A Week in My Life: Scott Baxter, Technical Director & Co-owner, First Internet

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Scott Baxter joined First Internet five years ago and has helped grow it to 15 staff and increase turnover by 30% in his first year of joint ownership.

First Internet was named Small Digital Agency of the Year at the 2020 Prolific North Awards, leading a competitive category. It works with clients including Peak, PZ Cussons and Metro Rod.

Baxter completed the MBO of First Internet at the end of 2019 with his fellow directors, having proved himself as Head of Development. Prior to working at First Internet, Scott served as IT Manager at Warrantywise.

He told Prolific North what a week in his working life looks like...

 

Monday

I always start the week managing our Monday morning ‘scrum’. This involves the whole company - we get together to plan the week, answer any questions about specific projects and finalise the schedule, all after discussing our weekends, of course!

The government put us into second lockdown recently, so this is managed over Teams. I need to ensure everybody has the tools that they need and are feeling ok about working from home full time again. As a digital agency, we’re perfectly prepared for it all, especially after the first lockdown.

We have a great office, but have always adopted a flexible approach so can adapt pretty easily. Over lockdown, this planning exercise is largely to check that everyone is feeling OK and doesn’t feel too isolated, but we’ve always been keen for the whole team to discuss what they’re working on it, as gives everyone, including the directors, a chance to absorb knowledge from various departments. Always learning! 

Scrum done, and it’s down to work. We’ve got four new business pitches on the go at the moment and I’m involved in them all, so I liaise with the teams and ensure that everything is moving forwards in the right direction.

Our client base is pretty varied and over the last year it’s got even more mixed; the unusual working situation has actually made us even busier as people look to refresh their online offering and market themselves in new and more sophisticated ways. 

After this is done, it’s time to down tools for a while and take over the home-schooling as our eldest is isolating - he’s not ill, but his whole class got sent home. 

The evening is spent in front of the TV - during the first lockdown, I became slightly addicted to playing Call Of Duty online so it seems apt to play it again now we’re in another lockdown - some late nights ahead shooting bad guys!

Tuesday

The weather is amazing, so I meet Andrew, our new business development specialist, for a run. I’ve known Andrew for years and am delighted he’s joined the team - he’s going to help us expand nationally and build on the great work the team has been doing over the last few years.

We'd normally play badminton but, with the courts closed, we’ve decided to pound the pavements. It’s a great start to the day as we get lots of fresh air and can talk about some of his main targets over the next few weeks (once we’ve sat down for a rest!).

Back at home, I revisit some of the new business work then spend time with the dev team, devising training plans to keep everyone upskilling and ensuring that they are up to date with new processes and technologies. We discuss trends that are particularly relevant to our clients and get some great ideas bounced around.

The afternoon is all about awards, as we’re shortlisted for a couple of Northern Marketing Awards. We scooped the Prolific North Small Digital Agency of the Year Award two months ago so are hoping for success tonight - and have a couple of other awards in the pipeline too. Even though we can’t party together, we’re setting it up as a digital event, with everyone logging on from home to the virtual ceremony - we’re all getting glammed up and ready for the off. 

Success! We get a Highly Commended nod in the Best Small Budget Campaign category for our Sweet Growth work with Kandy King, which is described by the judges as a “well-rounded campaign, which surpassed its targets and had superb results”. My wife and I enjoy a few drinks to celebrate along with the team. It would be rude not to!

Wednesday

The day starts with a Zoom meeting with an agency in London - we’re partnering with them to deliver projects and increase LinkedIn connections for a series of golf clubs. I’m an avid golfer, having played since I was five. I’m lucky to love everything about my work - but having a passion for a client’s industry does add a bit of an extra insight and enjoyment!

After a lunchtime walk with the family to get out of the house for a break from work and home-schooling, I start looking through CVs. We’re in the process of recruiting a new mid-senior developer and it’s pretty exciting, as there are some very strong candidates. I then have our formal weekly meeting with Andrew and the other two directors, Julaine and Kat, just to ensure we are on top of all sales, appointments, opportunities and proposals. 

Most of the evening seems to be spent discussing the US election. There’s so much riding on it and although I’m not hugely interested in politics, I’m pretty invested in this. We all should be. Plus, it’s fascinating, from a human interest point of view, to see just how opposing parts of America are. There’s nothing united about it.

Thursday

Today are the annual reviews for the team (they were going to be yesterday, but we moved things around in case people had sore heads from Tuesday night). My fellow directors and I have spent a great deal of time on this, we have a thorough review and training programme.

Working in digital, it’s vital that everyone is kept up-to-date with the best possible tech and is comfortable and happy with the way that their career is progressing. We’ve grown a lot over the last few years and I’m delighted to say that we are still a very tight team: it’s so important that everyone is able to bring their full selves to work and enjoy what they do. That’s when you get the best out of people, after all.

After work, I’d usually be coaching a local kids’ rugby team, but it looks like we’re going for another long walk. I usually enjoy dinner after work in Hale or Altrincham - there are so many fantastic options to choose from! But in the meantime, I’ll grab some fresh air and look forward to when we can get back to some sort of normal.

Friday

A breakfast meeting with the rest of the ownership team, Julaine and Kat. This is normally managed over a slap-up breakfast at our favourite café, so we’ve all ordered in a good breakfast delivery as a treat while we chat on Teams. The meeting is a long one as we have a lot to discuss - finances, projects, staff and expansion plans are all on the agenda. It’s our 21st birthday next year as well, so we’ve started planning ahead for what we can do to celebrate this milestone and everyone who helped us reach it.

After the meeting, I take time to code review and QA some work before it leaves the studio. It looks great, so it’s a very enjoyable way to round off the week. 

After a couple of post-work beers over Teams with the rest of the crew (we’d usually be buying the team a drink or two in the pub in Hale village), I’m ready to call it a week and sign off with an early night. Lots of walking to do this weekend, after all.