A Week in My Life: Guy Redwood, Founder of SimpleUsability

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Guy Redwood

Guy Redwood, founder of Leeds agency SimpleUsability, takes us through a week in his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Monday

Even though it’s a Bank Holiday, I honour the 6am Monday alarm. My wife and I have been racing huskies for 20 years and today we head to Dalby forest for a three-mile training run through sleet and mist. The dogs are tired, happy and filthy.

As it’s now officially summer, our permit states all sled dog training must be finished by 8:30am – and it is! Back home for breakfast before 10. I brief Helen, my wife and business shareholder, on some of the conversations we’re having about funding new products in the business. 

I spend the rest of the morning researching wearable camera mounts that we can adapt on the office 3D printer for research recording. Catch up on emails and watch the second day of Ginetta racing from Oulton Park, live on Facebook. I’m fascinated by the live streaming of motorsport, I can see my peers and fellow racing folk joining the stream and commenting live. So much better than watching on TV.

Tuesday

The SimpleUsability working week starts with our all-hands meeting, a chance to report back on projects completed the previous week, review upcoming projects and share client feedback from the implementation of our findings and recommendations. 

We plan for a shortened weekly management meeting focused on just reviewing the sales pipeline but the meeting over-runs with talk about how we can pitch our design services and GDPR compliance queries that are coming in from clients. 

As a consultancy business that’s developing a complementary productised offer, there’s also lots of discussion about how the products are evolving and when they’ll be ready for launch.

I move into another meeting to discuss the speaker line up at the online grocery event we’re running as part of the Leeds Digital Festival.  With Asda, Walmart, Morrisons and Coca Cola already confirmed, we agree to add a third brand into the mix and contact potential speakers.

Wednesday

There's a big smile when I see Jennifer, our head of research participant recruitment, is back from battling flu last week.  Clients repeatedly mention that the quality of our participant recruitment is something that sets us apart, Jennifer and Rachel do a great job at maintaining that quality.

Meet up with Joel, our new UX Designer, to discuss progress with his first projects and how to manage workload moving forward, now he’s had a week to settle in.

Coffee and lunch with Rachel at Duke Studios followed by an impromptu tour of the conference facility and AV system we’ll use for the grocery event.

Get an email out of the blue, informing that HMRC have been unable to secure agreement with the EU about Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) schemes and hence will not take any more applications beyond Friday.

Sounds like the last few months of work on our EMI scheme have been a waste of time. I fire emails off to Vestd (the platform we chose for EMI scheme management) and our accountant to ask about options.

Joel shows me the latest story board for our major new research product. We agree it shows the process but fails to illustrate the game changing aspects of the product – and agree to sleep on it. Very happy that we’ve trapped these points so early on this process. 

Thursday

I check the weather forecast and it’s going to be sunny. Shirt and tweed jacket chosen for an impromptu photo shoot in the sun, for my biography piece that will be in a book that’s being published later this year about innovators in Leeds. 

Accountant calls to say he’s managed to talk to somebody at HMRC and they have fast tracked our company valuation. Looks like we can meet the Friday cut-off for our EMI scheme. A quick exchange of emails with Vestd and we agree to complete our EMI scheme on Friday.

Get an email from an old friend who’s unexpectedly looking for a new role. We agree to meet up and swap notes on the constantly changing digital job market.

Evening email from the BSI Group inviting me to speak at an event about online grocery shoppers and disruption. It’s really cool that word is finally getting out about our significant expertise in FMCG online retail.

Friday

My wife, Helen, heads off to husky dog show in Germany. I’m given a list of meals and instructions for feeding the dogs and hens. We feed raw food to the huskies so it’s a little bit more involved than just dishing out bowls of dried kibble.

I pull a 20-slide presentation together and call the team together at 2pm to brief them on what EMI means and how they will digitally sign the documents before close of play. The team respond well to the news that they will all have a stake in the business by close of play.

Final meeting of the week reviewing the latest storyboard for one of our UX products with Lucy and Joel. Great meeting that over runs to find us returning to an office with people heading off for the weekend.

Leave the office at 6:30pm, collect fish & chips on the way home and start my wife free weekend, clearing all the car TV shows off the Sky+ box.