What it's like to be an Operations Manager at Paddle

By Gerry McHugh, 22 Aug 2017, in people

Joining Paddle

I joined Paddle in December 2016 - prior to that I was a management consultant at Deloitte, working to support IT teams define their strategy, achieve cost-cutting and roll out new products and services.

I’ve ended up here in a bit of a roundabout way! Deloitte has great relationships with a wide range of start-ups across the UK, and offers the time and expertise of their staff to this network through a well established secondment programme.

On secondment, I started out in Paddle’s sales team as a Sales Development Rep, but the role quickly evolved to take advantage of my analytical skills, focussing on the reporting and data that would enable the sales team to perform to the best of their abilities. With a full time job offer my remit has expanded to cover the entire organization.

What I do

I’m currently Paddle’s Operations Manager and I work with all of Paddle’s teams to enhance access to (and quality of) business data, improve processes, and support company-wide performance management, target setting and OKRs!

Paddle Periscope query

I was thrilled to have the chance to stay at Paddle beyond my secondment. Moving from a big company into somewhere so fast moving is really exciting, and working closely with all teams has been a fantastic opportunity to see how a high growth startup is run.

The role also comes with plenty of challenges, not least navigating the complicated (and at times very frustrating) data landscape which has evolved over the years (!)… With small, busy teams and less support than you’d receive at a larger company you also need to be able to stand on your own and solve your own problems.

That all being said, I’m excited to establish a team here. Being able to work across all of the different functions is great, and it’s unique for the organization. We’re currently a team of 2, and are in the process of building out company-wide reporting using Periscope, as well as conducting loads of in-depth analysis to ensure that we’re focussing our efforts in the right place to hit our ambitious growth targets.

Moving from a big company to a startup

What’s been really refreshing is realising how transferable the skills I’ve developed working for a big company are. Although I’m not particularly ‘technical’, I’ve found that a lot of the core skills developed in my years working so far have been really valuable.

Despite the lack of formal training, the startup environment is also really conducive to learning new skills through exposure and requirement to take ownership for your own work. For Operations roles, a willingness to get stuck in, analytical approach and open mindedness are essential, more or less everything else can be learned on the job.

With a constant stream of projects on the go, this role is fast moving and varied, making a ‘typical’ week difficult to describe! One of our core company values is to be data-driven, and as Paddle grows it’s very exciting to be part of the team that will be central to delivering that!

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