28/07/2017

A new pasture. My relationship with Or-be.

A fresh start. A new system. And an exciting time to be in marketing automation.

A new pasture. My relationship with Or-be.

It's an exciting time to be in marketing automation.

My name is Ryan, and I'm the fresh face here at Or-be. I have an extensive background in web development, and not until about 2015 did I realise the potential of the web automation field. I didn't have a grasp on the impact it would have on not just marketing, but my entire career. That being said, here's a brief history of how I came to be at Or-be, why I enjoy what I do so much and perhaps a few pearls of wisdom as to how you can touch base with marketing automation.

Let me preface by stating I started web development and programming roughly 13-14 years ago; with high hopes of becoming a computer technician (look how that turned out!) - it was by complete fluke that I missed my interview for that role, after having studied almost a year for it - and took the next available opening, an apprenticeship in web development. I had no expertience in this field, no idea of what I was getting myself involved in or how long I would last. Would I sink, or would I swim? Enter a Mr. John Evans.

John is what I would describe as a workoholic with a keen eye for development, making things work and always biting off more than he could chew. He was to be my mentor at my first role at a senior school, in the educational sector (little did I know John was to also play a much larger, pivotal role in my life and career as the years progressed) Over the course of 3 years, I went from absolute novice, to be able to put together a CMS system in Coldfusion. I never expected to enjoy what I did, especially during the tough and confusing times where your code would just not execute. My life was essentially one big syntax error, until one day....it kind of all just clicked. I had that URIKA moment! The logic began to make sense. It was akin to being in the Matrix, where suddenly jumbled letters and numbers formed objects. If I had an idea, I could build it. THIS is when I knew I was in the right field. With a combination of John's quirky teaching methods, frequent trips to Greggs for coffee and donuts, and the resources I had to hand - I started my life as a web developer. 

My tenure with the school lasted around 5 years, before I was ready to move on. I was skittish and ready to get my hands on something new. I kept within the education sector, took on various positions, and in some cases became John's co-developer. We would occasionally cross paths, and tackle projects as a team. I'd take what I'd learned at a previous role, and share it with him - and vice versa. We became a formidable, lean, mean, development machine.

From education I was pulled over to media, then from media over to finance. Finance is where I spent most of my years developing. I developed for some of the big names; ODL, FXCM, (Alpari, you had your chance!), CME and the financial sector of Eaton. 

When I became more comfortable in my abilities and my own shoes - I started up my own company, and nervously stepped foot into the world of contracting. THIS was when I shook hands with marketing automation for the first time. It was to be another sink or swim experience. Luckily, I kept my head above water.

RCB Development came to fruition, and things started smoothly. I had a diverse array of clients which included everything from electrical equipment to aerospace. It was an exciting time for me, and I learned a lot from both the people and the technology they used at each company, however, I missed the security of a PAYE employee. And whilst my company has it's doors shut for now, they can always be opened. 

I digress; my latest role was with a large financial client. They were power users of Marketo - this was when I started to understand the scope of marketing automation. The ability to tailor and targer your userbase around their decisions and feedback. Marketo is a fantastic system, and was one of my favourites alongisde Eloqua. I also had worked with Exact Target, Mailchimp and various other smaller systems. 

I got my hands dirty, and got stuck in. I was planning email campaigns, working with responsive templates, designing lead score models and, unfortunately, sometimes sanitising data (not one of the most interesting parts of the job, albeit, necessary).

Over the years, I started to feel my progress coming to a halt. Every financial client had the same set of tools, wanted to achieve the same thing, and had the same idea on how to do it. As a developer, my input slipped under the radar, and the red tape kept it there. I was becoming frustrated and jaded, and just as I was about to throw in the towel, my good friend Mr. Evans summoned me once again (at the most opportune of times). 

As John's name flashed up on my mobile, I was expecting to hear more about finance and education. No. Instead what I heard peaked my interest. A new CRM and CMS system. An in-house one. One I have never used before. One that was mallable and moldable. I was provided a demo of the system, and suddenly the excitement all rushed back. What I saw of the current system not only offered what the HUGE names out there already offered, but it was OURS. There would be no need to ask a third party for bug fixes, we'd do it ourselves. There would be no steep learning curve, we'd be creating the functionality as we went. I took John up on his offer to work with Or-be in their London office, and with a fantastic team at our disposable, we began to make magic. 

So, as a brief summar, that's how I came to (Or-)be. Sat in a comfy meeting chair, working with a flexible set of systems and a sense of value. We offer a fantastic product that I'm proud to be behind, that's supported by an amazing team. 

Onwards and upwards,

Ryan.C.Brown
Senior Developer and Marketing Automation Specialist

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