What’s your role at Diffblue?
I started out at Diffblue in testing and product management in 2017, where I built out the test process and was the product owner for Diffblue Cover, and my role has gradually changed as the company’s evolved. I jumped from tech to the commercial team and am now the Director of Customer Success. My role involves maintaining relationships with the companies that have bought Diffblue Cover and making sure they’re getting the most out of their license.
What do you think makes Diffblue unique?
The personality of the company has changed a lot over the last couple of years; it’s become a lot more stable, which is part of the natural growth of the company, but it’s still very young and high-energy. The Diffblue work culture is shaped by a workforce that’s academically experienced, but still like a start-up, with much less of a rigid 9-to-5 structure; staff have more freedom to choose their working hours, for example. Plus we have Nerf guns and scooters!
What do you think is the most exciting thing about the future of software development?
I think this is a hugely interesting time for tech and people who work in tech. The big tech companies are ticking along like usual, but a lot of companies in the non-tech sector with relatively straightforward technology solutions—like ride-hailing systems and house-sharing e-commerce websites—are decimating the market and completely changing the way people do things. For people who are interested in tech, it’s a great place to be right now. It’s also very hard to say what the future will bring.
What development in technology has surprised you?
I’m surprised by the trend towards blending work and life—specifically, the always-on culture that has accompanied the spread of smartphones. I remember my first job: at the end of the day, you left the office and that was that. In later jobs, I got a Blackberry and a laptop, which made me more accessible outside of work hours, and now I have work apps and email access on my personal phone. It’s been a gradual shift. I think it’s also an issue that will continue to evolve because currently a lot of companies like you to bring your own device, which majorly conflicts with both privacy and security, so we’re in a strange middle ground right now.
What’s a technological advancement you’re not surprised by?
Music and video streaming. I remember when peer-to-peer file sharing was just taking off, and along with it came piracy, and the music and film industries immediately started threatening to take people to court. But what they didn’t realize was that people weren’t trying to get free music; they were just trying to solve the problem of how to listen to music on their computers on-demand. I remember sitting down with a few friends and asking why nobody had solved this problem yet. Once streaming and legal retail services became available, almost everyone switched and paid the nominal fees, and both customers and film/music companies were happy.