Have you always had an interest in technology?
Yes, as a child, I always had a fascination for gadgets. Unlike my peers, when I got my first computer (a Commodore 64) at primary school, I read the manual and was writing programs, while everyone else was playing games.
I then developed an interest in what we now call STEM, and went on to study a degree in Mathematics.
While at university, I had my first exposure to the the internet which reawakened my interest in technology. My final year project was “Using computational methods to solve the Eigenvalue problem for large matrices”. One of the reasons I did this was to get an account on the university’s DEC Alpha computer to mess around with.
After getting a first class degree with honours, I then went on to study for a Masters in Computer Science. This was mainly in order to get the correct paperwork to apply for jobs in the IT industry! My Masters project involved writing an application to implement RFC 1459 (Internet Relay Chat protocol). This was in 2000. I could never have dreamt that over two decades later, I’d be writing software that improves the performance of network protocols!
Tell us a bit about your career before you came to Replify.
For almost ten years before starting at Replify, I worked on the services team of a company company Meridio (ultimately acquired by Microfocus) that provided records management software. My job involved working with customers to modify and configure our main product so that it worked well with the customer’s own processes and systems.
While at Meridio, I spent a lot of time travelling and working with customers all over the world. It has given me a lot of insight into the infrastructure and processes of large organizations. I also became painfully aware of the challenges of rolling out software to thousands of end users across multiple locations.
What interested you about Replify initially?
As time went on in my previous job, I spent more and more time writing documents, sending emails and being on conference calls. I relished the chance of actually coding again and making computers do interesting things.
I also thought the technology sounded interesting (remember my Masters project involved network programming). I also liked the idea of a product that people wanted to buy. In my previous job, people bought our software because they were forced to for compliance reasons. Their users rarely actually wanted to use it.
What do you actually do from day to day?
Whenever I joined Replify, my primary role was to help customers and partners deploy the Replify Accelerator software. However as I mentioned before I wanted to write software again. If I know how the product works under the hood, I can be more confident when talking to customers about it. It also means that I can promise features to customers without dropping my colleagues in it! Also, I really enjoy coding.
Since becoming a director of Replify in 2014, I’ve had more exposure to other parts of the business, but I’ve always managed to ensure that at least half of my time is spent doing technical work.
Do you have any special areas of expertise?
With Replify being such a small company, all technical staff work on all areas of the software, but inevitably people develop their own areas of expertise.
Because I am the principal technical point of contact for Replify’s OEM partners, I tend to be asked to make Replify Accelerator run in places where it doesn’t normally run. I have been responsible for getting the software running on macOS, Android, iOS, Redhat, OpenWRT, Raspbian, PfSense and Docker.
However, I’m happy to muck in with everyone else and work on features/bugfixes in any part of the product.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve worked on at Replify?
Several years ago, I worked in a project based in Greenland that accelerated traffic between several sites across the island. Due to the sparsity of population and the harshness of the environment, network infrastructure is very limited. This was obviously an ideal use case for Replify Accelerator. Also, visiting Greenland is a unique experience, especially as I was there in winter. Being in the Arctic Circle, unable to leave because flights are grounded due to snow blizzards is an aspect of the trip that I didn’t enjoy though.
Have you any interesting projects coming up?
Everything I work on is interesting! Currently, my development focus is to streamline the Replify cache algorithms. This will be with the aim to provide even better optimization for users with high-bandwidth links.
In fact I’ve just finished working on a feature that can triple the throughput of Replify Accelerator in certain scenarios!
We’ve also some plans later in the year to work on a completely new and innovative product feature which is very exciting!
Outside work, what do you enjoy doing to switch off?
I really love travelling. I’ve visited over fifty countries (not just for work), including all the countries of the EU. I’ve had to put that on hold over the past two years, but have my first trip planned for next month to the Sherry triangle in Andalusia. This is one of my favourite places in the world.