Back in Blighty!

Back in Blighty!

After a total of 165 days as a FinTech CTO in Hong Kong I’m back in Blighty! I’ve had an amazing time in Hong Kong and its been a fantastic opportunity to realise the ideas, methods and practices that I have honed over my career.

The Platform

In what feels like a very short period of time we assembled an amazing engineering team and delivered a platform in line with my principles of NoDev, NoOps and NoIT: A fully Cloud Native infrastructure, Microservice software architecture, Twelve Factor application design principles with containers deployed to an Open Source PaaS that also provides the applications that allow the creation of DevOps circuits with fully automated CI/CD.

The Talent

A key factor in attracting the right engineering talent was the promise that we would encourage full stack development. For organisational purposes I still defined Client Side (Web and Mobile), Service Side (Middleware and Database) and DevOps (System Administration, Networks, Release Management and everything else) teams but, in reality I hired individuals that, while having a speciality, were multidisciplinary and polyglot. Creating an environment that demanded co-operation was all that was needed for these individuals to begin extending their expertise beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Surprise Takeaway

One of the most unexpected and refreshing discoveries for me was the use of Behaviour Driven Development and how it fostered clear and ambiguous interaction between the business team and the engineering team. I liked the approach so much that I implemented a few BDD scenarios myself using behave! Hooking up the scenario test results to Jenkins demonstrated the progress the engineering team were making to the business and eliminated the need for unnecessary progress reporting, very NoIT!

In Summary

Ultimately I consider experiences in Hong Kong as being priceless. It was incredibly refreshing to work in an environment that wasn’t encumbered by decades of suffocating regulation, legacy and technical debt (however much I enjoying transforming such environments). I have a huge amount of gratitude and respect for all my colleagues and I wish them every success. Hong Kong itself is a friendly and vibrant international hub with terrific food to boot!

What Next?

There are plenty of opportunities, in the UK, Europe and Southeast Asia but I’m not planning on rushing into anything. The main thing I’m leaning towards is starting up my own BioTech firm. This is something that I have been preparing for, for a number of years and I’m certainly ready for it. Then there is the book that I started to write before moving to Hong Kong, if anyone can recommend a good editor/publisher do let me know. In the meantime it’s a beautiful spring day in London, I have some cold beers and the garden is in need of some attention!


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