published on
April 7, 2022

A chat with Horace Bell-Gam, engineering manager

WRITTEN BY
Ella Moody
·
posted on
Behind the scenes

This week on Behind the Scenes we're talking to Horace, our tech team's engineering manager. 

Horace always thought he’d work in forensics but he’s now the go-to person for all things code at Florence...

1. Who are you and what do you do at Florence? 

I’m Horace, an engineering manager at Florence. Our take on engineering manager is a bit different to other companies because we’re quite small but in short, I write a bit of code and largely help the team get better at what it is that they do from a tech perspective. 

2.What made you want to join Florence? 

I wanted to try something that was different. 

I’d done a lot of big company stuff in the past and wanted to do something that was small and a bit unknown as it were. 

Obviously there’s the upside of working with nurses and carers and doing something that has a bit more purpose. 

But at the point I was at in my career I wanted to do something that was a bit different to what I had done before so I kind of jumped in that way. 

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

Don’t worry about things you can’t control.

4. What’s your favourite thing about working at Florence? 

Autonomy. 

I think we’re given a lot of trust to try and get things right, a lot of room to make mistakes and recover from them. 

The autonomy is great because ultimately we have to make this work as a business and as a tech business and being given the time and space and the resources to do that has been great. 

It’s not something that I was used to before joining Florence. 

5. What’s the biggest challenge Florence is facing at the moment? 

I guess at the moment we have scaling challenges, tech wise.

These are good problems to have, we’ve built a bunch of stuff that works and has worked for our relatively small business and now we’ve got all this growth, some of these things need to be updated.

I guess our biggest challenge is building the team quickly enough to get ahead of these things and serve the next however many millions of users we end up with! 

6. What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise us? 

I initially studied Forensic Science. The dream had always been to combine forensics and computing and do super detective work that probably doesn’t exist as a real job. 

I kind of stumbled into the sciences by virtue of having bad A-Levels and by virtue of not really wanting to do those A-Levels but I kind of ended up in that situation where I made the best of what I had. 

I had a great time at uni, as you do, and did Forensic Science and then thought I’m going to do a Computer Science master's course as it had always been on my mind. 

Once I had done the two, I thought I would go into forensics or something like that but in the end that didn’t really pan out and I no longer want to do that.

I’m quite happy writing code and making things that work! 

7. What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Florence? 

As a tech person, from my point of view I think it would be to let go of these preconceptions about you having to write things in a particular language or build something in a particular way; and think more about how these customers of ours are using our product for their jobs. 

So, put that front of mind rather than whatever niche specific technical thing you think is important because at the end of the day, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not. 

We can build a better product first and come back to that stuff later on when it becomes relevant. 

8. Where do you see Florence in five years?

In five years, we’ll be in at least five countries and we’ll just be bigger, better and faster!

If you want to join our team and help Florence go international, you can! We’re hiring - check out our open roles here... 

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