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Episode #70 Interview with Jonathan Milgate

29 March 2022 | 34 mins 40 secs

On this episode of the NTP Podcast we interview Jonathan Milgate for the second time. The last time we spoke to Jonathan was over two years ago and in that time he has transitioned into his role as CTO at Camplify. Hope you enjoy the episode!

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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.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • (00:23)

    For those that don’t know you can you share a bit about yourself and your role as CTO at Camplify?

  • (04:00)

    How did your team grow?

  • (10:45)

    Would you say being passionate is what has lead you to this point in your career?

  • (12:40)

    What is the biggest challenge you have faced going from technical to CTO?

  • (16:50)

    Tell us about your new office space in Wickham?

  • (19:20)

    What was your experience completing an MBA?.

  • (24:40)

    What’s your biggest takeaway on networking?

  • (25:53)

    Are there any other types of education you found successful?

  • (28:25)

    What do you see for Newcastle tech conferences in the future?

  • (30:31)

    Events in the local area.

  • (30:50)

    How can our listeners get in touch with you?

Transcription:

James: Welcome to another episode of the new tech people podcast uh this time our second time for a returning guest Jonathan Millgate he is now cto at campfire it’s probably one of my favorite type of interviews um revisiting we had a chat three years three probably three years ago and you were a software development manager at Anditi?

Jonathan: Head of development operations yeah so a devops sort of role yeah.

James: yeah and now progressing to ctrl yeah obviously uh it’s really nice to see that growth for individuals with the new newcastle tech scene i don’t think that sort of growth was there prior to three years ago that you know to grow with a startup to go from that role going to a startup that startup going from a small team into an ipo late last year pretty amazing journey.

Jonathan: Yeah i think newcastle has changed a lot in the last few years um there’s a lot more tech going on or maybe there always was and we just didn’t see it it didn’t sort of bubble to the surface but there’s definitely a lot happening at the moment.

James: Yeah and for those that haven’t got the original episode don’t know who you are obviously cto at camplify.

Jonathan: Yeah so I think as james mentioned was head of development operations at Anditi doing well that was one of my first uh management or leadership roles outside of being an individual contributor and now moving on to cto of a really small team and it’s very small startup initially three years ago it was i think three of us a couple of developers and myself and we had a chief product officer at the time just trying to make what we could with what we’ve got um and now we’ve grown as you said we’ve publicly listed at the end of financial year the last one entry sorry um and now bigger and better taking over the world we’re enlisted in four countries uh australia new zealand spain and the uk you can rent vans from us in any of those countries um and yeah a team i think 15 now so it’s uh it’s up and up in the last few years yeah it’s crazy journey.

James: And it’s a very , I guess it’s heartwarming for me to see that growth in not only newcastle but individuals within that scene and the opportunities that have risen for people like yourself.

Jonathan: Yeah well i think there’s a lot’s happened right the the first time i heard of Camplify was actually at one of the new tech startup events and Justin our ceo was presenting and saying we’ve just gone through this accelerator and and now we need to find a cto and I was at that event and i was a Devops Engineer at the time I think that’s what i want to do I want to be the CTO of this sort of a company and then you know four or five years later now here i am i mean it was a bit of a journey but i wouldn’t have expected five years ago that even this sort of thing would have happened in newcastle.

James: Yeah i completely agree, you mentioned that journey. What was campify’s tech team like when you joined that?

Jonathan: It was really interesting we just uh sort of moved from offshoring so initially Camplify was kind of a wordpress site where we’re just testing and how can we get hires and owners and if this a real thing you know doing some lean testing um and then it was offshored to nepal where we had a team of developers over there with a manager over there managing it sort of all offshored and outsourced we brought one of those developers out to australia and he’s still in the team now he’s actually just gone back to nepal first time since the covert uh since the the lockdown so he’s back there a couple days ago but that’s grown uh we brought in a team lead essentially a guy that’s now our technical lead he knows the product inside and out he rewrote a lot of it in ruby on rails and made it what it is today and we had him and and bibeck from overseas uh and and a couple of other guys just just kind of running the show at a really small very very lean um and we’ve just grown out since then as the platform’s become more popular.

