virtual and Augmented Reality can get people moving around instead of being ensconced on the sofa binge-watching TV. Wii Sport for example, was a revelation at the time – children and adults alike were jumping around and getting their heart pumping in ways they hadn’t been before.
We need to change the attitude of why it’s used and become more social enterprise-focused. What people value is different now as a result of technology; if it’s embraced in the right way it can be brilliant. It’s not just about need, but also opportunity – people are cash rich and time poor; technology is making things more convenient and accessible for everyone.
Children who have grown up in an entirely digital world don’t know what they haven’t had. There are teenagers building technology businesses, which is incredible – this simply wasn’t available to previous generations.
So for all the alleged ‘bad’ things, we need to remember that it’s given humanity the ability to travel and work, prevent and cure diseases and enabled global communication. It’s a wonderful thing and eventually there will be a transformative societal and cultural shift to reflect this.
Tell us a fun fact that no-one knows about you?
I’m a closet Spice Girls fan; I even owned the movie on VHS. My favourite is Scary Spice. [I ask Josh to name them all which he promptly does]. I also know where they live and their shoe size too if you need that? [Laughs].
What keeps you motivated?
Knowing that I’m part of something bigger. I’m a doer – I like doing and fixing things; if I can solve a problem by offering a solution or service, that makes me happy
What do you like to do in your spare time to forget about work?
The usual: football, socialising, going to the gym. I’m also a real foodie, my wife Lizzie and I are working through a list of Michelin-starred restaurants and pick one to visit when we want to treat ourselves. My favourite so far is L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris – we had an eight-course tasting menu that was out of this world.
What do you think the challenges are going to be, both in your role and the wider industry?
In the role itself, creating a presence where we’ve had none before. 101 Ways began as a London-centric company surrounded by a great network that yielded fantastic opportunities. It’s an exciting time to move north because we have the chance to explore untapped territory, but there will be competition. I’m definitely up for the challenge.
In terms of wider problems, IR35 has been mentioned a number of times before, but we’re definitely seeing a shift in budgets and expenditure as a result. And of course Brexit, which I hate talking about. It’s causing a lot of uncertainty such that businesses are again being more cautious and therefore reluctant to sign-off on projects that perhaps we can help them navigate. But it will also be a learning curve for us as we try to capitalise on new opportunities it may in fact, create.
In three words, tell me why you’re a good fit for 101 Ways?
I’m northern [smiles], knowledgeable and fun.
If you could invent any app, what would it be?
Anything to do with time travel. Or maybe a mind-reading app because I think it would be good to know what’s running through people’s brains when they make certain decisions! But obviously you’d need to also be able to mute the notifications before it drives you mad…
Finally, what is the one piece of advice that you wish you’d been told / would pass on to those considering a career in tech?
Network and create strong relationships with your connections – you never know when you might need them.
And with that, he zig-ah-zig-ahs off home.
Welcome to the second in our new series, ‘in the zone’, a collection of conversations with CTO’s within the CTO Zone community. Each week we’ll be discussing the latest trends, insights gained from there experiences, and future predictions for their industry. This week we’d like to welcome Marcin Zasepa, CTO at Homegate AG in Switzerland. Every episode will be approximately 30 minutes