Hi Chris, let’s start with your background before Signol.
I’ve always worked in managing projects and programmes, mainly in the HR and Digital Media sectors. It’s a career path I fell into after completing my masters, but it quickly felt like a good fit for me. I have been very fortunate in that most of the projects I’ve been involved in have been based in and around Europe with diverse partners and stakeholders. I enjoy that side of things very much, and it’s something I experience at Signol too.
So, how did you get involved in Signol?
It was all down to a chance encounter in summer 2019. Keen to move into the tech sector, I’d been working through a fairly in-depth programming course in my spare time. One day I was studying downstairs in my co-working space and Signol was there… they were looking for a new office and just so happened to be trialling the one I was based out of. We got talking and, even though Signol ended up choosing a different office space, we kept in touch. A few weeks later and they were looking for a PM for a new project they’d been awarded all about exploring Signol’s applicability to road transport. I was intrigued by what Signol was trying to do and so I decided to make the switch to the start-up world with them. I took on the project and I’ve been here ever since!
How has your role at Signol evolved over the past 2 years?
It has evolved significantly. I started at Signol on a small pilot project looking at applying Signol to road transportation. Having gotten to know Signol quite well through that I then started getting involved in other areas of the company, running a sales campaign in aviation and a couple of InnovateUK projects. The past two years have seen a particular focus on maritime, and I’ve worked very closely with Harriet (Signol’s Head of Maritime) and the wider team to explore Signol’s application to that sector.
Nowadays I work across Signol’s two main verticals, Aviation and Maritime, helping to ensure we have the resources and processes in place to deliver customer contracts as we scale.
Since you’re keen on the future, how do you see Signol evolving by 2025?
What I can say for sure is that it’s going to be an exciting few years. There’s a huge amount of interest in what Signol does, so it doesn’t feel like a stretch to say I expect the customer base and team size to have expanded significantly. Looking back to 2019, Signol today has more than three times the staff it did then. As we scale beyond Series A I think it’s fair to expect the team size to triple again over the next 3-year period.
You have lots of experience under your belt. What do you think sets Signol apart from other workplaces?
I could say the “culture” and that would be right, but it’s also a bit vague. To be more specific, at Signol there is not just a clear understanding of where we are now and where we want to get to but also, and this is where team culture comes in, how we want to be along the way. Signol today is a team of highly skilled and dedicated people that is working really effectively together. Colleagues are supportive of each other, they’re encouraged to get involved in discussions, express their ideas and provide constructive feedback wherever necessary.
You’re setting people up for success, but what helps you be successful?
Staying focussed and organised. Working in a startup, it’s normal to be pulled into tasks that wouldn’t normally be part of your everyday work. Until last year, we weren’t in a position to hire a Commercial Lead and so collectively the whole team would chip in to support sales-related work. In doing so, however, it was important not to lose sight of our own key objectives. To that end, I found it helpful to block out chunks of time in the week where I’d make sure I’m keeping my own key objectives moving forward (helpfully, Google Calendar has recently rolled out a ‘Focus time’ feature to support this, which we make good use of here). Blocking out time for our own priorities helps to make sure we get the time we need to work through core tasks without meetings or actions being scheduled in the way.
How is it to be one of the first to meet the new employees?
It’s great. First days can be both nerve-wracking and exciting for people, we’ve all been in that position at one point. I spend time with new employees to help set up and familiarise them with key software and systems that we use here over at Signol. New colleagues joining Signol are always highly skilled, and with diverse backgrounds, so it’s nice to get some time with them early on to hear all about how they got here.
Before you go, tell us, how do we keep that inbox clear?
An exciting topic… OK, well, one of the quickest ways to get control over your inbox is to keep newsletters out of it. At best, newsletters are occasionally useful but never urgent. At worst, they’re unwanted clutter. Keep them out of the way by adding the sending address of each received newsletter to a filter that automatically directs them to a side folder away from your inbox. Then, get into the habit of scanning through the newsletter folder just once a day for a few minutes. There’s more you can do to help keep things clear and tidy, but this is a good start.
Finally, here's a little trivia with Chris:
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Signol is a software platform that draws on insights from behavioral economics to encourage employees to make more efficient decisions. Signol provides personalized feedback through multiple communication channels, as well as data analysis for managers. In aviation, Signol aims to use behavioral "nudges" and incentives to reduce pollution and fuel waste and cut operating costs.