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A Week in My Life: Ed Thompson, CTO and co-founder, Matillion

Ed Thompson, CTO and co-founder, Matillion

Ed Thompson is the co-founder and CTO at Altrincham-headquartered tech company Matillion.

Initially starting out with a career as an IBM software consultant, Thompson spent 11 years consulting for blue-chip companies across the UK.

He launched Matillion alongside CEO Matthew Scullion in 2011, which now has more than 650 employees across dual headquarters in both Greater Manchester and Denver.

As one of the North’s regional success stories and tech ‘unicorns’, companies that have a valuation of over $1bn, Matillion works with global organisations of all sizes to integrate and transform data with its products.

Recently securing further investment from the US, Matillion has plans to “fuel growth” of its cloud-native data integration platform.

Thompson shared how a recent week in his life went at Matillion’s Northern HQ…

 

Monday

I have three children and three dogs, so my day begins with getting everyone out of the door in some fashion! So between my wife and I, we take the dogs for a morning walk and take the children to school.

My working day starts at 9 or slightly after, but a lot of the people I work with day-to-day are based in the US, so I often end up adjusting my hours to align better with their time zone. Matillion is dual-headquartered between Manchester and Denver, and it’s that connection between colleagues on either side of the pond that makes our company special.

Later in the morning, I attend weekly stand-up meetings with our senior technical and architectural teams to get a closer look at how our software is being built and updated, and help them through that process.

Tuesday

Early in the week I usually bring together the office of the CTO team, which I oversee. It’s a part of the job I really enjoy; bringing together a small team of seasoned engineers along with some of our newer, less experienced talent. The aim is to create an environment where we can be more experimental, try out new ideas and innovate in a way that ultimately helps Matillion and our customers.

We do things wrong and fail some of the time but I firmly believe that’s the best way to discover how to do things right and truly innovate.

Next we have an exec team meeting, and that’s an opportunity to understand the wider business and how it’s progressing commercially. Normally that involves discussing what’s going on in sales, marketing, operations or elsewhere, so we can see if there are any particular areas or issues that need attention. As a rapidly growing business there’s always some good news, and the fellow exec leaders and I get a real thrill from sharing in our success.

3matillion-office-altrincham
Matillion Altrincham head office.


Wednesday

Another thing that excites me is hearing from the wider engineering teams. Every two weeks or so, we have something called ‘sprint reviews’ where an entire team or a collection of teams from a particular development programme will come together and show off all the exciting things they’ve been working on.

The pinnacle of these sessions is when I see junior engineers I am mentoring demonstrating and diving into code they have worked on for the previous two weeks. Nothing is more exciting than seeing new software take shape. I love to see those innovations and hard work in action. The demos of the new code that they’ve deployed opens up lots of fun conversations, and means we can finetune it all together.

Later in the day, I often get brought into conversations with customers, particularly if they’re large enterprises – the size of business Matillion is increasingly working with. Today I went to visit one of the UK’s major banks as well as one of the UK’s biggest airlines, and this helps me to add value to sales conversations but also to understand the kinds of problems that these organisations are trying to solve.

Larger, more traditional businesses face different issues compared to their digitally-native counterparts, and different problems to tackle using data. We want to help them be more productive with data, so listening to and understanding their requirements is extremely useful for me and Matillion as a whole.

Thursday

Every few months a board meeting takes place; I don’t contribute directly to the Matillion board but I am an observer. They tend to cover everything that’s going on in the business, which is always exciting and a great way to understand the progress my exec colleagues are making, but also allow us to hear from our shareholders, especially their take on the wider market and macro-economic conditions.

There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing for those board meetings. Presenting detailed information about the company takes a lot of effort but it’s absolutely worthwhile. It means the board can advise and guide Matthew Scullion, Matillion’s co-founder and CEO, and the rest of the exec team in the best way possible.

I am also doing some initial preparation for Matillion’s annual conference (Data Unlocked). It takes place on October 12 and we’re extremely excited to meet our customers and partners in person and hear about all the wonderful things they’re doing with our platform.


Matthew Scullion, Matillion’s co-founder and CEO.
Matthew Scullion, Matillion’s co-founder and CEO.


Friday

Once a month, Matillion has a special initiative called ‘Hackdays’, where individuals or groups can take all or part of the day to work on any project of their choice that they think will enhance the company or their own personal skills. It’s a hugely important initiative and is closely tied to one of our core values: to inspire our teammates to be their best selves.

We get creative and let people work on anything. What’s interesting about it is that most of our staff tend to gravitate towards building tools or processes that help them – and more often their colleagues – do their jobs better.

Our role in the office of the CTO is to encourage and observe what everyone’s doing, and take the best initiatives a step further by helping out with some code or offering a secondment, for example. When it’s time to unwind for the weekend, I love to make time for my kids, whether that’s playing some video games together (Sea of Thieves is a current favourite) or building a treehouse, which has been my passion project for the summer!

Downtime is important, and it’s something that we respect for each and every employee, whatever their level.

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