Mark Thomas, the founder of Coderus, tells us how they are supporting startups by offering app development services.
Who is Mark Thomas?
Mark Thomas: I am the founder CEO and owner of Coderus. I have extensive experience and varied backgrounds in software development. I began my career developing cross-platform software, gaining experience in a plethora of languages, and developing a significant relationship with Apple during the development of Mac OSX. Following an admirable career with Omnis, BT, and games houses, Mark’s experience includes developing firmware for BT’s Home Hub Wi-Fi routers.
From sole-trader roots in 1998, Mark has built an impressive team, nurturing graduate talent to deliver high-quality solutions for international blue-chip clients and micro-businesses alike. A professional creative thinker and genius at solving bespoke software solutions, Mark’s passion, drive, and respect make him a rare find.
How does Coderus innovate?
Mark Thomas: Innovation is one of our core values at Coderus, it’s at the heart of everything we do. We encourage innovative thinking from all members of our team so that we can deliver the best possible solutions for our clients and consistently improve the quality of our in-house processes.
Our team continually identifies opportunities to incorporate new technologies into our current projects, recognizes and provides solutions for any gaps in our service offerings, and strives to solve any problems that arise for us, our clients, and our client’s clients. We allocate time and resources for our team to work on R&D projects and explore their interests or specialisms so that they’re always up to date on the latest technologies and development tools.
Our design team recently launched Coderus Creative Concepts, learning, and development campaign designed to encourage innovative thinking and showcase our team’s design abilities. Students and other team members can submit ideas for an app or suggest a redesign of an existing app that we will research and create designs for.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mark Thomas: Flat out, Covid-19 has pushed my wife Ali and me quite a bit over the last 12 months and we have worked most days since lockdown. Running a technology company, you cannot rest, especially now. On the family side, it has been great to have more time with my teenage boys who would have been naturally out at this age, so it has been great on that aspect to enjoy more family time with them.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Mark Thomas: As a company, we offered flexible working to our employees before the beginning of the pandemic but social distancing guidelines and numerous lockdowns have meant we’ve all had to work from home for much longer periods of time. Whilst flexibility and productivity go hand-in-hand, there are a few aspects of face-to-face working that we would benefit from such as, the creation of social ties and reciprocal trust – both of which are essential to innovation. However, new technology can help to bridge this newfound gap between team members.
Another difficulty our remote product development team is facing is the challenge of gaining a second opinion or expert technical advice from another team member, when working on a physical device. This issue is amplified due to the varying skill level across members of the same team.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Mark Thomas: One of the key lessons I’ve learned is to be more patient and understanding with our staff. It’s been a tough year for all of us on many levels and it’s vital for both sides to be more understanding during these times, it is important to recollect yourself and find a way through.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mark Thomas: To ensure the safety of our employees, we developed contingency plans for critical roles, split team arrangements, and effective communication channels. Communication tools like Slack are vital for any remote team, we have separate channels allocated for specific projects so that there are dedicated areas we can go to if we need advice or support in a certain area. This has also helped us create a supportive culture where questions are asked in a public forum instead of via private channels, which significantly increases knowledge sharing and contributes to each member of the team’s continued learning.
As well as this, we considered how our business processes work in line with our management systems in this new climate. It’s difficult to plan for every possibility but we worked hard to get all of the team on board with any new processes that came into practice as a result of the pandemic so that everyone had a full understanding.
How will Coderus remain competitive?
Mark Thomas: Our historic and future success is owed to our strong foundation of core values (innovation, imagination, integrity, quality, and continued learning) and our commitment to delivering market-leading device solutions. By combining our values, experience, and innovative thinking, we deliver some of the industry’s leading products and solutions – which set us apart from our competitors. Coderus was already pushing product development on battery life and performance so combined with a bigger push on the sustainability front, we feel we’re in a great position moving forward. Over the last year, we have spent a lot of time turning our skills towards our own internal business automation, which is now coming to fruition putting us in a good position to use this in the future.
Your final thoughts?
Mark Thomas: The pandemic, while awful on a human scale, has been great for the environment and sustainability progress, helping companies adopt new technologies and challenging the status quo. Whilst I’m a technologist at heart and deal with change easily. The past year has caused the development of many new technologies to become accelerated, from wireless digital payments through to carbon zero airplane engines – which is great to see.
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