James: Yeah that’s really interesting you’re going to that little team part for a second there growing a tech team from let’s call it team four cpo cto lead dev technical architect right and another dev. How did that team grow from there what’s what’s the next steps from that is it hiring more engineers? Is it hiring into that infrastructure space? Is it hiring some support? What was your journey?

Jonathan: So when we started we still had some engineers in in nepal and the infrastructure was already set that was okay for us for the short term it was reasonably well automated we had some issues that didn’t scale that well but with the size we were it was fine um so the the goal was really to bring in more developers uh into and build a local team i really wanted to build a local collaborative culture in newcastle build and we’re we’re proudly Newcastle company we love being here we are our headquarters as far as i know will always be in newcastle um so we wanted to do something around that so bringing you more engineers and more engineers we had a technical lead we had guys from some other guys that had a lot of experience so we could bring in juniors we brought in someone from uni we brought some people who didn’t have any experience we took some risks on some people international people bringing them in just growing out any way we could the the newcastle tech scene is is growing but it’s it’s uh it’s vicious it’s probably not the right word but it’s there’s a there’s a lot of demand high demand for software development so i had to explore different angles and and really try to build a reason for you to want to work at campfire not just uh build a tech team yeah cool and dig into one little part there building software engineering team right.

James: Yep challenge across the country at the moment challenge internationally at the moment definitely within australia lack of software engineering talent for the amount of roles available building an engineering team hiring mid to senior level engineers that can come in hit the ground running probably ideal for everyone sure but you nearly can’t do it within any sort of budget these days you’ve mentioned hired seniors and then juniors to build them up that’s the way i encourage teams to build at the moment you talk about that experience there your your experience going with that it’s not easy to do but i think it’s probably the i guess definitely the most economical way to build a team.

Jonathan: I think that’s the key to do it you can’t just bring in juniors all the time that that’s the gap where i think there is there’s there’s definitely a desire and a need for mid to senior level engineers but there are a lot of junior engineers available the problem is you need to help them you need to hold their hand and get them up to speed most of them will come up to speed quite quickly if you’ve got the right culture so for us it was obviously pinning ourselves around the technical leads and getting some of those things sorted getting our culture sorted getting our practices sorted and bringing in engineers from underneath i’ve got i don’t think many people in my team we’re still ruby on rails on the back end i don’t think many people in my team were ruby on rails engineers before they started here um and they’ve come across and have enjoyed it and learnt it and now stay with us and and do it.

James: And you def and you’ve kept you know you’ve seen use your technical leads on board as well create yeah opportunities for them as well. So that’s the other thing you’re bringing someone day one or really really early to be a technical lead they’re doing everything they’re writing every single piece of code they’re building all the infrastructure how do you then keep that person engaged as as your team grows and their requirements they maybe don’t need to be across everything but they need to be having you know the t shape be really across a lot of things but then have a depth of knowledge in one particular area.

Jonathan: That’s kind of how i’ve grown out the team or tried to grow out the team based on who i could find and and the needs of what we’re trying to build.

James: Yeah i love it i think it’s um personally i think that’s the best way to build an engineering team at the moment are really good seniors people that can help as you said set the practices in place that’s right and then mentor.

Jonathan: Yeah the juniors and bring people up and if look if they as you bring people up if the seniors get bored or they want a different challenge and can find something else there’s a lot out there you have to support them and say thanks we’ve done a great job no hard feelings if you need to go and move on to the next stage of your life we’re not providing what you need you’ve got to allow them to do that and bring other people up behind them.

James: Yeah nice all right we’ll talk about the team building that you’ve obviously gone on your own journey you started many years ago more technical role and move into a devops operational type role and now into that cto role.

Jonathan: You make it sound like it was overnight yeah such a long journey it really was I think that at the night where as I said I saw justin present what Campify was and I kind of that really solidified for me what what i wanted to do and how i wanted to get there and that it was a thing you know i was thinking i was in a devops role i was kind of leaning away from more technical work i was i was training i was doing some aws training and thinking alright i’m going to do some certification here learn more about AWS and and we were going down the puppet and chef routes and all this infrastructure automation and my heart just wasn’t in anymore i couldn’t find myself i couldn’t encourage myself to study it enough and then we started talking about teams and structures and devops came along and it was breaking down the barriers between dev and ops and how does that work and how do cross-functional teams work and that i became super passionate about i really enjoyed how that worked so i found that much easier to to educate about and to learn more about and immerse myself in that world so i guess from there i’m a pretty determined person i i decided this is what i’m going to do and i’m going to do everything to in my power to make sure it happens so you know enrolled in university to do a master’s degree and a boring old mba but that gives you the breadth of knowledge that i thought i would need as a leader and really focus on things like leadership and and follow the the local tech startup scenes because those are guys doing it doing really interesting things still being hands-on but requiring that entrepreneurship.

