A Week in My Life: Paul Brown, MD, 6B
6B is a growing digital agency specialising in complex web and app development projects, based in Wakefield - with offices in London and Setúbal, Portugal.
Paul launched the agency in 2013, and has led the team in the intervening years, setting ambitious goals for growth. Alongside his team, Paul works with forward-thinking clients across services including creative branding, web and app design, bespoke digital services and AI.
Those clients have included ITV, Candy Kittens, NHS Foundation Trust, and a wide range of local names.
We found out what a week in Paul's life looks like.
My week doesn’t really start on a Monday morning, I prefer to get my task list completed on Sunday evening so that I can come into the office and hit the ground running. There is something quite cathartic about knowing what priorities you have and mentally preparing yourself for what you need to get done.
I am an early riser, and usually get to my desk for 5am. Fuelled with overnight oats and a good strong coffee, I know I have a couple of hours ahead of me to get on top of things.
It’s then onto the meetings that I have. We have an excellent senior leadership team that I make sure to catch up with so that I know what others have going on in the week ahead. It’s important that we are all working towards the same shared goals.
We've made a number of appointments in recent months so I set aside some time to focus on our new recruits. The first thing any new team member does is have an informal sit down or video call with me to understand why we exist and where we are going as a business. I think it’s important that we share our story and our ambitions for the future. We are very open as an agency and want people to come on the journey with us.
The rest of the day for them is filled with informal chats, treats and a virtual lunch with their teams. Over the first few days of being with us, we want our new recruits to feel comfortable and welcomed and to understand our culture before rolling their sleeves up and getting into the work.
For me, it’s then onto my development call to solve any outstanding challenges we have with a digital transformation project. As we are now taking on more complicated briefs, we are also bringing together our shared skills to overcome problems. It is great to have trusted talent that you can call upon when you need to.
We are currently interviewing for a Director role and so the next few hours will focus on that. It’s important that we get someone with the right skills, but importantly the right cultural fit too.
In the evenings it's family time, and then once the kids are in bed a bit more work before I call it a day. I am working hard and grateful to have lots on the go at present.
I've planned eight video calls today. They will run back-to-back. The first is a scoping call around partnering with a primary health tech provider. We have a number of exciting projects in this sector, and it is a specialism that we can see has huge potential. Next, a catch-up with the HL7 UK board ahead of the next forum. We are pitching to present a side project that the development team has been working on during our allocated R&D time.
I then have a ‘scrum’ with an NHS organisation on a digital transformation project I'm staying close to. Although I am busy, I am very aware of the need to be up-to-speed on what is happening and what we are delivering for every client.
My other calls are with development pods in 6B. Today they are tech architecture, threat modelling, tech feasibility and integration design.
A lot of my time is spent with the development teams and helping solve technical problems. This is what I enjoy the most - the passion for technology runs through 6B and it's one thing we all have in common. It’s great to hear the enthusiasm from the team and to hear what ideas they have to build beyond, which is our philosophy.
I always set time aside to have a gym day (well 'garage gym' at the moment) on a Tuesday. I am a firm believer in healthy body and healthy mind. I always make time for exercise - there are no excuses.
We have our commercial meeting and operations meetings ahead of the board meeting next week. There is lots of change at 6B at the moment as we execute our 'build beyond' strategy, so the Senior Leadership Team is meeting more regularly to maintain momentum.
Commercially speaking, we are fortunate we have a solid pipeline of 'right fit' opportunities to be pursuing. Having a focus on new business has always been a priority and this year will be no different.
In relation to the operations side of the business, we are rolling out new operating standards and changes to resourcing which will have an impact on delivery. We are also reviewing milestones and progress across ongoing projects.
Having the time to review and to consider is incredibly important to us. We want to make sure that we are all moving in the right direction. More importantly, given the current Government guidelines, we want to ensure that our employees are safe and well. Maintaining regular contact means we can offer support when needed.
It's been snowing heavily which makes for an interesting start to the day. I have to catch a train to King's College Hospital to discuss feasibility of an innovative healthtech project. Thankfully, I will be at the same location for the full day.
Speaking with the client and watching the news, it’s amazing to see how hard the NHS are working during the pandemic. Knowing we can contribute technology which can have an impact at such a key time is really exciting. Although I can’t say too much about the project right now, watch this space!
After a full day of meetings, I battle through the streets to get the train home and then it's another gym day, so I am back in the garage again this evening. As well as keeping fit, it gives me time to think and to wind down after a busy week. Still, it’s not over yet.
The first point of call today is to catch up with the Finance Director. We've invested significantly in the agency over the last two years and it’s great to see how that is impacting on our growth.
Once I have finished with the FD, I have a number of development calls, and then catch up with Fabrice, the Managing Director of our Portugal office - to review progress so far on the go forward strategy.
I then catch up on my emails and make sure that everything I've committed to achieving has been completed for the week. Although it's been incredibly busy, that's how I like it. Having so much going on really drives the energy at the agency and even though we're working from home, there's a real eagerness to get on and support each other.
At the end of the day we have our ‘team stand up’ and it’s good to see everyone's faces and run through shoutouts, positive news and learnings from the week. A few new ideas are presented from internal teams and there is a really good vibe on the call. Everyone is excited about making fearless changes and pushing forwards this year. It’s a good way to end the week.
The final call leaves me contemplating what we have on next week but, for now, I’m looking forward to spending time with my two kids, Oscar and Nova, at the weekend. Although lockdown has brought its challenges, it's also made us appreciate family time together. I’m not sure what we will get up to but I’m sure it will include some games and movies. Then Sunday will be around before we know it and my planning will start again.