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Episode #50: Interview with James MacDonald

1 Sept, 2020 | 44 mins 25 secs

Welcome to Episode 50 of the NTP Podcast! On this week’s episode we have flipped the switch and our first ever guest Mat Finch now takes a turn as the interviewer. We find out more info on James MacDonald, why he started the podcast in the first place and what has brought him to his current role as Director of NewyTechPeople.

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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.

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  • Transcription:

    welcome everyone to episode 50 of the new tech people podcast we’re a bit different today so if you might remember me back from episode number one uh james and i sort of kicked the thing off and we made a pact back then that if he actually made it this far and and got into 50 episodes uh i’d come back and interview him so our special guest today is james mcdonald james good to have you thanks for having me on the podcast bit different is it on the other side it is uh and uh making it fifty episodes is very slow a couple of years in right two years two years just about two years ago yeah we’re in there the lift and go offices for what is now the lift and go offices uh and now we’re over at inks on paris street so it moving up moving up okay so i mean guess for those that don’t know you or if this is the first time they’ve listened to your podcast tell us a bit about yourself um who are you where have you been what’s your journey yeah let us know so obviously james mcdonald hi uh i’m a recruiter tech recruiter in newcastle co-owner of newey tech people brand um started a podcast two years ago background before recruitment was marketing uh that was my sort of life prior to recruitment and then sort of fell into felony recruitment we might go into that if you want a little bit later we’ll touch on that for sure so yeah kicked off this podcast two years ago and the whole objective really just to try to shine some light on what’s going on the newcastle scene highlight a few of the the personalities or both yeah the personalities and also the projects that are going on newcastle so it’s been going for two years now which definitely wouldn’t have happened without all the people behind the scenes if this was me editing and me putting it out uh we wouldn’t have made it past episode five i don’t think so uh thanks to janae little who is uh the person behind the scenes who edits everything films everything and uh records it so shout out janae yeah good stuff i mean so tell us about the transition from marketing to recruitment like what why did that occur why did you decide to go that way yeah i don’t think anyone sets out to be in recruitment right that’s right yeah a bit of a dirty word huh it’s it is a dirty word we can touch on that we will we’ll go into that um so yeah my life was i did yeah my whole life was marketing i uh did a bachelor of business at newcastle uni i majored in marketing went to sydney live down there for six or seven years online marketing manager uh an advanced company and then through the gfc we’re writing another pandemic now that uh that company went under joined robert half which was a recruitment company i wasn’t doing any recruiting there but i was online marketing managers i played an seo ppc email marketing was hot back then i was doing a bit of that learning myself some html okay i thought i knew what you know how to code at that stage and then my wife and i felt pregnant and moved back to the central coast to be close to family and i was commuting to the city for a little bit on the side i’d built a few websites um but i built a few websites so what wordpress sites are still around one of them’s still around um only because i haven’t shut it down so i couple a couple of training websites and we sold some online training programs and i sort of customized the back end of it set up some drip fed content and that type of thing and during that time i was spending a bit of money with facebook so we were making a reasonable amount of money i spent quite a bit of money there with facebook got to know the had a small business at facebook in australia and just funnily enough he was doing some consulting with four sites recruitment and uh they wanted to launch a tech brand and he was doing some consulting there and you have some guy that just moved back to the coast didn’t want to be commuting to sydney anymore and that’s how i fell into recruitment they’re like hey do you wanna have a crack at this recruitment thing you seem to know a bit about technology and that’s where it started rest is history huh okay and then you went out on your own in 2017 off the back of that yeah mate um i had some really good times there sort of learned my trade if that’s how you put it yeah enjoyed my time there and then as my family was growing uh three kids now i was i was coming up to baby number three i was uh i got presented an opportunity sort of go out on my own um start my own thing um it was probably always probably always i guess like goals of mine at some point to sort of have ownership of something and it was right well maybe not right time right place like i was i literally left and went out on my own two weeks before my third baby was due right and uh must be scary it was scary it was scary um i don’t mind taking a risk my wife would probably think otherwise uh there’s some yes but it was a risk with a with a there was a there was a bit of a a net there so i did have it wasn’t it was a model where i was provided a salary as well when i don’t mind so it wasn’t completely i had ownership of the business but there was a safety net there from a salary which was the only reason i think i was allowed to do that yeah yeah and you’ve been involved in the startup scene so i guess it’s a bit bit like starting your own startup really and yeah building that up yeah i’ve seen so when i came to newcastle i uh newcastle recruitment scene i was i was new to the party i i thought i knew what i was talking about i quickly realized i didn’t i remember uh walking into there’s two two meetings in particular that stand out one was on um software company on the central coast i walked in and i said oh yeah i know a little bit of software development i know i know a little bit