The latest member of the Culture Shift team to share insight about their role, career journey and excitement for the future is none other than our co-founder and chief technology officer Carl Sadd.
Hi Carl. What does your role involve day-to-day?
My main role is looking after the product as a whole. So typically, I’ll be involved in top-level planning and strategy of the product roadmap from a design and development perspective. But as I come from a design background and love to be hands-on whenever I get the opportunity, I’m frequently involved in research and UI/UX design of existing and new features.
I’m also heavily involved in the brand and marketing side of the business. I lead the creative output with our internal design team that works on our website, marketing materials and thought leadership content, such as white papers, ebooks, videos and infographics.
What has been your career journey to get to this point?
I studied Graphic Design and Typography at University and went on to work in a number of Manchester-based creative agencies both large and small, initially in print and advertising but quickly I became more focused on digital and brand.
I started out as junior designer then progressed to studio manager for a couple of smaller independents before starting my own branding and digital agency ‘Trust’ with Stuart and Gemma almost 10 years ago now.
We built Trust up to a team of around 10 people and created some fantastic brands and digital experiences. It was during this time that we started working with the University of Manchester on an anonymous reporting system which helped to give us the experience and passion to launch Culture Shift.
How would you describe the working environment at Culture Shift to someone who doesn’t know the business?
I feel like we have an amazing team who create an environment that makes people feel safe, happy and supported, so they can work to the best of their ability whilst being inspired and learning from their colleagues. They’re progressing their careers but at the same time helping to build a product that makes a real difference to other people's lives.
We’re also very passionate about providing a working environment that has the very best of everything. That includes our working practices and methodologies, the culture and benefits. But also the physical office environment and equipment that our team has access to, so that they love working with us as much as we love working with them.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting here tomorrow?
The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you do! Feel free to speak out and share your experience and expertise.
What excites you most about the future of the business?
First and foremost it’s the opportunity to really help people. Having listened to a number of emotional survivor stories over the years, it really drives home how vital the support provided by Culture Shift can be. Connecting the dots, it’s very easy to see how these experiences could apply to my own friends and family and I find that incredibly motivating.
Also for me it’s the opportunity to build, fine tune and perfect a digital experience that’s not only beautiful but also incredibly intuitive. It’s taken a huge amount of effort to get to where we are but there is still so much more that we can do. Every time we review our product roadmap it excites me to discuss the huge range of ideas we have to improve the product. The difficulty is prioritising which ones we should work on first!
Who or what inspires you?
At the moment I’m inspired by Adobe XD. It’s developed so much in the last couple of years and there’s always something new to learn. Recently I’ve been learning how to build rapid prototypes, this means our design team can quickly mockup and test new features using high fidelity visuals that look and behave almost the same as the finished product without the need for huge amounts of time from the dev team.
What are your passions outside of work?
I love photography. I’m particularly interested in portraits but have always loved landscapes and architecture. I also enjoy running, mountain biking, hiking and pretty much anything that involves getting outdoors and exploring nature with friends and family.
What should we be watching or reading right now?
Recently I found ‘The Morning Show’ really interesting. The subject matter is very relevant to us as it’s set with the background of the ‘Weinstein’ enquiry which was one of the most high-profile cases that triggered a wave of public opinion that surrounded the launch of Culture Shift.
I also really enjoyed ‘Free Solo’ which is the utterly mind-blowing documentary about rock climber Alex Honnold attempting to conquer the first free solo (no ropes) climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Equally interesting is his TED talk about that climb in which he describes how he prepared physically and mentally over many years before he started the climb. Hearing about his preparation makes it seem even more impressive… if that’s possible!
Finally, what technologies, apps or platforms would you struggle to live without?
I’m a big fan of ‘Wunderlist’ (recently purchased by Microsoft). It’s probably the most basic piece of software I use but that’s why I love it. All it does is create drag and drop lists but I find it’s the best way for me to keep track of my workload. I have separate lists for monthly, weekly and daily tasks which really helps me prioritise.