Episode #62 Interview with Daniel Pludek

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On this episode of the NTP podcast we interview Daniel Pludek about his education to date, his transition into a CTO role and advice he would give to those starting out in their tech career.

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Show Notes

Here you can source all the things we have talked about in the podcast whether that be books, events, meet-up groups and what’s new in the newcastle tech scene.

Time Frames:

00:35 – Can you give people an overview of who you are and your career to date?

01:33 – What got you into technology?

02:19 – Where did that take you after university?

07:14 – What was your experience working in the US?

12:44 – Is there a particular piece of learning you think is most important?

15:45 – What appealed to you about this current opportunity.

20:21 – What do you think the value of university was for your career?

25:53 – Are there any other types of education you found successful?

34:00 – What are your opinions on the Newcastle technology scene to date?

37:20 – Are there any productivity tools that you use?

39:40 – What is some advice you would give to people starting out in their career?

Transcription:

James: welcome to another episode of new tech people on today’s episode we have daniel pludek who is the cto of kipp mcgrath educational centers welcome daniel.

Daniel: thanks james how are you?

James: i’m very good i’m very good mate i think you’re relatively new to the newcastle scene for those that don’t know who you are can you give people a bit of an overview of who you are and your career to date?

Daniel: sure as you mentioned i’ve been in newcastle physically for about three months i’ve been working for kip mcgrath since august of last year prior to kip mcgrath i spent approximately two years as ceo and cto of a billing solutions provider which was growing to acquisition prior to that i spent approximately 18 years working for a range of mid-size and large organisations and that included approximately 10 years in the us and canada working across most of a large insurers from both a software and infrastructure perspective also spent a bit of time in silicon valley as well with a couple of startups but decided to move back to australia approximately 10 years ago and i’ve grown my career from there.

James: nice i’m super interested in the us move i’ll dig into that in a second but if you will all the way back what what got you into technology to begin with?

Daniel: funnily enough i started studying microbiology at university i really enjoyed the maths and sciences however noticed there were no real jobs in australia and especially back then the only real jobs are available overseas when i started looking at other areas where i can apply the maths and science skill set technology stood out so roughly halfway through my second year i changed my majors from microbiology to it and finish off my degree dit focus and then went on to honours in it.

James: nice out of university where where did that take you for your  first job?

Daniel: first job out was as a dba for aeon absolutely hated the role i just could not stand sitting at a desk all day looking at code and understand why figures were off by .0001 somewhere in a database um so i did that for about a year and then moved into a professional services role with eds where i was able to work on a much broader range of technologies nice did that role also have any customer facing element it was customer facing so i was based on customer site initially at colonial bank helped with the technology merger when were acquired by commonwealth bank through that contract i was offered a full-time role with eds and that took me to ericsson general motors commonwealth bank advanced overseas uh where i worked on xerox transformation in canada which ended back to general motors in canada and then rolls across the u.s.

James: all right i’m going to go into that usp one sec but you just made mention of something there that purely technical role moving into a role that’s got a customer-facing element to it my gut feel is the people i talk to that get those higher level positions up into the sea level or management and then c-level positions in technology have that really strong people element and that communication part to what they do as opposed to being purely technical do you think exposure to that in an early role for you helped in that in that growth?

Daniel: i think you need to have a breadth of skills having the customer facing skill set does help with the growth because it does teach you how to deal with different stakeholders and how to communicate and how to communicate with non-technical people i found coming as an introvert and from a technical role the ability to listen and understand helped a lot especially in customer facing experiences so i found even in my early roles i’d inherit the problem customers because i’d sit and try to understand what their actual problem is and work for that problem with them and that would normally turn them around so i think yeah technical or not doesn’t matter so much it’s being able to understand what is that problem you’re trying to fix and then leverage what you have available to you as far as skills experience other people to be able to resolve that issue yeah and that’s technology as a whole right it’s an enabler and the technology itself what whatever platform you’re using whatever code you’re writing in the the biggest solution and you know what is that problem you’re solving is is the issue right oh exactly and you know google’s made life easier over the last 20 years whereas 20 years ago you’d have to figure stuff out for yourself whereas now you can find queries half code you’re looking for answers other people’s experiences that shared experience makes that technical expertise less relevant and that’s why it’s a softer skills combined with technical expertise but much more important if you do want to progress.

James: yeah nice i i think yeah roles like that early on in somebody’s career where you get exposure to solving customer problems and those communication the opportunity to listen have those conversations understand what problem you’re trying to fix go a long way in in helping people’s technology careers grow.