So my journey has been pretty long and since then i haven’t stopped i finished my MBA a year or so ago i’ve done some courses with mit to try and do more about design thinking and ideation and more about product side so i’m learning and growing every day as a person. Myself and Camplify’s driving me to do that i need to do it as a startup we’ve got to do everything um but i’m really enjoying that and and i miss the injured individual contributor a bit here and there um it’s nice to you know i’ve written this bit of code i’ve written this feature and now it’s out in public people are using it um but at the same time you know i was at the pub the other day i was actually literally wearing this shirt and the the girl behind the counter was pouring me a beer and she said do you work for campfy? i’m like yes oh we’ve got we’ve got a van on the side we love it we love the app we love how it works great work and i was like oh that’s you know i did that yeah yeah not really but you know i had a part in it.

James: So yeah nice um it sounds like passion was the big part i guess people come up that tech route you can decide to say super technical people are passionate about staying technical but you can still earn a lot of money yeah you’re always technical um or especially these days you can be you know senior tech role and more than the cto of a startup you can definitely do that or you go that people are out it sounds like passion or you know.

Jonathan: Yeah I was I think I didn’t try and kid myself anymore and say this is what i really want to do and this is what i’m interested in and that made it easier to to work on but as you’ve said this there’s plenty of routes now and if i think in the past it was always this is if you’re a tech person this is your career you know you start as a junior mid senior then you manage a team but that’s not necessarily the best thing to do and if you’re the best technical person in your team then maybe you shouldn’t be a manager because being the best technical person in the room delivering tech is so important to the business that if you take that person out you you have to refill that position or you have to kind of fill that gap they may not want that they may you know we’re sort of all conditioned to think that management is is that is the goal but it’s really not.

James: I think that’s tipping so definitely you see now there’s lots of uh are there’s technical lead roles paying two three hundred thousand dollars especially in the us um those roles in australia are starting coming up yeah there’s lots of security roles around there for the same sort of thing you’re still really hands-on still doing things getting paid big bucks getting um enjoyment out of it and still being hands-on technical i think that’s that’s a fantastic thing.

Jonathan: Yeah completely agree I don’t think people management’s to be on end all and if if that’s not your jam and you don’t want to do it it’s definitely not for everybody it’s a lot of work and it’s coming from an individual contributor to a management role you notice the differences there like when you’re an individual contributor you are you’re you’re about you’re judged or you’re you can get satisfaction out of delivering a thing like i did this thing whereas a manager it’s sort of about how quickly is my team going how is my team working and there’s a lot of people problems there you know there’s emotions there’s motivations and if you’re not interested in that sort of thing you’re going to really struggle with it.

James: I’ve got two different ways i’ll start with well I’ll start with the challenge what’s the biggest challenge that you’ve experienced going down this route and going from I guess technical route to CTO?

Jonathan: That’s probably one of the biggest ones is that going from individual contributor to manager to like i still find myself most days writing some sql or pulling pulling some reports and getting my handset and go oh yeah great i got that i did that i can still do it i still got some some kicks but not not really the biggest challenges right now is hiring and getting the right people and keeping them keeping them involved keeping the culture and keeping them engaged the last two years have been really tough on everybody but technical teams i think we’ve it’s been assumed that you can just work work remotely which for most part you can but if you’re a highly collaborative team that’s a big change from working as a group uh in in a building to working as a group remotely so that’s been a really interesting challenge to try and solve yeah i think it’s a challenge for a lot of companies i think remote’s a thing.

James: Yep i feel like remote will stay in some form specifically not going away hybrid will stay in some form i feel like a lot of companies were forced into fully remote because of covert didn’t have the practices in place have been reverse engineering them over two years to try to build them in place some companies have got there some companies don’t the companies that have got there built those practices in place culture how to build culture remotely how to communicate how to collaborate remotely like if you built that on the fly.

