13 June 2016
Being a Dog means you’re an individual, someone with a strong personality and talents in abundance. It also means you’re part of a team, our pack. In this series, we’re finding out a little bit about the individuals behind Dog as they reach milestones in their careers here. This month, we’re chatting to Stephen Hynds, Senior Developer, as he reaches 5 years at Dog.
How did you get into the industry?
By accident! I was looking for a change from my last job in the public sector when an opening appeared at Dog. A former colleague was working here and he passed my details on. 5 years later and I’m still here.
What does a typical day look like?
I split my time between development and management. A typical day starts with checking my schedule before getting on with the day’s work. Early morning, myself, the other developers, AMs and PMs for Scottish Enterprise get together around our Kanban style board for a quick standup. We cover who is doing what, impending deadlines and any issues. The rest of the day is far from typical. A mix of internal meetings, client meetings, development and working closely with the other developers to solve any problems and make sure that we are all working to the same high standards. There’s rarely a dull moment.
Favourite Dog project or campaign to date?
Last year we worked on replacing on the Knowledge Hub landing page that is used on both the Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International sites, and to develop a new template for rich articles for it. The project was a great example of collaborative work. At every stage of the project the client and all of the teams at Dog worked together to evolve the product into what was eventually delivered. The product is all the better for this and it’s something I’ll look back on with a lot of pride.
Best experience at the agency so far?
The first summer Dog Day Out I was at will always stick in my mind. The theme was a school sports day with various different “sports” being played. I’d only been with the company about 2 months at this point. The last sport played was Wellie Wanging and I was chosen to represent my team. I’d already won before my last throw but decided to take it anyway. The rain had just started coming down and the wellie was getting slippy. I took my back swing, and then on the follow through the wellie came slipping out of my hands and hit one of my colleagues in a very delicate place. He collapsed to the ground in a heap as the rest of the company were absolutely killing themselves laughing.
Thinking back to your first day at Dog...What do you recall?
I’d been in my last job for over 5 years and was very used to how everything worked. I’d never worked in an agency before and I was nervous moving to one as I thought it would be a complete change of pace to what I was used to. Any nerves were soon forgotten as everyone was very welcoming. I don’t remember what I ended up working on or being introduced to, but I remember leaving and thinking “I’m going to like it here”. Oh and it was really windy so all the trains ended up being cancelled which made getting home a bit more difficult.
How has the agency changed since you started?
The agency has changed so much since I started. We’re nearly twice the number of employees. We moved office in Glasgow and gained the London and Asian offices. We think on a bigger scale than we did before, and our processes have had to evolve to reflect that. However, the more things change the more they stay the same – the sense of family and fun, being part of the pack, is still there. The pack’s just bigger!
What do you hope to achieve at Dog over the next 12 months?
I’m fairly new to the management aspects of my job so I hope in 12 months’ time I can look back and hope that I’ve improved my skills in this area. I’d like to think that I can help my team to improve with me, and to improve how the company does development. A good developer is always learning – better ways to do things we already do, new technologies we can use. I also hope that we continue to deliver cool projects for our clients
The industry...What would you banish to Room 101?
Pretention. I’ve got no time for it!
Favourite ad or marketing campaign ever?
I love the Ken Block Gymkhana series, originally for for DC Shoes, then for Hoonigan. Firstly it’s videos of cars being driven quickly so that’s always good in my book. They’ve grown from the low budget purity of the first to the big budget, high concept madness of the later ones. Ultimately they’re adverts for the brands he works with and the products he endorses, but you only have to look at the YouTube view count to see how much people love them. On YouTube people can’t wait to hit that skip button on a pre-roll advert, yet they’re actively seeking out these videos to watch them. When a new one launches the view counts rack up like mad. Is there any other advert like that? I don’t think so.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are passionate about what they do. I listen to a lot of podcasts and they’re often at their best when the guest is someone talking about what they do and what drives them. Recently there’s been a couple of car companies whose founders fascinate me – Rob Dickinson of Singer Vehicle Design and Jonathan Ward of Icon 4x4. The attention to detail and quality of product that these companies exhibit is an extension of the people behind them. They inspire me to look at the work I do to make sure it reflects those same values of quality and attention to detail.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t sit down with a light bulb in your back pocket.
And what piece of advice would you give to a younger “you”?
Get on the property ladder quicker? But seriously, I’d tell my younger self to trust in your abilities and you’ll do fine.
How do you switch off and relax?
If it’s got wheels and a motor then I’m interested. I love any sort of motorsport and getting involved in it in any way I can. A friend of mine races and I help him out with getting the car ready and at events when I can. I enjoy a bit of photography too which I can combine with my love of cars. I also like my small scale cars too. I help run a local club where we drift 1/10th scale radio controller cars. It’s a great way to switch off.
If you weren’t doing what you do at Dog, what’s Plan B? What would you be doing, and why?
I’ve wanted to work with computers since I was probably 6 or 7 so I’ve never had a backup plan! I did some accounting in high school and quite liked that. Something about doing a balance sheet and it all lining up appealed to me. So that or something with cars I suppose.