Recently, we had the chance to sit down and catch up with our very own Simon Turvey. Simon’s been our VP of Engineering since February 2017, and he knows a thing or two about cutting-edge AI and automation.
Naturally, we bombarded him with questions. Here are his answers:
What Simon did before joining Trint
A UK native, Simon was fascinated with the explosion of computers and the Internet across the pond. When it came time to decide what he wanted to do for university, he didn’t hesitate. Simon graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a PhD in computer science (his thesis was on neural networks),
His first job was in London for Symbian, a software company that was acquired by Nokia in 2008. That’s when he began working on TCP/IP networks—the software stack that allows smartphones to talk to mobile networks. From there, a variety of engineering and technical leadership roles followed, culminating in a move to Silicon Valley in 2012 where he experienced first-hand the buzz that makes start-up life so exhilarating.
Fast-forward to 2017: Simon found out about Trint through a recruiter and subsequently met with our CEO, Jeff Kofman, over coffee. Jeff was so impressed with Simon that he had him meet with the rest of the development team the same day. Simon was so taken by Trint he started the role as VP of Engineering a week later.
What was the adjustment from corporate to startup life like?
Having worked for over a decade in a corporate culture, Simon wanted to experience the excitement and rapid pace of a startup firsthand. Now, on a daily basis, he gets to “contribute to the strategy of the company and build a world-class engineering team.” What’s not to love?
“It's a thrill to be so close to the product and the business and to have the opportunity to influence both directly; so refreshingly different from the many layers and functions of a bigger company. "
“Moving from the corporate world to startup life has been a whirlwind. While I was lucky enough in Nokia to work on some very exciting projects with very tight deadlines, the relentless speed that Trint moves at is another thing altogether - and I wouldn't change that for anything! In the corporate world it can be months before a product or feature gets in the hands of customers; for Trint, it's days and sometimes only hours.”
And Simon’s nearly 15 years of experience working for Symbian and Nokia is also a huge advantage for the company. “I found that my experience with industry-leading software engineering practices became invaluable to Trint on its journey from startup to scale-up.”
What is the most exciting thing about the technology behind Trint?
“The most exciting thing at the moment is that we are leveraging the very cutting-edge tools and frameworks and languages that are enabling us to execute extremely quickly on our innovation roadmap.
For example, we’re heavily leveraging ReactJS to build out next generation of web applications...We’re using tools like Kubernetes on the backend for our scalable infrastructure...and we’re embracing philosophies like infrastructure as code to facilitate devops and make engineering more of a pleasure in terms of getting features deployed and out into people’s hands.
“That makes us not just rare in the software engineering world...it makes us an extraordinarily attractive place for engineers to come and work.”
What’s the Trint dev team up to these days?
“First off, we’re growing very quickly. A big part of my job now is to always be on the lookout for new talent.
“In terms of the software and AI, we’re working on delivering some cutting innovation around transcription - it’s not an overstatement to say we are going to take people places they never imagined they could go.”
But how does an AI learn new things to begin with? “Masses of data are required. If we provide a sufficient volume of examples of utterances and their text equivalences, the AI is capable of building a generic model that allows it to recognize things that it has not seen before.
What about the future of automation services?
“Automation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can speed up workflows and eliminate drudgery. On the other hand, some of those tasks that are being automated are obviously key to people’s livelihoods.
“But it’s not a totally bleak situation. If you look at the gig economy...with services like AirBnB and Uber...it’s actually been the case that while these companies have taken some commerce away from traditional businesses, it’s actually caused a whole supporting industry to spring up around it.
“So it’s not always the case that these disruptive economic changes are a one-way street. New jobs are often created off the back of them. It’s my hope that we see something similar happening with automation, that there will be services that crop up...where we didn’t realize jobs were required.”
Thanks for your time and insights, Simon!
Interested in working for Trint?
If you’d like to work with Simon and be a part of Trint’s rapidly expanding dev team, head on over to trint.com to learn more about what we’re doing. When you’re ready to apply, go to trint.com/were-hiring to see our current vacancy list.