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Q & A with John-Robert Granell – Head of Application Development

Q & A with John-Robert Granell – Head of Application Development

Ever wondered what life looks like at Vortexa for the Head of Application Development? We sat down with John-Robert Granell to dig deeper into what qualities make a department head successful, what inspired him to join the team and what advice he has for people hoping to come onboard…

02 August, 2021
Jessica Irvin
Jessica Irvin, Head of Operations & People

John-Robert is Vortexa’s Head of Application Development and is responsible for delivering our platform and data to our clients. 

Prior to joining Vortexa, John-Robert worked in a variety of technical roles at Red Badger, BAE Applied Intelligence and the UK MOD.  He also spent 7 years as an Infantry Officer in the British Army.

We wanted to find out what inspired John-Robert to join Vortexa, what some of his biggest milestones have been to date and what day-to-day life really looks like for our Head of Application Development.


What inspired you to join Vortexa?

It may sound obvious, but plenty of startups fail because they think they know what the problem is. When I first spoke with Fabio, it was clear that he understood in-depth the problem Vortexa was trying to solve – and how to get there.

There are few occasions when a company can truly be called “disruptive”, but Vortexa has already changed the landscape to fuse machine learning with market analysis, at scale, in real-time, and we’ve still got a lot to do. 

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to get involved?

What would you say is the most interesting aspect of your role?

There is a huge variety of work I’m involved in, from day to day delivery through to strategic product development. The energy industry is vast, chaotic and complex, which poses a really interesting set of challenges.

”…We’re big on investing in personal and professional development. Have a think about how you want to develop and what you want to learn next, the chances are we can help you get there.”

The department is rapidly scaling  – doubling over the next 12 months – so I need to balance this growth without it slowing us down. Having space for innovation, for example, to use Rust in the browser, is also pretty fun, and all of this happens while delivering everything yesterday!

What have been some significant milestones for you at Vortexa?

Launching out of stealth mode in 2017 was huge for us, as has been each product launch since, especially within the Bloomberg terminal application that was released last month. Personally, the biggest milestone has been to establish and grow the department over the last few years.

What does day-to-day life look like for you as Head of Application Development?

After the morning dog walk and some family time, I head onto Zoom for our lockdown stand up.  I’m a big fan of daily stand-ups and the whole department jumps on for 15 min each morning. It sets the focus of the day and keeps everyone aware of progress and issues across the development teams. 

From there I could spend time with a direct report on their professional development, perhaps some coding or code reviews, coordination with other teams on delivery, or focusing on the roadmap. The afternoon might include an architectural discussion of a solution, a quick check-in with the ops team and an interview or two.

No two days are the same, and it’s never boring!

What key qualities make a department head successful?

High performing teams are a result of a healthy organisation and great talent. A successful department head can provide clarity, build trust, and foster a fun inclusive environment for a collaborative culture to thrive.

”…Vortexa has already changed the landscape to fuse machine learning with market analysis, at scale, in real-time and we’ve got a lot still to do.”

A strong leader can make informed decisions, lead by example and support their team over the finishing line. Finally, a good manager can listen – we have two ears and one mouth – use them in that ratio!

How would you describe the culture at Vortexa?

We work hard at Vortexa, but it’s incredibly rewarding – which is why it doesn’t feel like hard work.

What advice would you give to people hoping to join Vortexa?

We’re big on investing in personal and professional development. Have a think about how you want to develop and what you want to learn next, the chances are we can help you get there.

Describe your working life at Vortexa in three words!

Never a dull day. 


 

Interested in joining our team?

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Jessica Irvin
Head of Operations & People
Vortexa
Jessica Irvin
Jessica is Head of People & Operations at Vortexa and is responsible for hiring, learning & development, culture, engagement, performance management and leading expansion plans.