Daniel: absolutely and i find the variety in those kind of roles keeps you interested because you never really know what problem you’re going to deal with week in week out so it feels like a new role all the time you’re constantly learning and developing whereas if you do the same thing week in week out you become stale.

James: yeah i’ve seen it in large organisations where people have been in the same role for way too long and they really lose their edge and effectiveness so the variety really does help yeah i don’t disagree i think the conversations i have with people about somebody that’s been in the same organisation for a long period of time i think you can still have career success and continue that growth if you’re changing roles within the organisation or exposure to different roles different teams within one organisation i think where people can get stuck is being stuck in a very small niche within one organisation for 10 plus years it becomes very difficult for them to then jump into a new organisation exposure to new tools new systems new teams new problems that becomes a real challenge.

Daniel: absolutely um you know once you stop developing you stop learning it really is time to start looking at that new challenge so you can continue you know everybody’s got their own drivers be it personal hobbies crew eyes and not everybody wants to move up professionally but once you stop learning and stop being challenged you know it becomes much harder to wake up in the morning and go to work.

James: i completely agree that’s a nice little tangent there mate back to this us story so canada drove you then to the us and you said mentioned some startups in silicon valley i’d be super interested to hear a little bit about that.

Daniel: so eds being a large organisation at the time i was able to move around quite a bit within their global organisation i then moved to a subsidiary called soulcorp now seoulcorp was purchased by eds they specialised in policy administration software i somehow passed the actuarial exams that were required for the consulting role and by default inherited north america as a primary consultant so what the role entailed was managing customers such as prudential met life going into the organisation understand how they set up their tables and their rule structures and basically work out a plan to migrate them from their legacy cardboard systems to our new product that then led to help develop training materials help the sales team and work with larger parts of the organisation so it was good skill sets but i was able to develop spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between toronto and various u.s cities hp then acquired eds and the environment was a bit unstable so i started looking for another role and then ended up getting a role with another company but did a very similar role so canadian based company couldn’t sell a product in canada because it wasn’t bilingual so i present managing all of our customers in north america and customers such as axa ing so large insurers in their head office and that was running professional services so project management business and make sure the customers were happy then that led to working with the pre-sales and sales teams because i was able to develop quite deep product knowledge and i was probably the only resource at time but knew the entire product suite very very well so it allowed me to be quite adaptable and that really exposed me to a lot of organizations and other startups and industry in north america which didn’t did lead to a new role when i decided to come back to australia um i landed a role with a silicon valley based organization that wanted us establish themselves here got sent back to north america which kind of defeated the purpose of moving back to australia did about six months it wasn’t quite the right role for me um so i ended up resigning coming back to australia and then started working for some larger organizations afterwards.

James: yeah nice well so that’s that’s the u.s story that brings you back to australia and then you’re in melbourne to start with in melbourne.

Daniel: to start with um first role was with optus yeah it was a very loosely defined role at the time yeah but optus just signed a large contract with anz to replace all of their infrastructure globally i was handed 99 contract breaches as a start of my role managed to work with fans ed in getting through that which then opened up opportunities to move into the header delivery role nice and then we’ve moved into the C level roles since then took quite a few steps since then um so after that i moved on to an insurance company where i helped build the technology governance model renegotiate most of their vendor contracts went to a mid-size organisation after that um and spent quite a lot of time in asia so bangkok hong kong um spanish teams in singapore and china so i only had one australian based resource yeah really enjoyed the role exposure to a lot of different cultures a lot of different ways of working and it was an interesting organisation because it was in the clearinghouse smart card gating type technologies finished up fair went back to anz i had an opportunity because of relationships i was able to build dwell at optus spent over three and a half years at anz helping with fair audit and risk and compliance programs turning around via delivery in those areas helping with their strategy working with very very large budgets i was very successful role where we turned around one of the most challenging divisions to being one of the best performing divisions for accurate delivery as well as help protect anz so i manage the dlp program for their social media strategies so some of their large programs once got fat under control i then moved on to energy australia where i initially started off managing reporting data and governance but then moved to a chief of staff role which was at first exposure to very real executive level roles.

James: on that note what do you think the biggest skill that you would have had to learn from moving up that chain to getting c level is there a skill in particular or learning in particular you think is most important?