about how to code html yeah i think i said how to code he’s like front end on a back end i was like what there’s what do you mean um i’ve done some basic html right i learned some html when i had to customize some emails um and like email marketing and then a little bit from a wordpress perspective i thought i know what i’m talking about here so i was quickly put in my place there and then um one meeting at the tafe up here in newcastle i went in that was taking my first ever job brief uh for a net developer and he was i thought i was going through it i’ve seen this c hash sign i was like oh see i think i know what i’m learning this learning the lingo quickly he quickly found out i’d say hush wasn’t a thing once i found out what c sharp was i thought oh i yeah i know know what i’m talking about now six years ago now so yeah well and and why technology i guess you ask you ask everyone why technology why did why were you attracted to that specifically yeah i i said marketing was my background i guess and marketing all went digital um so i had an interest in obviously websites and what was going on online from a dollar’s perspective making money was you know it was going to be online at some point in the future um and then i had a bit of an interest on you know how how that’s going to evolve what am i going to do i didn’t want to sort of be a dinosaur in my life going forward i figured i’d have to sort of move with the times and then it sort of got lucky fell into you know the the right place at the right time with four sides so yeah man it’s a little bit right place right time a little bit of hey i put myself in a position by building those sites by learning that on my own to to be the right place right time so you know a little bit of luck a little bit make your own luck yeah yeah cool yeah so but mate since then i’ve the more i get into it the more i learn i enjoy it yeah good stuff and uh so recruiters let’s talk about recruiters sometimes they’re a dirty word um i know particularly when you’ve got a recruiter showing up at a meet up or a conference and uh you know he always gets a few groans and a few eye rolls and so um i guess what are your thoughts on that but also what have you done personally to sort of you know push against that image or i guess grow and educate people around you yeah so i completely own that i think um maybe for the first i would at least be six months maybe a year i was in recruitment and if i went to went somewhere and met somebody new what do you do i’m a marketer if my wife and i went somewhere for at a party oh yeah i do marketing i wouldn’t tell people i did recruitment definitely had that sort of that used car salesman type that’s a good way to put it yeah hey it is right and and that that thought is there and it’s there for a reason because it’s a pretty shitty industry sometimes and some of the practices that people do and there’s no point running away from that but the longer i’ve been in it the more i figured out hey you don’t have to act that way um you don’t have to you don’t have to be that that used car doesn’t mean you don’t have to be sort of leeching off the industry that’s why i look at a lot of recruiters out there you know cold calling people uh you know floating resumes without you know having met somebody uh hitting people up for completely irrelevant jobs not done any homework it’s just sort of there is a low barrier to entry to get into recruitment so you can see why it happens right and people in a lot of the bigger organizations recruitment organizations are kpi’d on how many calls you make how many you know those those kpis around that which just sets up bad behavior i think so uh when i first come into newcastle market i was i was new so there was some established players so i went about it from the startup scene we started a meet up new tech start new tech and startups i think it was called back then and i know you came to a couple of our early meetings there and i thought hey if i can help build a bit of a community around this one of my mates was working at braintree at the time owned by paypal yeah he had a sponsorship budget so we got him to come along and sponsor it so he sponsored put on the beers him and force us like coast code did that put on the beers and uh sort of started to build a community around that new startups as an event probably probably went for like a year at least two or three years um over the last two years has probably been extremely sporadic if if that so i just try to help build the community i figured um if i can help build the community and i’m a part of that adding to the community then i’m seen as not not somebody leaking on the community but somebody that’s helped bigging it up then i’ll be seen in a different way and i genuinely felt better about that i was like i can feel happy about hey i’m providing value to the community here i’m not and if i’m doing that i feel good about what i’m doing i think you know in general you can sort of position yourself slightly different to what most recruiters are viewed as yeah yeah so it sounds like building community was a big part of the principles that you put in place for yourself did you have any other rules or principles that you sort of set out with and said i’m not going to cold call people or i’m not going to do the you know linkedin messages three or four times what were those sort of rules you put in place yeah i was like i was lucky that i wasn’t kpi’d like that early um so i was lucky the environment i was in wasn’t wasn’t like that so i didn’t have to go out and make x amount of cold calls um because i just wouldn’t enjoy that as well like i want to enjoy what i do for a day job and if i’ve got to come in and cold call people like what value is that no one wants to be cold called if i get a cold call from somebody and they’re not providing value to me i’m like but get you know get off my phone like i i value my time right so um i was like i was lucky from that perspective that i i wasn’t put in that situation where i had to do that other than i think it’s just you know my other thing i try to i try to think about i guess if you think about values or whatever is just play the long game as in like maybe there’s a fee or two i could have got earlier days if i pushed something a little bit harder i tried to squeeze the client hey you know you owe me this or