Jonathan: Yeah and you’re there you can run fully remotely but a lot of companies yeah a lot of companies forced into it without having so we we i i’ll admit we weren’t there when we started i built a collaborative locally collaborative team we love whiteboarding sessions we every day we play board games at lunch and go to the pub for lunch and and our team was really built around this collaboration and a group of people who want to work together we started luckily for us we some of the age of our teams and and myself included you know there’s people with children and there’s people with outside of work commitments so we we introduced some practices like if someone’s working from home if they’re remote then everybody acts like they’re remote if you’ve ever been in a meeting where it’s four people in a room and one person remote you know how excluded you can feel so we basically said you know if you’re in front of a laptop and uh some person remote is maximum of two around a laptop unless you’ve got a nice setup like this.

So we we started implementing those just before we also had some rules around a couple of members in our team have kids they need to pick up in the afternoon so we limit when meetings can end it can start and end in the afternoon so you know 2 30 people got to go pick up kids so we don’t have meetings during those times and that i think that sort of cultural thing helped us grow the teams in more diverse ways than others have but then so at the start of Covid we didn’t really have a lot of those good practices we had some and we’d been dabbling with it but covered forced it down your throat you know we all one day i know i hired a guy the next day we were all told we had to go home so he’d never done any stuff with us we hadn’t generated any of the social collateral that everybody else had so we had to really work to make sure that the new people understood our culture and understood how we kind of interacted with each other and how we worked you know you heavy users of slack heavy users of jira and zoom meetings all those sorts of things we we had to build in and and drive that kind of culture online we tried to pick up what we were doing in the office and make it make them a remote which worked to a degree but then we had to change some things so it would work a bit better remotely and now we’re coming into this hybrid environment where you know we’ve got this really nice new office people come in more so for collaboration than anything else or you know because we’ve got a good air conditioning and it’s hot outside sometimes but given the last two years there’s quite a few people who who don’t you know who potentially gotten lonely you know lots of single people living in an apartment in the middle of the city and you’ve not been able to go out and do anything for the last two years so come in and collaborate and get some social interaction as well.

We’ve got a great ping pong table we’ve got the kegerator and the the street fighter machine um we find a lot of a lot of people are coming in to hang out and and get some social collateral back and then work more collaborative remotely even.

James: Yeah nice yeah as you said um you know having an office there for people to come can tick the box for those people.

Jonathan: Yeah that’s right it facilitates some social interaction that i think is really important for collaborative development teams if you’re not working together you know individual contributors are giving delivering things but it but you’re going to get a better product especially a better product if you’re working with designers and QA if you’re all working together trying to define solutions rather than working as individuals.

James: Yeah I agree and you can work together remotely just depends on you know how that works yeah you’ve got to have a good set up and who those individuals are that’s right i feel like in the future and it might be three or five years from now you’ll get people that want to work remotely and they’ll look for remote first companies or remote only companies and you get people that want to work hybrid or want to work.

Jonathan: I think yeah I think hybrid i don’t think we’ll we’ll go back to fully in the office I doubt you’ll ever see five days full-time in this industry at least there’ll be some industries where that has to happen for reasons but um i doubt in our industry you’ll see a role that enforces you to be in the office five days a week maybe a security or a high level you know good luck and you’re going to struggle right because people don’t want to maybe look there’ll be some people who do want it they want to separate their work and life and that’s the easy way to do it you know most people don’t have a separate location in their house to work so for me i don’t, i’ve got a little study and that’s if i’m playing online games with my friends that’s where I play and that’s where i work now so separating those two things has been was really hard over Covid and I had to sort of stop doing some occasionally to to try and get that work-life balance back not being in the same room constantly but yeah in the future i don’t see i see full remote definitely 100 it’s really interesting to see the big the big players in silicon valley now saying if you’re located in the valley area you need to be in the office three days a week and the kickback from that is not surprising you also see you know two years ago lots of organisations said you never need to be in the office again so lots of people have moved out people don’t want to live in big cities if they don’t have to i don’t want to that’s why I live in newcastle i know people and gone out rural you know they’ve got the the tree change and now you’re saying they need to be back in the office again i think you’re um you’re gonna be surprised what’ll happen there or maybe not surprised.

