When it comes to disrupting entire industries and building transformative customer experiences you have to have an exceptional team who can and build these products at pace. Our team at gravity9 are just that, highly skilled, driven, passionate and fun to work with. This month we continue our Meet the gravity9'ers series with the introduction of our Director of Product Engineering and Client Accounts, Rob Graham who is based out of our New York office.
1. What is your role at gravity9?
My official role is Director of Product Engineering and Client Accounts. My work is spread across a lot of different activities, helping to grow the brand in the Americas; identifying sales targets and client engagements and, also helping to deliver some of the engagements already in place, working closely with our existing accounts. I am helping to devise a strategy to help develop our business in North and South America. The joke I often use is "If my hair looks funny, it's because I wear a lot of different hats" I like the variety of the different elements of the role.
2. What do you enjoy most about working at gravity9?
I like the evolving culture, we are building something from the ground up and there isn't one playbook on how to do that right. Growing in a way that is responsive to our clients first, then adding in what our culture brings to people is an interesting value proposition. That growing, evolving culture is really exciting and is using a lot of different perspectives, and trying different experiments to see what works out. As we venture into South America I'm excited to see how we evolve and find new things that test us on our journey, it's fun for me.
3. What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your line of work?
It is good to have and to express an opinion, in a constructive way but, you should also feel it's ok to have an opinion changed. What tends to be the case is there is a reservation in sharing ideas and thoughts, partly because there have to be facts to substantiate them and people are shy to express an opinion when they don't have the facts. I believe people should feel like they can offer ideas and opinions even when the facts aren't there. Part of the process is to be corrected or to be shown what you may have not earlier considered. There is something very rewarding about having your opinion changed, it shows a bit more of a cognitive improvement being able to see the world in a way you didn't see it before.
4. What can’t you start your day without?
I won't say coffee as I know that is the common answer and I am a big coffee drinker but I feel you deserve to know more about me. At the risk of sharing too much I will say; a hot shower. It helps bridge the divide between waking up and being ready for the day. If I don't do that I feel a bit foggy...... then I can have my coffee, afterwards.
5. What do you do in your spare time?
I have a small dog so a lot of time is spent keeping him out of trouble and from eating things he shouldn't. I also watch sports, I am a Toronto sports fan but Toronto isn't the most successful sporting city so I am used to being disappointed and I try not to spend too much of my energy there! Recently I've gone down the rabbit hole of different types of YouTube channels. I've found some really interesting engineering YouTube subscription channels. One of the videos I've recently watched was a squirrel obstacle course; this guy created an obstacle course in his back yard and was trying to understand if he could learn more about how squirrels interact with their environment and are motivated to get food, I thought it was quite interesting. I'm also trying to improve my conversational Spanish. As we are moving into South America I thought I should improve as I'm not very fluent in Spanish at all, I can order a coffee and that's about it.... I'm getting there.
6. What is the last movie you watched?
I do watch the occasional movie, not so much these days with cinemas being closed. The last movie I watched was The Courier with Benedict Cumberbatch as a spy, set in Germany, it was an interesting genre but I didn't finish the movie, I think I fell asleep. The last movie I watched to completion was Shutter Island, a horror movie, not a genre I usually dabble in but it was on and I ended up watching it, its out there; very different.
7. What special skill/talent do you have (other than what you do for a living)?
I don't know if its an OCD thing or not but I tend to find typos and misspellings, they just tend of emerge to me. I think they come from when I was an engineering student and doing the reports, I was always the guy pulling the product over the finish line and I've developed a knack for misspelled words. My second thing is I enjoy scrabble and I like to think I'm a decent player, but now it's to the point that people don't like playing with me as I play in a very defensive way, that doesn't progress the board. The third thing is that I'm pretty good at older video games, one in particular, Mario Kart 64 I'm pretty good at, better than I should admit!
8. What would be your dream vacation?
I came across, when down one of my YouTube rabbit holes, a fellow who was tasked with going to the least visited country in the world, Tuvalu. It's a coral Island in the Pacific that isn't very accessible. It only has 10 or 20 thousand people and it seems the way of life is very friendly and the problems that exist in the world today don't impact that country. They are also a country that isn't very high above sea level so its quite sad that in the future the country might go away. Also, apparently as the sun sets and their only airport for the day shuts down people can walk on the tarmac and play soccer, it's weird to think the island is so small they can repurpose the island for recreation. Paradoxically, if I could have just one day to try out somewhere I'd love to see what the Faroe Islands are like but only for one day, I know it's completely different but I think it would be a neat spot to exist for a day.
9. What is the last song you had stuck in your head?
This isn't much of a song more of a theme tune, one of the YouTube rabbit holes I went down I found out 'Duck Tales', was rebooted and sure enough they have a catching modern remix to the song. I was watching it and I thought this is interesting and the song is catchy. As soon as I read this question this song came right into my head.
Hear from other members of our team in the #meetthegravity9ers series on the insights page of our website.