Tell us a little about your company and your role there.
My job title is Technical Director. I look after everything “technical” at BetBright. BetBright is a digital entertainment company based in Dublin and founded in 2012. Its primary market is the UK. What sets BetBright apart from most other online bookmakers is that we develop and operate our own online betting and gaming platform. I oversee several technical groups; Software Development, QA, Technical Operations, Architecture, Data Engineering and Application Support.
We have 115 staff based in our Dublin HQ, over half of these work in tech.
How did you get here?
After University, I spent five years in California as a software developer at a small startup and then Walt Disney Studios. When I returned to Ireland I moved into more of a management role with Esat Telecom and by 1998 I was CIO of a startup telecoms company in The Netherlands called Versatel. I got involved with the gaming industry in 2003 when I worked for Paddy Power. From there I joined Finsoft – a creator of Sportsbook software – who in turn were bought out by GTECH (a very large lottery player). I joined Betbright in 2016.
How do you spend your day?
Each morning I review my task list; what was accomplished and what needs to be done. I try to nail five short term items each day and push a further five longer term items along. After doing a quick catch up with the Tech Ops team as to the status of our production systems, I review my latest emails and commence the day’s work. Before leaving at the end of the day I update my task list.
The objectives of the company are well understood and communicated. In Technology we enable and support the delivery of these. From a software development perspective, we are an agile house and use a two week cycle. However, road map planning is on a rolling quarterly basis; my team know what they need to achieve at least three months in advance. Some teams are more dynamic, such as Application Support, as they deal with unexpected production issues and queries.
My days are spent advancing the current agreed objectives. As a management team, we regularly meet to confirm these objectives and deal with any unexpected bumps.
What are the top three qualities of the people you hire?
Our job hiring process is very structured and objective. Its focus is to find out three things; can the person do the job, do they want to do the job and will we get on. We are a very diverse group but when I look around the three qualities that we share are;
- The desire to do the best job possible.
- A willingness to learn from and help others.
- Respect for each other.
BetBright is very unique. A lot of tech jobs in Ireland are support and maintenance. We are building our own platform.
As a team, we are creating our own future. We need to be engaged with our customers, services and products. People here are very passionate about creating the best product in our space.
We work in teams. Within every team some people have more skill, knowledge or experience than others. People help each other. It is a very supportive environment. We want our people and our company to succeed. There is a very positive vibe here. You need to be willing to share and you also need to be able to listen and take advice on board.
We have a very non-hierarchical structure throughout the company; it is an open and transparent one. This works because people treat each other civilly and with courtesy. Technical respect is gained. People here should be asking themselves constantly; ‘Am I adding value?’ and ‘Do I believe that what I am working on is worthwhile?’
People are always encouraged to put their ideas forward. If they are not getting satisfaction, they can door stop the CEO. He is always open to new ways of doing things. We run “town hall” meetings on a regular basis where the company’s strategy is explained and the latest trading figures are also shared. These meetings are usually followed with a lively Q&A.
All of us in the company have a direct influence on the success or failure of the company. Our actions are reflected in the trading numbers in real time. When we release a cool piece of functionality we can see the numbers uptick. We spend a lot of time and energy on understanding how our business functions; what promotions are working, how people are using our system, what functionality is being used, where are people having difficulties with, etc.
People are encouraged to be their best and we celebrate our success together. There is a vibrant social scene associated with the company and we have quite a young demographic.
For each technical group we have defined levels. Each level is related to a pay range. These ranges and the skills required for each level are published on the company’s intranet. We encourage people to back themselves. If you’re a level four Software Developer and you think you should be a level five look up what’s needed and go for it. The company will support you. We arrange training courses where needed and provide mentoring. People are encouraged to learn from others.
What are the perks of working in your company?
The people around you. The sense of achievement and satisfaction from a job well done. Of course, we also have a very healthy package which includes:
- Discretionary annual bonus which is measured against the company and individual’s performance.
- Tax Saver Commuter scheme
- Health Insurance after probation
- Income Protection Plan
- Life Assurance
- Flexitime, allowing employees to start and finish work between a flexible range of agreed hours
- 21 days Annual Leave increasing with length of service (2 years- 23 days/5 years- 24 days)
What are the challenges your employees face?
BetBright is a very dynamic place. You must be flexible and open to change. In comparison to our competitors we are very small. Your work will have a direct effect on how our business performs. This responsibility can lead to pressure. Some stress is helpful but only a little. The culture of the company offsets people becoming too “involved”. We all want to succeed but success is something we build every day. We don’t believe in silver bullets. Do your job well, support your colleagues, listen and we will build and operate a brilliant product.
Any advice for people applying for a job in your company?
Study the job spec and apply for jobs that suit you. A bit of stretch is good but not too much. We let new hires know what level they will be on from the very beginning. You need to back yourself and BetBright will back you. Start the job at the level we offer and push for a higher level once you have proved yourself.