James: I don’t think you’ll be surprised yeah and those people just look for fully remote roles and that’s no just look for fully remote roles yeah mate we talked about the challenger um you also mentioned that people desire and the growth that you’ve gone on. MBA is an interesting topic.

Jonathan: Yes definitely it’s a bit of a contentious topic sometimes yeah i’ve i’ve not done one myself i’ve heard different various opinions on them but you can get your experience sure well i guess so for me it made a lot of sense personally um i wouldn’t recommend it for for everybody um but for me it made a lot of sense because one i was an individual contributor as i’ve said many times i was writing i was being a devops engineer i was in a technical team being really technical and i wanted to prove to myself and to others that what i want to do and what i can do and what i’m good at would be these sort of management leadership roles there were things i needed to learn and things i needed to focus on but because it’s such a wide area um where do i start the best thing for me was to to to pick this to do an mba to do something that’s really broad and not focus on a particular area because there’s a lot of those masters in it’s kind of degrees and that’s not what i wanted i wanted to focus on business economics accounting hr organizational psychology those sorts of things that i focused on and the the main reason that i chose an mba university degree is because for me i need the goal i need that end goal to say you’ve got an assignment due next week you’ve got an exam due at the end of the month you’ve got uh two years left to do this thing and you’ll have this piece of paper so for me i needed that end goal i needed something to focus on to drive towards if you’re not driven by that if you’re more interested in just and you can enforce yourself to learn in other ways and by all means go and do that you don’t need to do a degree you don’t need to rack up all of the help that i have um you definitely don’t need to do that um for me it facilitated those things and i mean writing a prospect prospectus for camplify when we went live it was nice to be able to say on there that i had a master’s degree in an mba.

James: Yeah for sure i think also being the CTO of an ASX listed company now having that having that behind you it’s definitely helped facilitate some conversations around you know we’ve built invoicing systems we talk about accounting a lot because we’ve got a two-sided economy you know we’ve got owners and hirers most off-the-shelf software doesn’t cater for that it’s one way or the other so being able to understand some you knowl being able to read pledges and and understanding the the logic and the conversation there has really helped.

James: Yeah cool the experience actually going through the mba whilst working full-time i’ve heard a lot of work been referred to as the divorce course.

Jonathan: Well i took my time yeah um i initially i was doing two subjects a semester yeah and then i went back to one subject a semester as i kind of moved into that space and i had I secured the first role as a software delivery manager i was like okay i don’t need to prove to the world anymore or myself i know i’m doing this and i know i can do this what i need to prove now what i need to do now is just learn so rather than forcing myself to to get through it quickly i took my time and really learnt and sat down okay what am i trying to learn here what am i actually absorbing and what am i not how do i best learn this stuff so i took my time but yes if you power through it just to get that that piece of paper at the end you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons but also yeah it’s it’s a lot of work it’s it’s every night every weekend um it’s a lot of work.

James: Yeah but you feel like it’s been a positive if you had your time over again yeah you’d be doing it again I would do it again yeah cool you’ve mentioned after that continue learning again you’ve done some training through MIT.

Jonathan: Yeah reasons behind that is just that continued growth into that people management into going from a technical role to trying to not trying to to being that cto of a list of companies i think so yeah so being the cto of a public listed company is is quite daunting um you know there’s a lot to do there’s a lot of people out there who who are more experienced than i am we have helped bring this company up but it’s not something i’ve ever done before um there’s things i’m missing there’s things like i don’t know everything um and having a very strong technical background i wanted to to get more of a product-based background more user experience focused so doing design thinking and ideation sessions with mit was i think that’s probably why i’ve gone in that direction and of course it doesn’t hurt that you know you can tick that box a little says yeah i’ve studied at MIT. Yeah um but it’s that was more of a kind of a nice win on the side it was really more about focusing on what can i learn out of this what don’t i have a good basis in and design thinking is something that i think is super important to us especially to a company like Camplify and something that will help me moving forward really focusing on the user yeah i agree um i also think it’s the beauty of the world we’re living in at the moment uh for somebody who’s living in newcastle yeah to have access to a course run out of mit yeah i think there’s um you know i know harvard does yes he’s doing the same yeah um access to those yeah i guess the lecturers are at the highest level um it’s just it’s a thing of beauty that that wasn’t had vaccines yeah it wasn’t just elections lectures were really good we had people come in who spoke about how they do ideation at lego and and at big companies like gm and ford and we we did some group work and and i think some of my group had people from att from microsoft from from really large companies in the US andIi meanIi was working at 2 a.m with them but uh it was worth it if it’s a short course it was worth it to to interact with those sorts of people and get different perspectives on how things work was very different from you know three three or four people living and working in the us across the US and someone in australia was quite an interesting course.