this or that i’ll try to play by the the letter of the you know the contract or whatever but you know sometimes it’s it’s better off just playing for that long-term relationship hey you know have a little bit of flexibility here and there play for that long game hey you might not get a fee right now uh also like you know i think i i knew you i knew a lot of people like yourself for many years before ever we ever did work together and so like if you provide value to people and you build a long-term relationship and it’s not about you know can i get some money out of this person or anything like that it’s actually about just build a long-term relationship and time comes yeah you know things have a funny way of turning themselves around right yeah that’s right i think that long game um a principle or approach is a really important one i mean it applies to everything right i mean in your career and in your work and if you’re focused on that that vision or where you want to get to um you won’t compromise you know along the way and yeah i remember when we first met you know it was uh it was at one of the meetups but then it quickly sort of turned into a potential job or a potential offer and um and i did end up turning that down after you know a pretty intense process as you all remember and i nearly cried that day i nearly cried a number of times that day as well but uh i thought we’d never speak again you know after that and i just thought oh well look um that’s the way recruiters are and you just sort of you know turn them down and then you’ve made an enemy and you don’t talk to that person anymore but yeah look i think it’s been a credit too you’ve obviously focused on on that long game and and building those relationships up and you know here we are so um yeah good stuff and do you think the podcast is has been part of um i guess giving back to the community giving building that brand up um you know you want to talk a little bit about that yeah 100 so podcasts again i guess it’s probably my marketing background right i probably i probably do attack things from a marketing background that’s you know that’s what i learned forever you know 10 10 odd years and my and podcast podcast is a really good marketing meeting right the way i have approached it i like i have never sold recruitment on the podcast that’s not sponsored by you know there’s no there’s no hey jobs post or something at the end of each podcast episode there’s no me talking about me in recruitment like i try to make it very much about i guess because the audience for me our audience for the new tech people podcast is the tech community so they want to hear from other people in the tech community find out what projects they’re working on how do they get into their position hey what did matt finch do in his early career to get to where he’s at right now that type of scenario so that’s what i’ve tried to make the podcast about the community me being associated with that right like i’m not i’m not mother but theresa right like it’s not a complete just me giving it back like there’s obviously me being associated with that maybe getting to meet a lot of really influential people in the newcastle tech community helps me yeah um i also find it interesting i’m like hey as again like if i was if i wouldn’t i’d be a really really [ __ ] employee if i was to work for a big corporate recruitment company forced to kpi on cold calls and how many candidates cvs i can send out each day i just wouldn’t be good at that what i do enjoy is having a conversation with people and if i can do that on a podcast man happy days i enjoy it um it provides value to the community hopefully provides you know value to the community and then it helps build my brand obviously off the back of that so it all ties in yeah right so take us right back to the beginning where where did you get the idea for the podcast like how did this come along and i know we talked before you sort of listened to a number of big podcasters out there i mean what what was the influence i guess an inspiration for you from my marketing days i was a bit of a garyvee fanboy like gary vaynerchuk he’s a pretty influential guy in the marketing in the marketing realm one of his things so what i think was one of his it was he’s reasonable it was like a redo of his original book crusher it was called crashing it one of the examples he gives is like if you become the person like the local media place for your for your industry um you can help build a community around that if you’re seen to be a key part of that so i’m not you know i didn’t come up with this idea it’s like the podcast isn’t brand new there’s thousands and well millions of podcasts out there right like i haven’t reinvented the wheel i’ve just gone super niche i’ve gone people people why why would you do tech in newcastle why would you call it newly tech people like a texas niche b newcastle’s a niche why would you do it so nation was that intentional that sort of focus on niche yeah i’m a massive massive fan of depth over width so i go deep in something as opposed to going sort of short and sell across across everything so and we’ve built a good solid business here now we’re up to four people here now in tech in newcastle right which one a lot of people would be like that’s crazy crazy talk so hey it might have its limitations down the track but then we’ll deal with that then but yeah massive depth if you can provide if you know what you’re talking about right it provides a heap more value i if a recruiter comes in and they say they’re a specialist in tech sales marketing accounting and whatever else which a lot of them do oh yeah i’m a specialist across them like get the hell out of here yeah and they put a java developer for a javascript role and then they you know again see how she’s getting around some c hashes yeah and that gets out like that happens real quick right you get found out right so i think if you’ve got some solid knowledge in that space that you can help provide value to that industry yeah right so um you sort of touched on a little bit but how’s the new tech people brand grown i guess from you know the early days in the podcast you’ve talked about the staff growing um you’ve got any podcast numbers views you can share with us like what you’ve got some metrics you can throw we’ve got 50 episodes i know that’s good that’s