A Week in My Life: Neil Briscoe, CTO of Cloud Gateway
Cloud Gateway is a hybrid-cloud connectivity platform that enables enterprises to connect to the cloud on their digital transformation journey at extremely fast speeds.
The companies Chief Technology Officer, Neil Briscoe, has spent over 20 years working across multiple sectors for companies including PepsiCo, Asda, Capita, Aviva and the Ministry of Justice where he was responsible for leading architecture and delivery.
Here, he shares what a week in his working life is all about...
The start of the week begins at 6:30am sharp with the kids running into our bedroom for a morning cuddle, which is then followed by the deafening sounds of their iPad videos. Once we have been suitable deafened, I get up, make a cup of coffee and let the chickens out. Then, it’s time to hit the M62 to the Leeds office.
My first job is to check for any logged issues over the weekend and for any planned outages on our platform and third-party services. It’s critical that we are always aware of any potential disruption so we can come up with any mitigations.
The rest of the day is spent with the development team working through solutions and possibilities. I am still a techie and can’t help myself getting in front of a whiteboard, drawing up an idea and then spinning up the solution; which has various results… Although that is where the Cloud Gateway platform originated, so it’s not all bad!
Tuesday starts again with the same 6:30am chaos of children, chickens, coffee and hitting the M62. Once we’re in the office, it’s a day of calls with customers, suppliers and resellers to share with them the solutions they can benefit from, by using our network platform or explaining use cases.
Lunch is well deserved and often enjoyed at Greggs. A northern institution and something that the team in London simply cannot understand. A topic of many heated debates.
Sufficiently fueled after lunch, it’s time to get my head down and work on proposals or marketing documents. The team is growing rapidly, but we all have to get stuck in with lots of different jobs throughout the day - which ultimately is what makes it so exciting.
On Wednesday, it’s time to head to London. This is my “me time” where I have 3.5 hours to listen to music, catch up on emails, read documents and browse the internet for anything related to our space in the market; which admittedly can often go off on a tangent!
Once I’ve arrived at the office, I’m immediately in meetings with my exec team to discuss urgent matters and priorities for the next few days and weeks. Even though we have two offices - Leeds and London, plus others across the country - strong communication with everyone is really important.
The afternoon is then filled with board meetings. This is the part of the job that was completely new to me three years ago. But, now as co-founder of Cloud Gateway, I have learnt so much about business, compromise, empathy and financial planning.
Once the day has ended, it’s back to the London flat with my co-founder, Justin Day, and a debrief over Nandos. We work together at the flat, but we now have a strict ‘laptop closed’ at 2300 rule; in the last two years, we’ve worked until the early hours and up even earlier, which was necessary to get the company moving forward - but not conducive to being a good husband and father. I love the company, but family always has to come first.
Thursday begins with multiple coffees and commuting into the London office.
We’ll catch up with marketing, finance and the product teams. Briefing each team on the developments on the technical roadmap and what to expect in the next few weeks so everyone is aligned across the company and we can plan our PR and announcements. Marketing and PR isn’t an area I was previously used to, but thankfully we have an experienced team who can translate thoughts into something worthwhile and exciting. It certainly has been a long road to let go of my baby and trust others, but it’s been very worthwhile.
No matter how much I try, the day always ends with me sprinting to Euston to try and catch the train home. This is another enjoyable 3.5 hours to read, write and think.
The quiet Thursday morning is replaced with the 6:30am children, chickens and iPad routine but luckily, I can work from home.
Friday is always the busiest day and at Cloud Gateway, we ensure that everyone works from home on Fridays as much as possible as we are such a dispersed company with people in Bury, Manchester, Leeds, Derby, Norwich, Diss and London.
At 9:30am, we have a Tech Catch-up, where all the technical personnel have a good chat about what we’ve been up to, what’s in the next sprints and any issues we’ve had. This is the place to make technical decisions together, so everyone is aware and can have an input. I’ve spent time building the tech team carefully - it’s so important to me to have the right people around me. Everyone's an expert in their field, so any decision made is a joint one and one we all agree on. This is a luxury afforded to us as a relatively small company and avoids us going around in circles.
After lunch, which is typically a pie from the local farm shop, we have a full senior management team catch up where we recap the week and ensure we’re prepared for the following one. This is where I listen and realise that the ‘tech’ side of a tech start-up is only a small proportion of what makes a company grow and develop at the pace we have. It’s a great team effort.
At 3:30pm, I’m out the door and on the school run. I love that I have the flexibility now to be able to enjoy precious time with the kids, hear what they’ve been up to and look forward to the weekend. I get home and tie up a few last-minute bits from the week and make sure I feel prepared for the week ahead. Then, the laptop closes, and I enjoy the weekend with the family.