Welcome, tell us a bit about yourself...
Hello! I'm Mark. I'm originally from Yorkshire, although have spent most of my life in the south and now live in a small town called Hertford, which is a short train journey outside London. I've spent the majority of my working life doing some form of delivery management, which has predominantly meant working on projects and programmes to do with software. Outside work I like go running and tend to my garden.
What are you looking forward to about being part of the Loomery team?
Having the chance to be involved in shaping a business like Loomery while it's still in a formative stage of its growth is extremely exciting to me. I've worked in comparable product businesses previously, but none at the point where it's possible to have such an impact on the way the company operates. One of the things that really made Loomery stand out to me was knowing how much of a learning culture is being created, and I can't wait to start learning from all the talented folk here already.
What was the first tech project you worked on?
Many years ago before I worked 'properly' in software development, I was part of a team at Cancer Research UK overhauling their About Cancer product. I worked predominantly with a team of clinical nurse specialists, who were re-writing vast amounts of patient information at the same time a new CRM was implemented. It was a great first introduction to agile practises, complexity, technology products, taxonomy, and content design. I learned a huge amount from that I carried forward into future roles.
Have you been learning anything cool outside of your discipline?
Completely outside of software development… I've been [very, very slowly] learning to speak Italian. It started out on Duolingo a couple of years ago before a holiday to Calabria, and I've kept it up ever since including lessons and starting to read very basic Italian storybooks. I didn't take languages far at school at all, so it's been nice to have the chance to flex those particular brain muscles a little bit!
What's your favourite tool or app most people haven't heard of?
I'm not sure how unheard of this would be, but one tool I rely on quite heavily is Todoist. I'm a big believer in minimising cognitive load by getting stuff written down, and Todoist helps you do that without pen and paper. I like how you can record a new to-do really fast, without shifting windows (and risking context switching) but just a simple keyboard shortcut. It's got some habit tracking functionality, and a nifty 'AI Assistant' too. One nice feature is how it helps you create what would ordinarily be a fiddly SQL filter of your notes by taking a human English command, e.g. "notes I made ages ago and haven't done anything with for ages."
Recommend one podcast or book
I mainly read fiction, but last year I read the Chimp Paradox and have barely shut up about it since. I'm in no way a lover of self-help literature, but would recommend this venture into 'mind management' to anyone - not least because it's written with a refreshing sense of humility and realism. It gave me some tools that helped me become more focussed and deal with bumps in the road more quickly so I don't lose time to worrying - and not just in a professional capacity, it even made me enjoy golf more!