good i’d probably have to hit up janae for that one yeah i don’t know the exact numbers so it’s growing oh it’s 100 it’s grown we’re looking at we’re looking at a couple hundred listeners for each episode right yeah which i think by you know big international podcast standards is tremendous right but for our standards i think it ticks the box right oh it’s great if there’s if there’s 300 people in the newcastle technology scene that want to listen to a you know 45 minute 50 episode once a fortnight for what we are doing i take that as a massive compliment i’ve got gratitude for people to actually take their time out of their day to actually listen to that i’m like hey if if that happens i’m super stoked to continue to invest in podcast continuing investing sort of help building the community um for me it’s once again it’s probably that depth over with us like hey you could do something in a broader category and maybe get more numbers but what value does that provide yeah i question it yeah okay well that’s a good lead on i mean you live locally here in in newcastle so i guess what’s what’s your opinion on the newcastle tech scene you know you’ve got this uh you’ve got these listeners you’re building up the community like where’s the newcastle tech scene at new york how’s the tech scene in six years i think six years now being recruiting here it’s growing significantly right on a couple of fold i think back in the days it would have been for candidates or so for tech people in the tech community there’s probably four big options it probably would have been the uni nib the greater and the perm as potential you know technology options or technology teams in newcastle and that would have been the options back in the days it’s like oh once you’ve done one if you leave one go to the other you’ve only got two left right small world right i got a long career ahead of me and i thought i’ve taken two oh yeah that’s right so i think i think what’s changed is is the rising sort of you know those guys are still there the rise in that sort of that level under and companies growing tech teams to you know a dozen two dozen people so you know 20 person tech is a pretty significant team and there’s a bunch of companies around there doing that and he’s a bunch of traditional newcastle companies that are now investing in technology that would have been traditional they’re like hey we’re not going to be around unless we invest in technology and then there’s there’s a you know there’s a small but growing startup scene as well when i first started here you know some of the startups that are now you know pretty solid and building solid teams were ideas or were going through incubators the likes of lift and go campify switched in decky those guys were sort of the some of those a lot or some of them went through the early slingshot programs but but a lot of those you know were ideas or one-man two-man bands back then and most of those well at least three those four i just mentioned i’ve got teams that are two dozen now right and they’ve got you know multiple rounds of funding so again those grow pegasus just raised like 38 mil i think yeah that’s right acquisition too right yeah so like they’re they’re doing phenomenally so i think the newcastle tech scene in general is really solid like there’s there’s a lot going on there’s some super intelligent people here working on some good projects like i think if i would have had a conversation with the likes of yourself or other people six years ago there’d be a point where you’d tap out you’d be like i’ve got to go to sydney for work uh you know i’m not going to get work on cool projects so i’m not going to get to do xyz if i stay locally but some of the tech being done here locally is like it’s phenomenal now it’s world class in some stages so it’s more opportunity for people to do some cool stuff locally and not have to move away yeah yep yeah i think you spot on i mean when i moved back here from the states um sort of eight years ago now uh yeah there really wasn’t too much around you know and it’s great now that we’ve got these startups that are sort of growing into the scale-up phase and building big teams and and then i guess it’s really good to see i mean how do you think that they’ll continue to evolve and how do we keep them in newcastle i think that’s that’s a big question um because it’s it’s easy for them to go or that the talent’s not here or they’ve got to tap out and go themselves to melbourne or yeah or sydney so i think i think a lot of those owners are overcast students are people that want to keep their businesses here um like if they’ve got a choice they’re going to keep it likely the challenge for newcastle is the lack of talent there’s a very real reason recruiters exist in newcastle um it’s extremely hard to hire software developers in particular yeah tech talent across the board it’s pretty thin it’s growing i think covert might might you can play with help and hinder us so help us from a perspective of i think there’s more people realizing you don’t need to live in a big city anymore there’s some you know people living in sydney to be close to work that are now able to work remotely so they moved to newcastle yep that brings talent here even if they’re working for a sydney company and they might look at options locally so i think it’ll help us from that perspective i might hinder it from a perspective of local newcastle talent who want to stay in newcastle only have had newcastle options in the past but now could potentially work for a company in sydney melbourne or the us yeah right so yeah that’s right um i know there’s a couple of guys at least a few people i think are locally that um work for us-based companies that work remotely and you know usd is obviously very attractive i think that sort of that could be a challenge again so it’ll be interesting so to see how it all plays out longer term whilst working remote has its benefits i think there is a flip side to that which everyone’s sort of starting to see with working remote that people still do have a desire for that human interaction you know when can you meet up for your team for a coffee or a little huddle or go for a beer or something like that there’s a desire still for that human connectivity yeah absolutely i mean i’ve been um at home for five months now it’s been super quick i mean it