So, Chip, what's your role with ZeroLight?
I am the Director of Product Development USA. Helping to facilitate our expansion into the U.S. market, my job is to promote and champion the great work ZeroLight does to prospective customers this side of the pond. As we grow our U.S. customer base, my role will develop to focus more on working with these customers and the UK team to deliver a unique customer experience using ZeroLight technology, with the long-term goal of creating a small team here to work with our U.S. customers and partners.
What's your typical day-to-day?
Working in what I like to call ‘Silicon Prairie' (Minneapolis, MN), the UK-U.S. time difference has a big impact on my day. I start very early; when the UK team are still in their office, and when their day ends, I try to get out for a run or a cycle and prepare for the 2nd leg of my day. What this 2nd half entails, varies quite a bit: I could be demoing ZeroLight technology, creating proof of concept proposals for new clients, or making sure we are on schedule to deliver a product for an existing customer.
What were you doing before you joined the team?
Before joining ZeroLight, I was in the video game industry for 21 years. I joined Microsoft Games Studio when it was less than 50 people and went on to be part of the Xbox Sports group that created launch titles for the original console. After 9 years at Microsoft, I moved on to Activision and a couple of small gaming startups before running my own studio for several years. Before I got into the games industry, though, I worked for Apple, Andersen Consulting's Advanced Technology Group, and I even sold G.I. Joes with the Kung Fu grip for Hasbro Toys!
What would you say is the biggest difference between work-life in the UK and the U.S., and how are you finding being the link between the two?
The key word there is "link." That's what I enjoy most about my new role. I get to talk, work, and interact with nearly every group on the UK team. The biggest difference is the most obvious: there are only 2 of us in the U.S. at the moment, and even we're 2000 miles apart! I do miss not seeing my co-workers every day, but Instant Messaging, Skype, and phone calls make it a lot easier. I like to think that while the UK team is sleeping, I'm working, so we're constantly operating and have each other's backs 24 hours a day.
That's enough about work: what are your hobbies?
Working in gaming for all those years took its toll on me, so I'm trying to get back into shape at the moment. I used to run half marathons and triathlons, and I'm aiming to get back to that condition again (if nothing else, to help me carry the demo cases more easily!), so a lot of my spare time is being taken up by cycling and running. Fitness isn't my only focus, though. Although I can barely play the radio, I'm a huge music fan: I love listening to music, seeing local bands play, and watching music documentaries. I also read and, obviously, play video games. When I was younger, though, I was always into sketching and drawing, so much so that I actually thought I was going to be a book illustrator! Sadly, I struggled to find the time to draw for years, but now that my 3 boys are out of the house, and I've got my new iPad Pro and pencil, I've gotten back into it; it's very relaxing after a good day's work.
One thing I've always found time for each year is my winter camping trip in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Using the 6 miles of frozen lakes as our highway, we either snowshoe in with 12" sleds or use dog sleds to reach our very remote campsites. I call it my technology detox, and I look forward to it every year.