Daniel: i think the biggest learnings are hey you have to be confident if you’re not confident in your ability to do something nobody’s going to be confident in you yeah listening is very very important so the more you listen the more you understand and if you understand you can then address challenges and take on the work that other people don’t want to do or can’t do so i find the biggest opportunities and the biggest jumps i’ve ever made has been taking on the problems that have been lingering for years getting them fixed which then drives that exposure and i found doesn’t matter what role you start at in the organisation if you can fix their big problems you’ll move up quite quickly.

James: okay okay when you’re moving into the c-level roles i’ll be keen to get your opinion on the importance of staying technical i don’t mean technically why you have to be the person writing writing the piece of code but technical enough to be able to have relevant conversations with the the technical people of your you know within your teams but can you get your opinion on that.

Daniel: i think as i mentioned before having a breadth of skills is the most important aspect because i’ve worked for some brilliant technical cios who couldn’t engage their peers or the ceo or board well and that caused a lot of issues i’ve also worked for cios who had no technical skill set whatsoever which means very strange decisions were made in terms of strategy and approaches but having that technical aptitude technical understanding understanding where the market is going and still being able to have the technical discussions with your own teams whilst being able to translate that into business and sort of business is absolutely critical look i’ve managed development teams i’ve never been a developer so since i left university haven’t written a line of code but i still need to know enough to be able to understand the issues challenges technology selection how that can impact strategy why you’d take one approach over another approach so that technical understanding is still critical in cto cio roles.

James: yeah okay i agree i completely agree and as you said building building the respect for the team up uh having somebody that knows what they’re talking about again don’t have to be the person writing the code but need to understand you know why we’re using particular technologies. i think it’s super important and you can’t be an expert in everything so having a good basis on everything is good and then you have those experts that you can dive into the detail with when you need to yeah nice and that sort of gets us to to our current role and you’re in the cto role with kip mcgrath can you talk to me about you know what what appealed to you about this opportunity?

Daniel: it was an interesting one because with every role you never really know what you’re getting yourself into until you start the role the education industry is one that’s always fascinated me because everybody learns differently and education really is the key for people to do well regardless if you want to go to university or want to do a trade but understanding and having that solid basics will help you longer term so working in a role where there are tangible outcomes and you know we can see that children are being helped was a big motivator for me my previous role was issuing electricity bills to people nobody likes to get electricity bill accuracy is important but no one wants to see it so a role where i can see those tangible outcomes was very attractive i also read a lot last five years of asx releases so i had a broad understanding of where the strategy was going and i could relate to the strategy so role’s quite appealing from where the organisation wanted to go and i think that education space code affected a lot of industries education being one of them i know that the business model originally was built around a lot of face-to-face education and covet obviously affected that how how do you think i guess technology’s influenced the change today like right in the middle of the covert or a little bit post covered now how do you think that journey and going forward that technology potential of online learning is going to affect kip mcgrath as a whole the business model the edge so kip mcgrath was very insightful and they were already building the online platform prior to covered so when cover did hit there was the online platform available so the impacts were not as deep as other industries moving forward the online learning face-to-face apps there’s a whole range of opportunities it’s really about understanding what the customer wants how they learn what do they need and then being able to cater to their need so i think covert was one thing there’s always going to be a place for face to face there’ll always be a place for online and there will be other methods and mechanisms moving forward so it’s really understanding how best to help the kids learn and provide it in a way where they can access it and making it as accessible as possible.

James: yeah cool i think um we had a chat with anthony cto of the university on the podcast quite a while ago now i’m talking to him about education not at children level but obviously at university level and how hybrid approaches might be the way the future where it might be not a full university degree but a university degree with added smaller courses some some part delivered online some parts delivered face-to-face and that sort of hybrid approach or tailored approach to the individual so it sounds like you’re taking that same approach at a child level right.

Daniel: absolutely it’s um at the end of the day it’s about getting the best outcomes for the student everybody interacts and learns very differently and you need to be able to cater for as many of those people as possible and you know even university is a great example back when i was at uni if i missed a class i’d have to go find a friend who actually made it to the lecturer get their notes and try to catch up when i went to university in canada it was a bit better because the lecturers wrote the book so you read the book you didn’t really have turn up to class whereas now you can do it online you can do catch-up you can watch videos you can go to campus if you want you don’t have to so those options make it much easier for people to learn and that’s what we’re trying to capture.

James: mate well on the topic of education education i think is a interesting topic for technology professionals what used to be common and on every job advertisement was must have degree is changing and evolving uh education obviously has a place in society and university is a big part of that but i guess you’re let’s start with your experience you’ve obviously done a couple of degrees now and gone back and then done different uh smaller courses as well to to continue your education i’d be keen to get your opinion on the value for let’s start with the value for university for your career.

