Meet the Team — Ryan Clarke, Head of Engineering

Meet the Team — Ryan Clarke

This edition of Meet the Team spotlight covers Ryan Clarke, Head of Engineering — on the GRID since May 2019. Ryan’s role crossed many departments but his sole focus is in ensuring that the technical aspect of GRID’s products and solutions are high-quality. Read on to learn more about his journey with GRID and for a bonus killer of a dad joke!

1. Let’s start off with a hearty congratulations for your FIFTH year on the GRID! What a milestone! There’s likely plenty to reflect on, but let’s start with your working set-up — how has 5 years working out of the Berlin HQ been?

Thank you! It has been a roller coaster that’s for sure, filled with way more highs than lows! I believe there are 2 great things about working for GRID: the people and the product, both are amazing. I have a great team around me and it really is a pleasure to come into work each day.

One of the best parts of being around for so long is seeing the evolution of the product, from basic web UIs we started with to the sophisticated APIs and UIs our customers use daily today. This progression really puts into perspective the achievements we’ve made and the challenges we’ve overcome.

I work out of the Berlin office when it makes sense for me, but there are days where I’m in meetings all day and don’t want to camp out in a meeting room the whole day — I’d rather camp out in the countryside somewhere. I have a self-converted camper van fully remote-work-equipped so I can take my work on the road whenever I’m able to.

2. You’re employee number nine and Head of Engineering, so what does your day-to-day look like currently and how has it changed (if at all) recently? What exactly are you responsible for?

I started at GRID as a Tech Lead, leading a small group of front-end engineers toward successful delivery, which isn’t dissimilar to my current role. Just now I lead a group of tech leads who in turn lead their own teams. 

I am responsible for the successful technical delivery of our products, so making sure the software is high-quality, has the longevity to be scalable and that the solutions are going to achieve what we need them to. As well as maintaining the processes that we have in place aren’t too much or too little to ensure we’re following good standards and guidelines. Sso really my role entails a lot of everything.

3a. Your dad joke repertoire is unrivaled, made evident at each company All Hands. Besides making sure you have an endless supply of jokes to spread laughter (and groans across departments) — does your role require much cross-departmental collaboration?

Quite a bit actually. Naturally, I spend time with the support team ensuring that we have good cross-communication across that where they typically create lots of incidents and that the communication flows are helpful when we are working to resolve incidents and support requests for clients, etc.

I go along to Product meetings, Tech meetings, the odd Commercial meetings and to People meetings. My involvement ranges from working out project deliverables, process changes, and supporting engineers and managers on their soft goals.

3b. And we have to ask — what’s your all-time favorite joke?

So there’s two fish in a tank and one turns to the other and says, “do you know how to drive this thing?” Right, because they’re not in a fish tank, it’s like a tank tank…..

4. What has been your most memorable experience so far at GRID and are there any special projects that you’re especially proud of working on over the years?

Probably seeing our widgets first go live and actually working. I remember we had the game up on the projector in the Berlin HQ, and everyone who’d worked on them was celebrating seeing them work live in sync with the twitch video. The same feelings pop up every time I see a product launch go out and knowing the hard work the team has put into producing those products. 

My soft-flex is that I once played a charity match against GODSENT once, which was pretty fun. The best bit for me is that I’m not a gamer at all, but when you have the opportunity to play against one of the top CS teams, while working at GRID, you take it. It’s fun to see some of the die-hard gamers get jealous of that one.

5. A pride of GRID is the diversity and individuality of the GRIDers which we can all attest influences the company’s unique culture — what are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work? Have you picked up anything in your personal life that you got from other GRIDers?

I already mentioned that I have my camper van that I travel around Europe in when I can. I love going out camping and being outdoors. Working out of the Alps or on the beach and then spending my off time exploring somewhere new is great. I’m also big into snowboarding, there’s something about being able to combine a nice cold pint with a physical activity that just makes it so much better than other sports.

Look out for the next edition of Meet the Team!

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