Meet Matt, our Head of Developer Experience
👋 Hi Matt, it’s great to speak to you today! Can you please introduce yourself in a sentence?
Hi I am Matt, I make sure that engineers can do their best work by helping them find the right tools to use and easing the route they need to take to get a great quality app into the hands of our members. 🤳
That sounds great! How did you cross paths with Tide?
I’ve gravitated towards startups for much of my career, but I find the greatest pleasure in the world of scale-ups. 📈 This is where you get to deal with tricky scaling problems, both in terms of technology and in ways of working. I’ve also been interested in the Fintech industry and I felt Tide was the perfect place where I could make a difference. I had worked with a couple of senior Tideans before too which helped!
How would you explain your role to someone who isn’t familiar with your area?
Building apps is a complex business, with so many different layers of tech hiding beneath the surface of the apps that we see on our phones. So many development teams are involved and they all have to work seamlessly together to make things happen. I don’t focus so much on the coordination of all that. My role in Tide is to make sure that all those teams use common tools, techniques and processes.🤝 It helps them deliver solid, exciting, reliable and effective code that underpins the app that our members use. Getting the ‘developer experience’ right is crucial – because we want our engineers to be able to focus on building great products for our members. And they can’t do that without the right tools and techniques.
You joined Tide a few months ago, what has been your biggest challenge so far?
It’s really challenging to figure out how all these complex technologies and teams fit together, and building a mental model of it all in my head. But it becomes like fog clearing from a mountain ⛰️ and I can start to see where I can really make a difference and how we can make the most of the awesome team at Tide. Tech is often so full of terminology and abstract concepts that this isn’t immediately obvious – but when it becomes so it’s really exciting.
You have mentioned technologies, what latest tech are we using at Tide? 🚀
It depends where you look! There are turtles all the way down. But a word we hear a lot at Tide is Kubernetes. Tide is made up of many, many microservices, and this is the system that helps us run those simply and securely in Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a scalable and resilient way. But that’s just the end of the story when it comes to running code. The code gets built using modern continuous integration tools, and validated with cutting-edge testing, security and compliance services. We’re trying to make sure that we use these technologies to play to their strengths. It all makes our engineers happier and Tide’s app better. 🙌
Product ideas in someone’s head are no good unless we can get them out on the track – into the hands of members – effectively and safely – and that’s what I’m here to help Tide to do.
Your role is to ensure engineers can do their best work. When they join Tide, what can engineers expect from their first 3 months?
An exciting time getting up-to-speed in a company which is adapting to grow into a new market at the same time as being a successful established business. For an engineer this means getting to work not only on existing code bases with some of the best people in the industry, but also pushing out into new areas with exciting modern technologies.
What are you most excited about this year at Tide?
For me it feels like a year of both growth and consolidation. We are heading into brave new worlds with innovative and exciting products, and also doubling-down on how we do things. I’m excited to help get that innovation and excitement converted into actual features quickly, efficiently, safely and have some fun in doing it. Happy and relaxed engineers make for happy and relaxed members.
Career-wise, what’s the best piece of advice you have received? 💬
It’s probably one on the value of teamwork. Early in my career I enjoyed being a hero, finishing things at the last minute and putting out metaphorical fires where no-one else could. But this becomes tiring, and really isn’t the way to build a sustainable adult life nor a viable business. Its origins are disputed, but I stick by “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.” I’m already seeing the amplifying effect of working closely with great people who are already here at Tide, and together we’ll go far.
If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Google Maps – for getting to places and finding the best ones in the first place. WhatsApp for keeping up with family and friends. And is it cheating to say Firefox? I first got involved in what we used to call the World Wide Web 🌐 via a distant ancestor of Firefox and I love that we still have open standards which make most of the Web accessible to all. So you don’t necessarily need an app for everything! This also means I don’t have to have the Tide app open at all times – as our brilliant engineers have made it work on the Web too. 💻 🖥️
Last question before you go! When you’re not at Tide, what’s your favourite thing to do?
A couple of times a year you’ll find me down near the South Coast of England at Goodwood Motor Circuit, watching priceless classic racing cars being raced hard by people who can’t bear to leave them in a museum. Racing cars really only come to life when they’re being driven on the limit – and there’s a tenuous analogy back to my job here. Product ideas in someone’s head are no good unless we can get them out on the track – into the hands of members – effectively and safely – and that’s what I’m here to help Tide to do. 🏎️🏎️🏎️