Daniel: look value of university is a funny one it’s very valuable for that check box where people require a degree as you mentioned it’s less important these days but um a lot of roles still want you to have that little check box yeah i’ve seen roles where they want the masters check box it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get their best candidates just somebody who’s had the time to do a master’s degree personally i really don’t care if somebody’s learnt themselves they’ve done a degree they haven’t had time to have a degree it’s really about can you get the outcomes and are you good at what you do and you have the right attitude to learn and continue to develop yourself and move forward so i think it’s good that it’s becoming less important as a requirement but i think until the entire business world changes their mindset there are still roles where it will be limiting if you don’t have a degree regardless of what that degree is.

James: yeah cool you must have seen i’m assuming i make an assumption here but you must have seen some value in it to obviously go back i know you’ve done smaller courses with cs charleston university and also harvard can you talk to me about i guess why you did that and then the value you got from that?

Daniel: i do the short courses because they address a specific interest or a specific need so if there’s an area i do want to delve a little bit deeper into um the short courses are a good way to just go and brush up that skill set i also like looking at a lot of the certification streams because what it does it gives you a good insight into industry best practice standards what other people are doing so i don’t see it as necessary i think what you do in the workplace is much more important the experience you gather from real world experience is more important but it’s also valuable to be conscious of what the industry is doing and if you go to a course and learn one thing you’ve got your value for money out of that course so it’s just about staying relevant and understanding the trends the problem with courses and a problem of degrees are they’re designed for what to do in perfect world situations and no company works in a perfect world situation so the formal education aligned with an ability to use common sense adapt adjust you know change tactine approach when needed will get you the right outcome so it’s a tool along with your other skill sets.

James: yeah i think one thing that’s come up on the podcast in in previous conversations is university uh teaching the ability to learn um and you made mention before people coming into into a role and being able to learn on the role and being able to adapt have you found that as a beneficial part to your education.

Daniel: i still remember when i started my first job i had that oh [ __ ] moment because nothing that i learned in university was applicable to that job at all and i had no on the job training i got painted a thousand page book and say here it is go for it which is probably not the best induction process ever but yeah i believe over time universities and formal education providers have understood that they need to work with industry better and that may have changed but there is still a bit of a disconnect between what you do learn and what you then need to apply in a job and it’s a combination of the two that are required yeah i personally know from a university newcastle perspective they don’t they make a lot of effort to integrate their education with the industry with programs like working integrated learning but not only that but uh involving other involving the industry within their courses so i definitely see that’s a it’s a growing trend and again a necessary trend because what you’re learning in a book isn’t necessarily what you see in a business exactly and a lot of the time the lecturers are taking a very academic approach and they haven’t spent a lot of time in business either so it’s very hard for them to teach what is current in business in north america what i really liked was a co-op program where students after their second year will go spend a year within an organization and learn skills and when i was working for the startup in toronto we would actually hire a lot of those developers who’d come on board because um they wanted to learn and vote work performers so the benefit for them was they worked for us for a year they went finished their degree they came back to a job yeah and it really benefited all parties i agree i i’ve seen different variants of that um but it’s in newcastle and elsewhere on those sort of those either work integrated learning or the internships and things like that again you got the right attitude there it’s a big leg up in you know landing that first role absolutely i just prefer internships pay v students or the time i can yeah what they do because they are turning up they are doing a full day’s work and a lot of time yeah after a few months they’re just as effective as somebody who is getting paid great.

Daniel: mate outside of formal education is there any other forms of education either you’ve personally done or seen successful.

Daniel: absolutely i spend a lot of time on youtube and google not watching gaming videos but actually looking at topics so you do learn from other people other people’s experiences etc so it’s always a good valuable resource if you’re curious about something want to learn about a technology you’ve got a strategy in mind but you want to validate it it’s always valuable to spend part of your time looking at the market looking at whatever people are doing looking at what people are saying um and just keep that research going yeah i completely agree i i guess youtube and google are the absolute wealth of information right and you can dig quite deep and get down a rabbit hole really oh absolutely and yeah you could probably do a certification these days just by watching youtube videos you’ll pick up enough knowledge enough pointers of then where to look when you do want to research it but yeah the providers of those formal education need to get better because there’s a lot of free valuable information out there.

James: yeah i completely agree as a as a tangent here again um you’re in a full-time cto role at the moment um and i say you’re also involved with out-of-the-box.