feels like uh 12 months or more in this period and um yeah it’s been a real change working working remotely in that time sort of my team’s double in size as well and so we’ve onboarded people remotely we’ve had to work out how we do sort of team building remotely and workshops and uh yeah it’s a massive change so um it’s gonna be interesting and i guess do you have any reflections of the last sort of six months in you know we wouldn’t be doing our job we didn’t talk about coving pandemic and that so what are your reflections on that i guess from both from your personal recruitment and your job perspective but also you know what you’re seeing in the market i guess yeah yeah um well that when it really hit that monday tuesday like the first week where they’re like i think we had we’ll put in a lockdown back in march was it yeah monday was a bad day yeah i had a few offers that were at offer stage verbal offer agreed got pulled on the monday a few people that had done second round interviews were all about being job pulled yeah that was bad monday went home i had a chat in their life how was the day oh not great yeah tuesday came around i think it was worth a monday i bought myself a bottle of red on the way home i think that bottle of red lasted about 15 minutes top worker my wife asked me how was how was tuesday and she sent she seen what happened and she was like okay i’ll leave you to this and about by wednesday thursday she was like all right pity party over you know get around to it and may since then has been all right like i think there was a there’s a lot of people pulling out of jobs not because their business fundamentals have changed like i’m not i don’t work with you know retailers or cafes right no companies are massively hit but they’re just a hesitation of the unknown people don’t say what’s going to happen so oh okay if we’re working from home how am i going to on board somebody roommately oh is my company going to be effective am i going to then have to put this person off in a couple of months so the hesitation so i think there’s more hesitation and unknown than anything then more business fundamental changes so after that couple of days i think it’s all sort of settled out some companies are more forward than others in understanding we will on board remotely we will you know interview on board everything remotely um and they’ve had success doing that i think a lot of companies have realized hey we do need to continue to operate and to do so we need people in our teams and to do that we’re going to have to onboard them remotely so yeah i think there’s been a lot of companies some done better than others but in general most of them are moving in that direction so on the positive side i think what it’s done is tracked it it’s fast tracked it’s it’s put five years five maybe ten at least five years right i think it would have been before remote work was uh just a norm there’s a lot of companies in newcastle and elsewhere that are like oh you have to be in the office if you’re not in the office you know you know what are you doing um yeah or we can’t trust you to take your laptop home because you know data and this type of thing is just like so it’s forced a bunch of companies to adapt and adapt quickly yeah so i think there’s a real positive there for everyone to say hey we’ve had to adapt with the times and the pendulums forced that upon us it wouldn’t happen otherwise right well that’s right yeah i mean you’re absolutely right there’s been a lot of change and you see the memes getting around you know what drove your digital transformation yeah i’ve been 19 you know so um yeah it’s it’s it’s a good thing i think in the long run it’d be a real positive that we’ll look back and go yeah we did make that that big step change but um well i’m glad you come through it anyway that’s that’s that’s a positive and yeah and newcastle isn’t really positive like we’ve got a bunch of companies hiring right now it’s a really good spot at the moment so i think there’s a little bit of nervousness again yeah because uh right now newcastle seems to be on the brink there yeah um but yeah hey i i think a lot of companies nearly across the board would be better prepared this time around yeah cool and um do you think there are any other challenges we face here in newcastle that you want to touch on yeah i think um i think lack of talent um not lack just shortage so how do we fix that really good i think there’s a car uh there’s a couple of things um but probably both push and pull like say i think uh the university is really good for newcastle i think the university does train has some really good talent so i try to keep them here back in the days again i think there wasn’t opportunities for people coming out of university to stay local they would have had to go to sydney that’s not the case anymore so they can stay local so over time the more people coming out of university and staying locally we’ll build our talent base up i think covert will help us because i think more people are realizing you don’t need to live in a big city anymore rents are cheaper in newcastle than they are in sydney right and you can live near a beach have a better life so so moving here once again that’ll add talent to the area um and then from the other side it’s just those companies continuing to progress continue to use new technologies to provide opportunities that are people want to do right like you want to be attracted to your job like and to to have you know get a good feeling about what you’re doing what your company is doing so if those companies continue to grow we’ve got some cool projects on locally people want to stay here so yeah i think that’s probably twofold there yeah cool okay well you you touch on university it’s a good segue into education it’s always my favorite topic and favorite question for your guests and um people can go back and listen to my answer but uh you tell us why do you think uh or what are your thoughts i guess on the importance of a university degree both i guess in the future for tech professionals but really just more broadly yeah i think i’ve changed if we went back and cut out my comments in this question every time i think i’ve changed it so many times i did a university degree i was i didn’t turn up very often um i i pretty much that those 10 marks that for a lot of the courses