What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first ever job was in the music industry working at Atlantic Records as an intern and then press assistant. On my first day as an intern I got to meet Jay Z, and from that point it was never going to get better really, so I took a sidestep into technology communications, working with the likes of the Business Software Alliance, Netsuite, Logitech and Sony.
I was particularly interested in working in the start-up space and got my wish when Just Eat became another client, who I worked with for nearly four years agency-side as the company grew from a small start-up to one which would shortly become one of 2014’s most successful tech IPOs. At the start of 2014, I moved to manage Just Eat’s corporate and tech PR and recently I joined another exciting start-up, Dashlane, to grow the company’s proposition in the UK market.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015? Why?
Consumers will take back control of their online lives. The number of high-profile online security scares in 2014 saw a rise in consumer interest, and 2015 will truly be the year that the mass market follows by taking control of their online lives. This year will see the general public take back control of their tech and in turn create a safer, more efficient experience for themselves.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
Which cheese would you use to hide a small horse? Mascarpone.
What never fails to make you sad or disappointed? Why?
The ever-growing number of nonsense email sign-offs. Long gone are the days when email etiquette needed to match that sent in a proper letter, so why feel the need for pompous sign-offs? “Thanks” will do for me.
Tea or coffee, and how do you have it? Why?
In the office, I stick to espresso. On a lazy weekend morning, I like a flat white from my favourite coffee shop in Brixton Village, Coffee Federation. Why? Because if I hadn’t had a coffee I may not have finished answering these questions!
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
Riding a bike. It’s not that I can’t do it now, it’s more the fact that every time I buy one it gets stolen.
Which is more important: a good leader, or the team as a whole? Why?
I believe an effective team is a far greater asset than an individually talented leader. In the words of Rudyard Kipling, “the strength of the wolf is the pack”. At Dashlane we operate the agile project management method, which allows a team leader to project manage in a flexible and collaborative manner.
Every team member possesses a level of autonomy in their own area which empowers them to be proactive and adapt, if necessary, to do what they feel is right. This way the whole team gains a sense of ownership that brings everyone’s best work to the fore.
What was your most important lucky break in life so far? Did you make the most of it?
I believe most lucky breaks come at the start of our careers. For that reason, I will forever be grateful to the founders of the agency I have spent the majority of my career with so far. Without a proven track record and any real experience to go on – except for the odd internship here and reference there, business decision makers often only have gut instinct to go on when hiring the most junior members of their teams.
These boots were made for walking. Discuss!
I’ve found that walking as much as possible around London, particularly in the early days when I was just starting out, has meant I’ve managed to maintain a reasonable sense of direction, which many Londoners tend to lose while spending large portions of their commute underground.
However, as the nights have drawn in, my Uber account has also been ever-more active.
Thomas Armstrong is UK growth manager at Dashlane
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