James: Yeah nice i feel like that networking part you’ve always been you know a big supporter of networking being positive for your career i know as you mentioned new startups many years ago yeah networking conferencing you’ve been involved with uh devops days 2018.

Jonathan: Yeah that was the last time we spoke I was just about to launch devops days well i think we launched it we were just about to host devops days 2018 2018 feels like yeah it’s a million years ago right a long time ago mate your what’s your biggest i guess takeaway on networking is it you know career-wise that’s a tricky one hey um it’s it works um as much as people don’t like it and and it’s a very old-school way of doing things we’ve got a really great community here in newcastle around this slack channel nui um and around some of the meetups that we’re doing and it’s it’s really highly collaborative there’s a lot of people there that that just want to hang out and talk shop with each other um i think what we want to foster that and and grow that and it’s it’s it’s a really nice way to um to kind of build a community around what we do as people rather than you know who we are yeah networking um has definitely taken a hit over the past two years i feel like many people spend so many hours on zoom through the day you got that zoom fatigue you come 5 p.m 5 30 the traditional time for a networking group or a meet up and people don’t want us in front of their computer at that time there’s potential dinners with families or kids or um just plain zoom fatigue yeah so that work-life balance you know you spend all day in zoom meetings the last thing you want to do is another zoom meeting yeah correct so i feel like um that’s taken a big hit um and there’s potential now as we move sort of post pandemic i don’t know if we’re exactly postponing is there ever going to be a post but uh there’s definitely a an openness to that face to face again is that is that what you’ve seen is that what you’re hoping for i’ve i have we’ve definitely seen it you know we’ve we’ve been doing a lot of engagement sort of activities in in the camplify office recently it was harmony day on monday and we had everyone bringing platters from from you know traditional things that they would normally eat and share and it was great a couple of weeks ago we had pancake day we had the ceo and the cfo cooking his pancakes on the barbecue and we had almost the entire organization in the building it was great to have everybody back and and doing being collaborative in the office again but it’s interesting to see like you said the hybrid model is probably the majority model so if you look at the bell curve you’ll have people who want to work fully remote people who want to work fully in an office but the majority of people will want a few days in and out of the office.

James: I think that’s kind of what we’re seeing it’s still early days.

Jonathan: What we have seen though is that the meetups are coming back they’re getting good attend attendances they’re getting 20 30 people each time we’ve done some surveys around to see what people are interested in what they want to do there’s talks of different sorts of meetings or conferences or you know you can see concerts coming back because listen out was on last weekend and a few thousand people there people want to get out and experience things together again so i guess on the back of that we’re looking at doing another conference like we did in devops days for devops days in 2018 we’ve been trying to run it every year since but something’s got in the way yeah i know you and i’ve discussed this for probably three years in a row yep at least what can we do for a large tower large-scale tech conference in newcastle i think there’s multiple benefits there’s potential bringing people to the area but also being able to bring some high-level speakers to newcastle for the that’s the plan so that’s what we tried to do last time i think devops days was was more of an excuse for the organizers to uh to bring something to us that we wanted to see normally we’d have to go to sydney or brisbane or overseas to have the experience that we wanted to have so we thought let’s try and bring this to newcastle that’s what we’re trying to attempt again uh you have a really great international speaker who’s sort of tech adjacent who can talk to us about maybe building teams or culture or diversity these really key issues that are not necessarily tech only but they’re they’re they’re required or they’re important for tech teams internationally renowned hopefully someone will come in we’ll be able to find someone to bring them in and then have the local tech scene sort of show its worth so this is what someone here is doing there’s people here working from atlassian for for github or gitlab and and some of the big players are working in newcastle what are you doing do you want to come and talk to us about how that business works or how you work remotely or what does remote work look like for you and and then pure technical uh sessions as well this is how you do x with python this is how you do some some security thing um and have like try and run that full gamut for everybody in a perfect world that runs 2022. that runs this year we’ve kicked it off i’ve got a good group of organizers working with me to try and do something we’re picking uh early september for that to be a thing and now i’m canvassing local businesses and uh seeing who’s who might be interested and if they are what what what would you like it to look like what would it take to for you to send people to this thing yeah um so we’re very very early days but we’re pretty confident that uh it’ll be a thing and it’ll be a an in-person conference only we’ve attempted some things with remote we will record the sessions and and show them later based on um being allowed to especially for international speakers but uh it will be full in person to try and get this community back.