Daniel: yes can you give me some context around that out of a box was a start-up about two years ago focusing on cyber security more specifically around the advisory and audit remediation portion of it they’ve subsequently moved on to be distributors for certain products where products are good they’re doing well overseas and they have no entry into the australian market what i liked about it was twofold so one investing and it means i had to improve on my cybersecurity skill sets to make sure my money is going to be well invested uh which is actually what triggered the cissp and the other charles sturt courses yeah and then the second aspect is the um people running it and doing it really understood their um founders they know their stuff which gave me confidence to fill that gap especially in the mid market most of australian businesses are mid-market organisations they don’t have buckets of money everybody’s targeting the tier one and what i liked is they were targeting that mid-tier market in a cost effective fashion to help these smaller organisations meet regulatory standards as well as best practice because there are so many standards globally for cyber security and data privacy that mid-size organisations just don’t have the legal power or a sizeo or enough skill set within themselves so this way they had a nice niche to fill that gap but i don’t take investment very lightly but it did help me significantly improve my cyber skills despite having applied them at anz and other places because i did have to do my due diligence.

James: nice, i guess that sort of brings me to another topic which i talk about with a lot of tech professionals is a side project or a side hustle outside of your day-to-day work and the value that can bring back to your core core role so obviously your cta by day and by night and i guess the role probably doesn’t stop right but you having a side interest from that security perspective and involvement there definitely would help your role at camera right?

Daniel: absolutely  so by looking at the side hustle and understanding what best practice is not just in australia but absolutely globally i’ll then able to use those same concepts and principles at kip mcgrath and understand you know based on our organisational risk and strategy what is that right size standard and then also help kip mcgrath develop those policies procedures and practices without necessarily relying on somebody else because i was able to gain the experience on this side so although i’m not actively involved in doing any work i still make sure that the people who are are doing everything to best practice so it does help me quite a bit my day-to-day role is it something you’d recommend for for i guess tech professionals throughout their career to have something or to stay i guess technical or have a a hustle it’s not about a hustle or technical i think the more you can learn and the more experience you have be more valuable you become for an organisation and i’ve worked across various industries i think i’ve got almost all of them under my belt so and every industry has a slightly different focus you know some you’re developing solutions taken to market others you’re just running bau others you’re working with vendors because it’s heavily outsourced but by having interests in other areas allows you to bring that into your current role and this one is a great example where you know we are probably more secure than other comparable organisations because of those skills but you know i’ve also brought significant software development experience from other places and was able to apply those principles so it just helps bring the broader skill set and broader experiences.

James: back to your data no nice i don’t think what you mentioned there i think there’s a lot of transferable skills right industry to industry and take something out of one industry and apply to another one a lot of those core principles are the same and you don’t need to have learned to just be an industry specialist in one space right?

Daniel: no it’s actually funny because i have a debate with recruiters quite a lot because a lot of organisations want people of industry specific experience whereas i said the industry is technology yeah i mean i t it can be applied across every single other industry so it shouldn’t necessarily matter if i have never been in banking prior to a banking role because realty is the technology problems are very very similar it’s about understanding the problem and then working away the best way to fix it it doesn’t matter if the business is doing something else day-to-day technology is that enabler for the business i completely agree i think uh you’re gonna help avoid our group think there as well um from hey this is the way our industry or this is why our company’s always done it bringing in a fresh set of eyes experiences from another industry and being able to apply to a different vertical can really have a lot of success i think it’s the same thing with building diverse workforces right trying to bring people of different backgrounds um together uh you can definitely have its advantages in avoiding group thinking and avoiding that this is the way we’ve always done it this way we have to do it um absolutely look diversity of thought is critical for any team if your whole team has the same thought process you’re not going to get any innovation at all and you know prior to august last year i had no education industry experience what i do have now is i understand industry quite intimately after six months you really have a good understanding of how the business works but what i can do is bring in best practice from the other industries be it you know banking be it development be payments be it clearinghouse and all of that does help bring build a robust business.

James: completely agree um now you are up in newcastle and then covets the fact of this how what have you learned about the newcastle technology scene today do you have any opinions on let’s start with there.