where you get one mark for every time you turn up i pretty much gave myself i’m trying to get out of 90. i’m never going to get 100 because i might go to a couple i did a lot of the stuff online um but i think that was some really good foundations the more i think about it now the more i think you know i did macro and microeconomics and things like that things that i wouldn’t not have thought about like change manager um that i wouldn’t think provided me any value but i think in these days you’re like oh we’re not actually learning that that’s probably back there it’s probably back at uni so i think it’s yeah everyone has different experiences there i probably didn’t turn up enough was probably just the age i was and the space i was at in life where maybe partying was a little bit more important to me at that stage but my university as a whole i think um i think it’s it’s not for everyone but i think it’s really important yeah i think the best answer or the most common answer that i’ve agreed with is is that it provides a really solid base level of which to grow that learning how to learn is a big one i’m a massive fan of learning in general continual learning i think university provides that it’s probably also a bit of a you get out of it what you put in so i probably didn’t have as great an experience because i didn’t put in enough but i think the future i think it will continue to be a part of the education system just not in its current format yeah i think the three-year degree or the four-year degree where you come in and you do the the degree as as laid out will continue to change and it might be it might i might change over time where you you can add in some external providers as well to sort of to build up that sort of that education portfolio um alex mendes i had on the podcast only recently he provided a really good understanding of how they how they build a university degree with that the first two years often not changing with just all the core subjects and then that the the the third year you know you’re adding your new stuff yeah i think it’ll continue to change like that so i think it’ll always be a part of always maybe a bit strong i think the near enough future will be a part of an education i just don’t think it’s the be on end all i think there’s a lot of other external providers where you can add in different parts and i think that might be the future yeah i just listened to your podcast with alex and i thought that was a really great way of describing um sort of you know the the phases and that those sort of core fundamentals are in the early years and then later in in the degree or the later years you’re sort of focusing on uh the skills that you need to come out with and and be active in the market honestly for me that was that was so eye-opening oh yeah light bulb went off for me too yeah and i had massive respect to alex and even more respect for the university of newcastle and just university in general after hearing that i was like so they are they do think about staying relevant that type of thing i just think there will be a continual change with the university degree won’t be as it is now in the future and what about that postgraduate style learning have you done any of that yourself or looked into that i signed up for a master’s i lasted two subjects yeah um and then i think it was probably at the time i felt pregnant okay pregnant baby two maybe and it’s just not for me it’s just not my learning uh even for those two subjects i found myself up at midnight the night before you know the the assignment’s due and i’m i’m cracking it out from like 6 p.m till 12 p.m to just get it done and i was submitting at 11 58 i’m just because it was due by 12. and that’s if that’s what you’re doing that’s probably not you know it’s probably not the way to be doing it degree i wasn’t immersed in it um so i don’t think i’ll ever do one yeah i still go back and forth on it myself i mean i’ve sort of moved more into i guess management roles now and then you’re still here you need an mba or you need to get an mba and yeah it’s definitely hard to fit in i guess with what you’re doing but i have a lot of friends and and then a lot of people have been quite successful getting that postgraduate degree even without you know the the undergrad and then just based on sort of work experience and that so so yeah i think there’s a lot of i think there’s a lot of value i’ve heard a lot of people have done an mba or done other other versions of masters and things like that i’ve had a lot of success with that they’ve enjoyed it and got a lot out of it so once again it’s probably it’s it’s probably horses of course as you know some people get a lot out of other people i had somebody refer to it as a divorce course because it’s so intense and then you know you’re having so much immersiveness into that degree and then you’re also trying to you know you’ve got a young family as well right like trying to juggle that a full-time job and an mba it’s pretty hectic yeah yeah cool so i guess from your perspective you get to see a lot of really interesting jobs on the market you probably got an inside insight into salaries the type of work people are doing you know really having that sort of broad range of things i mean where do you think if people are looking to go and get a degree or maybe you’re in that later stages or even early in their tech career based on what you’re seeing and the salaries and the type of work people are doing and the other perks and then what should people be focused on if they’re sort of at that stage and listening just doing something they enjoy i think just doing something you enjoy if you do something you’re enjoying you’re probably going to do pretty well at it i’ve seen some people that are doing something for the sake of it’s paying well and you know they do the job but they’re probably stagnant at some point whereas the people that i really see succeed are the people that love what they do right like liam had a chat to sean bailey yeah he’s actually joined now very only recently on on his podcast and um mate he got he got his job essentially because i think well one of the key factors in what he did was he built a bunch of side projects like in his own time like a guy like that young fella he’s come out he he stands above the pack because he loves what he’s doing right like