People i think are pretty keen now to to hang out and talk shop and and you know be with each other and socialize um and this is hopefully a great opportunity for us to do that i think it’s really exciting opportunity for newcastle technology community as you said meetup scene’s been yeah it’s had a troubling couple of years just because it’s been wrong it’s been everywhere right um this is not newcastle specific um so i think it’d be super exciting.

James: I think if people are keen or if they’ve got some ideas around a newcastle technology conference is it best to email you?

Jonathan: You can probably get me on Linkedin or if you’re on the new slack group if you can get me on there or if you’re not you should be then jump on there and you can always dm me on there but yeah if you’re interested in helping out or doing whatever let me know i’m also really interested to see what you might want to see at this sort of a conference like what would you like it to be how can we cater it for you um because at the end of the day i want you to come and we want everybody to to hang out together and socialize there as well and make it a i’d love to make it an annual thing and and try and make it part of what is newcastle now.

James: Yeah i think it just brings that newcast technology community as you said many people are now living in newcastle working fully remote or working for international or sydney base or um melbourne-based companies so they’re working fully remote living in newcastle what what can they say by interacting with others what can they bring to the table or help what conversations can you have like what what constraints do you have what what are your biggest challenges maybe we can uh help you out that way or we can share experiences that that improves everybody yeah i feel like it’d be great for the newcastle’s technology community yeah i hope so fingers crossed long way to go there lots lots to do oh these these things don’t come about by themselves.

Jonathan: No they don’t and and the previous time we had a great great team everybody working really hard towards the end there um you know we ended up with 182 people i think attending over the two days which is fantastic for newcastle um we’re going to try and uh get more than that this time i won’t say numbers some some people have thrown out some pretty big numbers there and it’d be amazing if we could get those but yeah i guess we’ll just have to wait and see it’s it’s still very early days yeah cool the other point obviously that growth from you know where you’ve gone from to cto if people are keen to sort of pick your brain on on that experience or your experience going you know through that technology career uh linkedin newsletter that’s the best look i don’t think there’s a silver bullet for it like i’ve been i don’t really believe in luck but i worked really hard to make sure i was in the right place at the right time yeah and i think that’s what it’s about um i’m very determined so decided this is what i wanted to do and drove everything towards what i wanted to do but i’m more than happy to to help out and to talk to anyone about it that’s essentially what my one-on-ones with my team are each month is how are you doing where do you want to go how can i help you get to where you want to be whilst you know um helping Camplify go to where it wants to be.

James: Yeah from my perspective from an outsider’s perspective watching your career um i think that that you knowing what you wanted and being passionate about that it’s a much easier for you to put in the hours go the extra yards push yourself in your own knowledge when you’re passionate about an area i’m trying to fit a square peg in a round hole because somebody tells you that’s the career path you should take or that’s where you might earn the most amount of money that’s.

Jonathan: Yeah if if you’re if you’re out for the dollar then you know you you i think you you’re doing the wrong thing if you can we’re so lucky at the moment that especially in tech if you’re passionate about something in particular you can be super successful in it so regardless of what it is there’s so many opportunities out there.

James: yeah i completely agree mate thanks for coming on for our second time.

Jonathan: yeah thank you for having me three years ago and it’s been nice as i said should we schedule in another three years from now hopefully we’re still both around but yeah i appreciate uh appreciate the opportunity to have a chat again.

James: And really it’s great from a Newcastle technology perspective to see somebody who started their career in technology here and then have grown to an opportunity of a asx listed company.

Jonathan: Yeah CTO oh look thank you for hosting this stuff and helping the community grow i think it’s been great i can’t wait to see you at the conference this year.

James: Yeah we’ll be there for sure. Cheers mate bye.