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Our Bangkok team is hard at work building the platform that runs ScreenCloud; a global operating system for screens. Anna Thomas leads our talent function, and recently sat down with our CEO, Mark McDermott, to talk about what it’s like being part of our Bangkok hub. Anna and Mark discuss the fulfilling, rewarding careers that ScreenCloud is uniquely positioned to provide in Bangkok.
Anna Thomas : Let’s start by discussing the context for ScreenCloud’s Bangkok hub. What’s the startup scene like in Thailand?
Mark McDermott : If the UK is slightly behind America’s startup scene, then I think comparatively the startup scene in Thailand is a bit behind the UK. It’s great to see more and more startups in Thailand - some at very early stages - and the promising signs for this building ecosystem. There is a strong appetite for funding and some venturesome funding decisions are being made.
AT : And what do you think that means for people who live and work in Thailand, who want to be part of this building ecosystem?
MM : For now, it means that there aren’t many startup leaders in Thailand who have gone through the full lifecycle of starting, scaling and exiting and then reentering the ecosystem, either as investors or second time founders. The emerging scene means that, comparatively to the UK and US, there are fewer ‘first generation’ companies in Thailand; businesses that have scaled up, succeeded, maybe floated or been acquired for a lot of money. Compared to the UK or US, there isn’t that experienced founder expertise there at the moment… but it’s just a matter of time.
AT : On that basis, what do you think ScreenCloud contributes to the Thai startup scene? How are we adding value?
MM : We definitely bring our experience and expertise from London. London is without doubt one of the main startup cities in Europe if you look at where the funding is going, where the big and exciting exits are happening and the amount of talented people who are working in these sorts of businesses. London's now into its second or even third generation of startups and ScreenCloud is bringing that to Thailand. I believe that amazing things are going to be happening in Thailand in the next five to ten years and I’m excited to be part of the first wave of this.
AT : Why do you believe that being part of our growing engineering team in Bangkok, is a better option than joining one of the larger corporations in the same city?
MM : I think the biggest difference will be the increased sense of freedom our engineering team has; both the freedom of working as part of ScreenCloud’s flexible culture, and the freedom to take ownership of certain parts of the product. Compared to working in larger corporate engineering functions our engineers have more input into designing, building and delivering - and they’re doing that with modern technology. We've recently rebuilt the whole platform and unlike working with a technology stack that has evolved over 15 or 20 years, at ScreenCloud there isn't that legacy technology. Being an engineer at ScreenCloud means you don’t have to work with older programming languages and older frameworks. For people who want to be accountable for something, they can take that freedom of ownership and have tangible, direct impact. And, put all of that into the context of a fast-paced, scaling business that is international, working predominantly in English and for customers in the US and Europe, and it presents an engaging learning environment and the potential for a high-impact engineering career.
AT : What’s the most rewarding part of that for someone who might be reading this now, and considering working in a startup or scaleup environment?
MM : For an individual who wants to be accountable, take ownership and deliver products quickly into the hands of customers I think the reward comes in seeing your product being used, and getting feedback on it. There are tonnes of things that ScreenCloud wants to explore, we haven’t done everything we need to do yet... There is new research and development to be pursued and more to deliver. It really could be your big idea and your contribution that gets us to the next level as a company.
AT : Let’s move on to talking about ScreenCloud’s Bangkok hub specifically. What do you love about it?
MM : My favourite thing about our Bangkok office - apart from our world class coffee machine and the swimming pool of course - is the way that the office has been laid out. We have an Innovation Zone, which is a testing centre for all of our devices where you can see almost every different type of screen and every different type of player, all running ScreenCloud. The main office space is super collaborative with comfortable and flexible breakout spaces and it’s a generally inspiring place to be; you can speak with your fellow ScreenClouders and collaborate on different projects as easily as you can find quiet space to focus on doing some deep work. It's also lovely because it's surrounded by gardens; there's a general sense of peace and tranquillity which you don't always get in a busy city like Bangkok. It’s a truly creative, focused and generally great atmosphere to work in.
AT : ScreenCloud is a deliberately international business - we love our individual hubs and we work hard to recognise and amplify the cultural diversity we have. As CEO, how do our Bangkok-based ScreenClouders contribute uniquely to our overall company culture?
MM : There are some universal themes about what I've learned, and I think the biggest scope of influence that our Bangkok hub has on our overall company culture is a real sense of creative focus - and that’s so needed if ScreenCloud is going to find elegant solutions to problems. In the West we’re so prone to peaks and troughs and extremes and I think that is the strongest generalised comparison; there is a sense of calmness that our Bangkok hub brings to the company. Of course, we all get stressed from time to time and we’re a scale-up, so things are busy in all our hubs! But I love how much our Bangkok hub drives the whole company to look at the bigger picture from time to time.
Anna Thomas, Talent Acquisition Manager
Anna is our Talent Acquisition Manager based in our London hub! When she’s not doing all things recruitment related and helping to hire awesome ScreenClouders into the business, she’s getting crafty… did you know she did a furniture degree?! Anna has also recently purchased a bike, so if you keep an eye out, you may just see her whizzing around the roads of South West London!