Meet The Team: Zoe
7th December 2017
Zoe’s been Trussle’s Head of Product since the early days. For a long time, Zoe was the only Product Manager and handled everything Product related solo. Now the Product team has grown to a cosy three, Zoe’s able to a) breathe a bit more and b) spend more time thinking strategically about our overall business goals.
How did you get into tech?
I was finishing my History degree in York and trying to get on a graduate scheme - at that point I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I applied for a few different grad schemes through Reed (the jobsite), and Reed got back to me asking if I wanted to apply for a job with them.
I went for it and ended up working in the Reed property department for a year helping them find offices. I thought I wanted to work in the charity sector so got in touch with Alec Reed, who set up Reed’s charitable arm. This was at the time The Big Give was being created and I decided to get involved. I didn’t know anything about technology but I loved that side of the job - working with something that changed every day; the charity side less so! From there I moved to work for reed.co.uk and other websites after that. Tech was never my plan - I fell into it, but it worked out for the best.
What does Head of Product do at Trussle?
The product team work closely with people across the business, talking to Operations, Design, and Marketing, trying to figure out how to help the business reach strategic goals using tech. We have goals to reach by 2021, and it’s up to me as Head of Product to break the work into shorter term milestones to help us get there. I’ll break down those goals further for our other Product Managers to iterate on to get towards our vision.
How does your role differ to that of a product manager as Head of Product?
I spend a lot more time with Ishaan, our CEO, Rob, our VP Operations, and Matt, our VP Engineering, working out how we as a business will reach our strategic goals. We think about the direction we want to take the product in and prioritising what we should be spending most of our focus and time on. I spend less time with our development team than I would as a Product Manager and more time working on our strategic direction. Now I have Faris and Annise in my own Product team, I can share the knowledge of Trussle I’ve gained during my time here with them.
What’s your most memorable moment at Trussle?
When our first full mortgage completed. In the very early days we used to have an exhibition stand where we wrote up every customer’s name in black pen as soon as we submitted their application, then once they’d had their application approved we’d give them a green tick. We had a celebratory ceremony for the first green tick we gave with champagne that we shook up and sprayed everywhere.
Other than that, my highlight is the growth the company has seen. I was the fifth person to join Trussle and now we’re 55 and we’re doing lots more mortgages, but that first one was so exciting!
What made you want to join Trussle?
When I joined Trussle the company was in a very different position. We’d just received our first round of funding, and the team was made up of a couple of devs and Ishaan. I thought it was a great opportunity to work on a project from the beginning - I’d always joined companies at a later stage and been left with other people’s decisions so I was excited to build something from scratch. Trussle had just signed the partnership with Zoopla at that time so it was exciting to join a company that early on with so much opportunity ahead of it.
I’ve also got a mortgage myself and remembered the process of getting it being a horribly painful experience so I personally identified with Trussle on that level too.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Figuring out what to prioritise. As a company we have so many ideas that it can be tough to work out what we’re going to work on and what we’re not. Inevitably, it means that some people aren’t happy with the decisions made which can make me unpopular (!) but we work on the basis that if it doesn’t make our customers lives easier, it’s not worth doing. Luckily we have an amazing, customer focused team here at Trussle, so people are usually pretty understanding as to why we make the decisions we do!
What do you get up to out of work?
I sing in a 500 strong choir and we do three big shows a year. I’m quite creative too and I make a lot of random bits and pieces - mainly hats that I make for festivals with lights and beads. I’m currently making a skirt for my choir’s Christmas show.
What’s your plan B?
I’d quite like to live somewhere other than London. I’m very drawn to Silicon Valley and San Francisco - there’s lots of buzz around tech there. I don’t think I’d be doing anything other than product - I fell into it early on in my career but I really love my job and wouldn’t want to do anything else!
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
If you ask most people here they’ll tell you I’m really nosey as I’m always butting into conversations. Ideally I’d like to be invisible so I could listen in to more conversations without it being so obvious…
Is there another company doing something you’re interested in?
Pensionbee are doing some really exciting things. I’m interested in other financial services companies as working at Trussle, I understand how difficult the challenges are. It’s good to see they’re doing cool things to make pensions more accessible.
Then I really like Memrise - I started using it to learn Turkish. I went to a talk their COO gave and they’ve done lots of research about how people best learn languages so they can take it in and continually learn. I find that side of languages really interesting.
What are you most proud of what you’ve achieved at Trussle?
Generally the fact that we’ve built a 55-person strong business. I’m really proud to have been part of the team that’s made that happen. We’ve come such a long way since I first joined and it’s great to see that Trussle has come to fruition in a short space of time.
Inspired by Zoe’s story? We’re hiring! Take a look at our vacancies - we’d love to hear from you.