there’s other people who are building side projects or building something their own time because they just love tech right like a place to do the other week you know like it was a tech support role and the guys built like 16 pcs for him his mates and his family and things like that he just loves technology he’s got he’s got his own little lab set up at home i think if somebody really loves what they do they’ll succeed if i had this to say broadly hey where they’re going to continue to be jobs for the next five years software development right software developers in newcastle are in demand there’s plenty of opportunity for them and i think you could get a software development enjoy like i think i think i could get a software development role in newcastle within 12 months right now with me having zero experience like if i went and did some free online training and built some stuff on the side i think i’d get myself at least an entry-level role in that just by being self-taught showing some initiative building some stuff in my own time there’s plenty of free online learning out there there’s no there’s nothing stopping you from learning right i think there’s plenty of opportunity there just people just show a little bit of initiative so i think in general hey if what what do you just figure out what you want to do and even if you don’t know what it is what you want to do right like you’re doing some stuff and machine learning and things these days which wasn’t around you know 10 years ago but you just you know as you go through your career you get your eyes on something you you pick up a little bit more about that and then you run with it right opportunities like that you know will present themselves if you are opening those doors or sort of opening the doors for for yourself really yeah i think your point earlier about having that um passion passion for learning and and um if there is something interested in there’s so much free content out there right now whether it’s podcasts or blog posts or short courses whatever it is you know you want to know about machine learning you can go and learn that now in your own home for free yeah and it’s transferring some of the best people in the world that’s right stanford universities and everywhere else yeah yeah it’s quite amazing so yeah let’s talk a little bit about you i guess you’re a busy guy you do a lot of running around do you have any sort of productivity tools that you use to sort of manage your your day-to-day or keep you moving i i think i’ve downloaded and bought nearly every productivity tool or app there is what i’ve actually been doing pretty well for probably the last six months now i’ve been trying to do inbox zero um and working with that um just because my emails were out of control before before that i was it was nearly i just select all archive and start from scratch yeah any particular app or tool or anything you know i just did a little bit just using gmail but i just um i there’s some online i just found something online that showed how to set up your inbox with you know the different starring and things like that and then how to operate with that so i’ve been using that and uh just the gmail tasks like the the out of the google suite the tasks feature saturn use acts i used to pop it all in my calendar and my calendar was a absolute mess or it was a basket case if you looked at that you’d be like what’s going on here um so tasks and inbox zero are probably my my two things i’m trying to run with at the moment i use evernote i’ve used that for years i think it’s got good search functionality but yeah that’s probably that’s probably it at the moment um i’ve tried you know plenty of other habit tracking apps and things like that and i’ll still chime into one or two of those from time to time when i’m trying to you know get better on my exercise or my diet or all my reading or even tried meditation at one stage um just different things to try to you know get it form habits it’s not always easy right yeah yeah absolutely and are using anything to sort of help manage sort of the workload and stress levels and anything like that any tools or techniques yeah i think that’s probably where i’ve dropped the ball over the past six months i think uh running a small business has its challenges running small business through covert had challenges growing business challenges trying to build processes in place so you know i’ve gone from essentially myself recruiting to now three people recruiting you know a lot of the things were up in my head right so building out the processes for that and things like that it’s just challenging and just takes time so i don’t think i’ve probably managed out overly well i think my you know my going to the gym dropped off my alcohol intake through covered probably increased my lack of quality food probably uh increased i probably haven’t managed i probably haven’t managed that perfectly over the definitely not perfectly but not even well over the past like three or four months in particular yeah but i try and get back on that bandwagon i think just life in general you can’t always be running 100 at everything right um i don’t probably do balance overly well when i’m all in on something i’m all in yeah and when i’m not i’m not so i find when i get back in the gym i’ll eat better and everything sort of you know falls into place there if i’m not going to the gym then i you know i tend to eat more take away and all the rest of it so i just try and get back in the swing and swing some roundabouts and what about collaboration tools your team’s growing as you mentioned i assume most of you are sort of spending time remote as well and moving in different parts like are you using anything around collaboration there that you could write yeah um are we use we all the basics right we use the g suite so we use um yeah the g-switch across the ball we use zoom we use uh slack we use uh we we got a recruitment specific crm tool that we use we’re trying to make more and more use out of that’s probably been one of the bigger changes over the last couple of weeks is just like really trying to nail that get that working for us because like most crm tools which everyone everyone would have this understanding that there’s capability for days with those things we probably use 10 of it right yeah so trying to use a little bit more it’s not