Edinburgh-based Chris Morrison chats with us about his wide-ranging role at Squiz, engaging with clients for the duration of projects, and gaming nights with the guys in the Scotland office.
Squiz: Hi Chris. How long have you worked for Squiz?
Chris: I’ve been with Squiz for four and a half years.
What do you do as a web technical consultant?
We’ve got only a small team in Scotland, so my role can be quite varied. I generally get involved at the early stages of a project – running the UX [user experience] workshops and working with clients to understand their needs and their users’ needs. Then I produce the specifications and wireframes for the project and lead the technical team to build the site. Throughout that development process, I’m liaising with the client.
I’m really on the project from start to finish, to ensure that the client gets consistency throughout its duration. That continuous engagement is one of the things I enjoy most about my job.
What made you want to work at Squiz?
One of my mates worked in Squiz’s London office as a sales guy and told me that the Edinburgh office was looking for someone a bit more technical – they had only a sales team at the time. I had a chat with him and then met with the regional manager to further discuss the role.
What immediately drew me to Squiz was the technology, especially Matrix – it just blew my mind. I’ve worked with lots of content management systems in the past, but when I got to see the capabilities of what Matrix and Funnelback could do together, I knew I wanted to work for the company.
The global reach of Squiz – that the company had offices all over the world – was also a big selling point for me.
Do you remember your first day on the job?
Yeah, I do. My first day was actually in London. I flew down for two weeks of induction and training. So, on my first day, I hopped on a 6am flight, went straight to the office, and got introduced to something like 60 people. I didn’t remember anybody’s names; it was quite an interesting start to the day!
I think, when you first start a new job, you often feel a bit apprehensive. But everybody was so nice. The office was really buzzing, and I just felt at home immediately. It was a really nice first day, actually.
What does your typical workday look like?
No workday is ever the same! Being in a small team, each day is very different. Yesterday, for example, I was implementing with Matrix, and today, I’m going to meet a client and working in their office.
The fact that I don’t have a typical workday is probably another thing I enjoy most about my role. I get to do lots of things, whether I’m working with the developers on a project, helping the sales guys work out costs, or speaking directly with clients. It’s always something new, which is fantastic.
What are some of the challenges you tackle in your role?
Generally, our biggest challenges are budgets and time frames. Often, when clients come to us, they don’t really know what they want; they have an end product in mind but don’t always know what it looks like. I’m here to help shape and achieve that within budget and on schedule.
Thankfully, most of our clients are pretty easygoing, so my job is mostly about working together with them to figure out how we can best deliver and implement their project. That’s probably the most challenging part of my role: getting everything done in time. But this can be the most enjoyable aspect as well – coming down to the crunch and getting those projects over the line.
What’s been your proudest achievement since you’ve come to work at Squiz?
I think growing the team here in the Scotland office is one of the things that makes me most proud.
When I first started, there were just two of us here. Sometimes it felt more like a start-up to us, even though the office had been open for a couple of years. Since then, we’ve been slowly and steadily growing the team. Watching that happen has been awesome.
The guys in the Scotland office are great. Most of us are pretty big gamers, and we have an Xbox in the office, so we often hold games nights. At the moment, we’re going through a retro gaming phase; we’ve just bought old Game Boy Advances so we can play four-player The Legend of Zelda together. We’re all very similar, and we always have a good laugh.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? I don’t have much of that! I have a one-and-a-half year old, so she takes up most of my spare time.
Squiz is great about that, though. Most of the guys in the office have young families, so we all know what it’s like, and we’re all very supportive of each other. Some days start a bit later when I need to take my daughter to nursery, and other days, I start and leave earlier so I can pick her up. It’s great to have that kind of flexibility with my work hours.
When I do have spare time, I enjoy running and cycling before work.
Have you read any good books recently?
I actually got the Silo series by Hugh Howey for Christmas, and I’m reading the first book, Wool, at the moment. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity lives in an underground silo. I’ve just started reading it this week, so I don’t know much more about the story at this point, but it’s quite interesting so far.
Finally, if you were stranded on a deserted island and could take only three items, what would they be and why?
I'm pretty practical, so I'd have to say a knife for hunting and flint for making fire to cook and keep warm. For the last item, I'd have to say music – I can't get through the day without listening to it – that would be a must!
Cheers Chris! We’re looking forward to your tweets!
Chris will be tweeting his week at work at @lifeatsquiz from 16 January to 20 January. Follow along to see what he gets up to on a daily basis in Scotland.