Daniel:  i hear there is a newcastle technology scene to be fair i’ve only been in newcastle since january so i haven’t been able to experience the scene yet the skills of the resources here are very good trying to hire good resources that are available in market is difficult because it seems like everybody has a job and they don’t typically like leaving them but from a skill set perspective there’s a good level of skill set here as far as the industry or how dynamic the industry is i’ll find out probably in the next six months yeah i think it takes time right um and again coverts had an impact on that as well um events and meetups obviously uh haven’t come back the way they were before when it comes to that again talent your thoughts on how covert and now remote work will affect technology teams going forward is remote work something that your team’s buying into absolutely i’ve got some of my team coming in once every fortnight or so but there’s no mandatory requirement to come into the office i’ve actually got a very remote team now so i have staff members in geelong ballarat sydney central coast as well as newcastle the benefit i think is being the changing the mindset of organisations where you can find the best talent regardless of where they may be and some people love coming into the office other people prefer to work remotely people have family obligations so be as long as you focus on the outcomes i really don’t care if somebody’s on the beach drinking a pina colada as long as um yeah the outcomes are met yeah i’m a big supporter of the remote working but personally i like going into the office yeah i think uh i still we’re still figuring that out and learning right uh people that have gone fully remote uh are enjoying it some of them and some of them are wishing for that more face phase and more of a hybrid approach so i think uh it’s an evolving evolving space uh as people sort of figure that out figure out what works for them um and then the people that were fully remote and got forced to do that whether they were set up to actually have success and do that correctly and have that same productivity look i think the challenge is setting up that support network in the structure where if you’re remote or in the office you still have that ability to communicate and integrate with the team so most organisations we’re heavy users of slack teams actually pretty much every tool in the market but what it does it allows us to have the groups and communications and face-to-faces you know we still run our daily stand-ups where we all discuss where we’re at so you know the main commitment is 15 minutes nine o’clock every day yeah uh we’re all together face-to-face um so you still need to build that team culture it just becomes a little bit more challenging where you’re not all physically in the same location but it is absolutely doable that’s man um you mentioned tools then um if we swing that back to more of an individual focus are there any software tools or productivity tools that you use to keep your day life managed like my biggest productivity tool is coffee yeah after coffee um it’s a combination so i live and die by my calendar yeah i need to know what i’m doing when where prepare for my day the day before etc from a talking to the team managing people managing expectations i find slack in teams probably the two biggest um time savers yeah where i can just shoot somebody off a quick question get the answer quickly while in a meeting communicate the answer quickly in that meeting send you know very short um you know questions updates to a broader group so i find a lot of those instant communication tools are extremely valuable and probably the biggest change i’ve seen in the last few years.

James: yeah nice when it comes to following people of reading information we’ve mentioned google before and you’ve spoken to me before the podcast started a little bit differently uh or not differently you take a different approach to some people rather than following individuals you you spoke about following topics can you provide me some context on that.

Daniel: yeah look everybody’s got their own perception of the world and how businesses should run so following specific people i find you don’t get that breadth of opinions to then be able to make your own opinion um so i rather focus on gaps in my knowledge things that i’m interested in trying to understand who’s doing what where so by being broader gives me multiple information points so i can then make a decision whereas if i follow just specific people i’m just getting their view on anything which is a very limited view of the world.

James: yeah nice so instead of following a particular podcast or a particular book for you know one person you look at a breadth or a cross section so i will just see who is discussing that topic or who’s got a trending topic going and i’ll listen to as many different views as possible nice if we have the wheel it back until a younger version of yourself or somebody starting out a technology career who’s got aspirations to be you know the cto of a of a company could you provide any sort of one two three pieces of advice you give to people.

Daniel: yep um yes don’t listen to others i’m sorry especially early on i was silly enough to tell people i did want to be a cto and they’re like oh there’s hardly any roles you’ll never do it um so first thing is just ignore all of the negative people the second bit of advice is you really do need to have confidence in yourself and take a risk-based approach to everything so don’t be afraid to fail just chip away at issues and keep moving forward and probably the third biggest advice is just make a decision if you make a decision you can then respond to that decision and it’ll keep you moving forward if you’re too afraid to ask questions ask for clarifications um to afraid to understand what you’re trying to achieve you’re never going to get there and yeah i’ve sat in meetings where project manager is giving an update somebody asks a very simple question they can’t answer the question because i haven’t been confident enough to ask their teams those questions to understand where they’re going so you can’t get an outcome if you don’t actually understand why you’re trying to achieve that outcome and how you’re going to get there so there’s no such thing as a stupid question just keep asking and that way you’ll be confident in what you need to do next.

James: nice if somebody was uh keen to ask you a question on that on that note is there an easy way that they can get in contact with you is it linkedin?

Daniel: always the easiest way it’s the one advantage of having a unique surname very ironically is another daniel plutec in the world but he’s not in it so pretty easy to find.

James: nice mate i appreciate your time today thank you very much for coming on the podcast.

Daniel: thanks james

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