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Meet The Clickers – Shaun Allcock

For episode 76 of Meet the Clickers, I sat down with Head of Tech, Shaun Allcock. Under the spotlight, Shaun spills the beans on his lunchtime nostalgia, dreams of a Villa in the sun and the importance of ‘Why?’

Hi Shaun, great to catch up with you! Could you please start off by telling us a bit about how you started out here at Click and what you do on a day to day basis?

Hi Ben, hope you are doing well. I joined Click just over 3 years ago to help lead our technical teams and overall product development, with that came a lot of process change, not just in tech but across the business. The team is now significantly bigger, as are the projects that we take on, so day to day is about leading those teams, offering support and direction along the way.

You’re famous for your lunchtime double act with Pip Moxham, how are you coping now that she is on maternity leave?

I’ve known Pip for many years, in fact, I first met her when she was about 15 as a result of knowing her brother Spencer. Some years later by pure coincidence, we ended up working together at a digital agency, since then we’ve been great friends so naturally, we find ourselves going for lunch together. Lunchtimes are a lot less varied without Pip, there’s not much need to go to Boots, visit clothes shops or return the latest ASOS order.

How do you like to unwind after a hard day’s work?

I like the simple things in life, relaxing in front of the TV with my iPad and spending time with Liz and our dog, Toby. I watch a lot of American TV series but everything seems to be coming to an end such as Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones.

During your tenure as Head of Tech at Click Dealer, the business has won numerous accolades for technology and innovation, what’s been the secret to your success?

The difference between success and failure is a great team. We have very dedicated and passionate people that create great solutions to real-life problems. As a team, we challenge ourselves to understand the “Why”, why are we building what we are building? Why are we building it in that way? Why will it have an impact on people lives? By understanding this we can ensure we deliver innovative solutions that have a real impact on our customers.

Where would you spend all of your time if you could?

Probably Florida in a villa with a private pool. I’ve been visiting Florida with my family since I was 9 years old, it has it all, food, theme parks, shops and just overall fun – the weather helps too. I also enjoy spending time in Wales visiting beaches with Liz and our dog Toby.

I’ve been told that you’ve recently bought a new dog, tell us more!

Correct, we recently rescued a dog from the City Dogs Home. He is a 3-year-old Jack Russel Terrier as far as we know as he was brought into the dogs home as a stray, we decided to call him Toby. He’s very energetic and friendly, he brings a smile to everyone’s face. He’s already had a couple of weekend breaks at our caravan in Wales and loves the beach, I just need to teach him to play fetch as the concept seems very alien to him at the moment.

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?

“The importance of why” as per Simon Sinek’s theory, I saw a TED talk about 10 years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. I try to spread the theory where possible and have given presentations on it before. I also play a game called Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on iOS, I spend many hours talking about strategy and unit builds with my brother at weekends much to the annoyance of my family when they can’t get a word in.

You were instrumental in setting up the ‘Click Academy’ for the young coders of tomorrow, can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Sure, education has always been a big part of my life. I was one of those people that didn’t really know what they wanted to do after high school, I knew I had an interest in tech and therefore found myself going to college to study computing. Once I got to the end of college I was in a similar situation of not knowing what was next so I ended up going to university at the last minute, again studying computing. As much as I wouldn’t change my education I realised some fundamental flaws in the journey, I had very little guidance and support during these times. No one was giving careers guidance around development or anything tech related really. Even once I had enrolled onto the courses I would find that the only way I was really learning was through educating and pushing myself to build something. Lessons were often dated, diluted and lacked real-world examples that would resonate with the class.

To that end I decided to try and build something better for the young people of Stoke-on-Trent, I wanted to give the right guidance to young people, helping them to understand software development as a career choice early on rather than been pushed down a more academic route. Let’s face it some of the richest people in the world have come from a tech background, the likes of Facebook and Apple, yet education is still struggling to equip young people with the skills to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. We now offer software development apprenticeships to the young people of Stoke-on-Trent, giving them a blended approach to learning, they are hands-on day to day with our code whilst also following some of the best online courses by the world’s greatest content creators. This learning approach for someone who wants to be a developer can bypass 6 years of diluted education and thousands of pounds worth of debt.

If there was a movie made about your life, what actor would play you and why?

I would have to say the late James Gandolfini, I grew up watching The Sopranos and took a lot from the show, it’s not just about gangsters and killing but more so about family, friendship, respect and loyalty. I try to apply these traits daily in normal life and during work. He’s ultimately a big character with a good heart.

Finally, as always, what’s your favourite thing about working here at Click?

I guess this really comes back to one of the earlier answers around the importance of why. My “why” has always been about providing technical solutions to real-world problems. There’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying than knowing you’ve created something that has made someone’s life easier, more productive or even more profitable. In that way my role is self-rewarding. The reason that Click is a great place to be is that they share that same vision, they believe in acting as a performance partner to their customers and as a result, we build great solutions that have a real impact. Click invests heavily into people and has supported me in building a great technical team, Click is not afraid to adopt modern development approaches and technologies.

Great answer, Shaun! It appears you and Click are one and the same!

A massive thank you to Shaun for taking the time to catch up with me. If you enjoyed this week’s episode, you can catch up on all previous episodes here. If you’re all caught up, be sure to join us next week for episode 77, as I attempt not to burn down Ben’s blog while he’s away!

Until then!

Locke



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