This week on Behind the Scenes with Florence we’re talking to Chris, one of our software engineers here at Florence. He’s had an interesting route into the profession having previously worked in a completely different field!
1. Who are you and what do you do at Florence?
My name is Chris. I'm a software engineer and I work as the Lead Engineer on Flex, our marketplace product.
My day-to-day is spent designing and building the software that helps to build our product for clients and the workers who use it. I’ll go through the process from scratch, I’ll speak to a product manager about something we want to do such as Instant Pay which is something that I built recently.
As a product team we plan out new features together, I’ll then assess how technically to design and build that feature, turn it into different tickets and tasks, then go through and build the software before releasing it to our users.
2. What made you want to join Florence?
The team was a huge part of my decision to join Florence. I was pretty lucky in that I actually got to come in and meet the team amidst the pandemic, we didn’t have to do everything via video call.
I got to come in and meet, not just the product team but also I met with some of the heads of operations and other people such as Charles our CEO who I got really good vibes from.
They were doing something good, I think that was a real sway for me. It wasn’t like a usual start up where they say “we’re going to change the world and make it a better place!”, it was more like “We’ve worked in this industry and can see where there are flaws, there are vulnerable people who need help, along with people who are trying to offer that help, and we want to make it easier and better for them to do their jobs”. So that was a huge positive.
3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“You’re never too old to try something new!” I worked in retail for eight years and then at the age of 32 I did a bootcamp and totally changed my career.
Old dogs, new tricks and all that stuff!
4. What’s your favourite thing about working at Florence?
For me, there’s a really good balance of me being trusted with what I’m working on and having a lot of autonomy alongside having a supportive network and wealth of knowledge in the rest of the team.
I always feel like I ask so many questions when we’re planning things out or if I'm not sure about something or why we’re approaching something a certain way and that is always greeted with a real positivity.
You’re encouraged to ask more questions if you’re not sure because someone else is always thinking the same question.
5. What’s the biggest challenge Florence is facing at the moment?
It feels like, for the past few months, everything has been super positive, we’ve been flying high so to say so no huge challenges that spring to mind!
I guess, probably with the pace at which we’re growing, bringing in lots of new hires and lots of new team members, it's probably going to bring a lot of operational challenges we’ll have to deal with.
6. What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise us?
Have you ever heard of the ‘ape index’?
To work out your ape index, you calculate by messaging your wingspan - fingertip to fingertip and compare it against your height and if you have a longer wingspan than your height then you have a positive ape index.
I’m six foot four and I have a six foot six wingspan so I have a plus two ape index!
7. What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Florence?
The one that the Product team tries to abide by is ‘ask for forgiveness, not for permission’.
Come in, show your value, show your worth, work hard and jump in head first. If you break something, you tried right?
We ask for forgiveness rather than permission and we learn from those mistakes. Give it your all and don’t sit back and go with the flow.
8. Where do you see Florence in 5 years
I guess I would love to see it where we have all three of our products being the go-to suite for care homes and all fingers crossed, part of the NHS.
Want the chance to grow within your career? Check out our open roles here.