TrueTalk with Sean
Sean is our office go-to-guy when it comes to anything gym related. He embraces a disciplined lifestyle which includes eating Thai Green Curry for lunch every day for 3 years! To unwind, he enjoys playing with his Nintendo Switch 🎮 or his hedgehog, Crumble 🦔. We all appreciate Sean’s willingness to help out in other areas of the business (as well as his Dragon Ball Z t-shirts!)
Tell us what you do.
I’m a developer on TrueLayer’s Data Connectivity engineering team. We’re all about providing a best-in-class developer experience by uniting bespoke bank APIs under the one to rule them all — TrueLayer’s Data API.
Our engineering teams take a holistic view of the work we do. That means:
Knowledge sharing is important. We encourage developers to have more than a skin-deep understanding of as many projects as possible, even if it’s outside of their day-to-day.
Our developers will own projects from the beginning until the end. That means they’re responsible for design, implementation, and deployment. Everyone has a stake in TrueLayer’s success, and having ownership for the entire lifecycle is a great way to remind us of the bigger picture.
What are you most excited to work on at TrueLayer over the next few months?
I joined TrueLayer at the healthy size of 17, and I’ve been here to see the company grow to be a few more than 40. In that time we’ve had to rethink how we communicate internally; reevaluate our processes; restructure our teams, and have a real think about what it means to be a TrueLayerista.
In the second half of this year, we’re going to start scaling at Warp Speed™, making the last 12 months look like a cakewalk 🎂.
Our engineering teams are cross-functional with broad remits. As we continue to scale, these teams will divide into increasingly specific functions. While more focus will amplify output, there are certainly going to be some pain points. How do we coordinate releases? Who does this piece of work belong to? Do the tools we use scale across more teams? How do we find the best team fit for each individual? How effective is our knowledge sharing?
I’m psyched to help build our engineering team by working with Talent Acquisition; draft scalable communication strategies with Business Operations, and build a world-class developer experience with our Customer Success team.
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
Motivation is good for starting — but it’s fleeting. No one can be motivated all of the time. To keep moving forward, motivation needs to transcend into discipline.
Discipline will get you into the gym when you don’t feel like it. Discipline lets you work on the easy but mundane tasks. Discipline helps you make hard decisions.
If you weren’t an engineer what would you be doing?
Psychology? Likely something with a focus on Psychology. Before I started my Computer Science degree, I dropped out of a Psychology course because I didn’t want to be graded on essays. Human Psychology is a deeply interesting subject, but I was only interested in learning, not being graded.
Before joining a startup, I spent 3 years working as a developer in a team that was well insulated from the outside world. That meant mainly coding, sprinkled with feature design — but none of the external factors like client requests, product design, sales, and fundraising.
Now that I’ve joined TrueLayer I’ve seen how psychology plays a role in how other areas operate; I’ve even worn those hats on occasion. When I’m fed up with trying to communicate with the worlds most critical pedant — the computer — I think something with a focus on psychology in the startup world will be my next stop.
Your favourite programming language?
Right now, probably Go. To be frank, it’s not a pretty language. It’s not magical, it’s not elegant, and it’s lacking features. But it’s readable. I can come back to a project a few weeks later and understand where I left off.
In this case, being “boring” is definitely a feature.
What's a great book that you’ve read or podcast you’ve listened to recently?
In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki.
Written almost a century ago in 1933, In Praise of Shadows is an essay examining the great aesthetic cultural divide between the East and the West.
For Tanizaki, beauty is found in the history of imperfect and well-tarnished materials — not in the lustre and brilliance we often find in the western world. The thought of removing shadows from all corners of a room with blazing hot artificial light is incomprehensible; for it devoids all grace.
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty”
In Praise of Shadows is a short read 📖, but leaves a lasting impression on an esoteric subject. Read in an artificially lit room, you’ll find yourself immediately reaching for the light switch.
What is your life motto?
We’re all gonna make it, brah 💪
What would you like to share with those interested in joining TrueLayer?
We’re a work-hard, play-hard sort of bunch. Rules are loose, and boundaries are flexible. What’s important to us is that you will roll up your sleeves, take ownership, and have an impact.
We all have responsibilities within our teams, but everyone’s greatest responsibility is improving TrueLayer in its entirety. My primary role is to transform ideas into products through the medium of code, but that’s not always the greatest contribution I can make. Sometimes it’s working with Business Operations to help decide on our collaboration software, sometimes it’s working with Growth to streamline client qualification.
Gravitate to the areas where you can produce the greatest results. TrueLayer will always empower you to do so. Every one of us here today puts in a tremendous amount of effort into making TrueLayer the leading Open Banking API provider for data and payments.
On the flip side, I’ve lost count of the bottles of wine we’ve consumed, and our team lunches are absurd (and where you’ll always catch me first in line). We’re fresh off our annual retreat. Incredible would be a lacklustre description! I got soaked in an inflatable washing machine, fired a canon, relaxed in a spa, and partied 🎉 with the coolest bunch of people.
And if you’re looking to perfect your squat form, I’m here to help.
If that sounds like your ideal workplace, we’re hiring!