the tools fault it’s the fact that we don’t use it properly right yeah so trying to make that work for us um is something we’re focused on lately yeah that’ll just continue to work i think yeah from a team’s perspective just yeah email g suite um the fact that the g suite you can host everything online like it’s that’s so easy you can start a business in 10 minutes these days of buying a domain and setting up a gt right yeah that’s right so apart from this one of course what are you listening to what sort of podcasts have you got on play right now or books or what are we sort of reading or listening to i’ve always like i’ve gotten one of those audible subscriptions you get a book a month type thing and i try to read a little bit as well and probably favorite books i revisited the obstacles away by ryan holliday just recently i think it was super relevant for uh for the times and the challenging times we’re going through like that’s probably one of my favorite books joshua’s got a book called the art of learning which is supe it’s probably one of my favorites again okay um i’ve just revisited that for the second time there’s another one ray dalio’s got a book called principal yeah a great one so i’ve got that now in ebook form hard copy form and on audible i think that’s super relevant for me at the moment in setting up essentially it’s about you know setting up the key principles of which you can build a business or build your life and then everything else sort of sits on top of that and you get those key principles right like everything else sort of manages itself so it was super relevant for me i like it it just spoke to me so that was super interesting uh from podcast perspective i just change it up all the time um i like to try to listen to podcasts to help myself get better as i interview er i think um i’ll listen back now i have a chat of janae who edits all the podcasts so she listens to my voice more than everyone and she’s like hey the differences between episode one and episode 50 is like night and day and you know how i communicate um always trying to sort of improve that so i can listen to different people with tim ferriss lewis howes james altucher brennan schwab joe rogan i think i just changed it up all the time um there’s a dude at the moment who i’ve i’ve listened to about five of his podcasts on on the different podcast episodes he’s been on his name’s jessie itzla he’s a he’s like an entrepreneur guy out of the us but he’s got like four kids uh he’s married to sarah blakely who’s the founder of spanx so i like super power couple and entrepreneurial world but for me i’m like hey he’s a super entrepreneur a guy running businesses and managing his family really well he runs ultramarathons as well which i have zero interest in um but he seems to manage fitness and the life the work and the life and all that well which is important to me it’s something i’m really really focused on it’s just trying to be you know a good family man as well as running a business yeah yeah are you following these people like are these these types of people putting out the best information you think that yeah i follow him the other dude’s probably naval right

    yeah uh like he’s he’s got one really really popular tweet storm and it’s just phenomenal um every time it comes off i retweeted it hi great hey i did the same and i’ve downloaded he’s got like a podcast or podcast version of it now as well like that that guy like for just business and life i think he’s bang on and every time i read it i’m like ah i should read that like on a daily basis there’s so much so much relevance there yeah oh i’ve always wanted to say this but we’ll put in the show notes so um we’ll have it there for you so i guess we’re getting towards the end i mean what do you think you’ve learned so far a pretty very journey i mean what sort of advice or what sort of learnings would you pass on to your younger self if if they could have a listen to this yeah a younger version of myself i would have probably said listen more um i think i was a i don’t think i was definitely not the best employee through my times both in marketing and recruitment i think i probably thought i knew more than i did i probably spoke more than i listened and i always got tired you know you should listen more you should and i was like i know what i’m talking about here like people have got to hear what i’ve got to say and these days i realized that i didn’t know what i was talking about and i probably should have shut my mouth and just listened a little bit more so i probably wouldn’t tell myself to that and probably just that probably gratitude gratitude is probably something i’ve really bought into probably the last five years is just like just be thankful for what i’ve got like you don’t always need to be the next stage you don’t always need the next the next job the next big thing the next pay rise the next whatever it is just if you live a little bit more presently and just be happy for what you got like life seems to be okay right yeah yeah good stuff and spot on spot on well thanks for your time i’m really glad we did this um episode 50 we we’ve made it this far and um i’m looking forward to the big party at episode 100 maybe a live audience or something like that do you do if we make an episode 100 we’ll do a live audience and i’ll put on the the food and beverages big party two years post pandemic hopefully and uh if we’re allowed yeah that’s what might well be sitting there that’s right that’s right so where can people find you if they want to follow you and hear more from you yeah probably most of it’s on linkedin right linkedin’s probably probably not everyone’s favorite place actually i i know especially a lot of people in technology don’t like linkedin at the moment because of recruiters but i put out a lot of my content on there um we cut up like smaller parts of our episodes and put on there but we’ve got uh obviously the podcast is on uh it’s on apple and spotify we’ve got a video version on youtube we do a lot of our like little edits on there as well so yeah and then it’ll all be we’ve got a brand new new tech website a new tech people website going up soon but everything’s all on our website as well so new tech people dot com dot eu all right thanks very much dan thanks man you

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