In software, a README is the documentation that tells you how to start using and understanding a new piece of software. In an organization, a personal README is a way to tell your coworkers how they can best communicate with you, work with you, give you feedback, and support you.
About Shaw (He/Him)
I am a technologist at heart and enjoy learning new things on almost any topic. When I’m not working I like to keep pretty active doing things like cycling 🚴♀️ (the photo above was taken in the north of India, during a 500km bike ride from Manali to Leh), rock climbing 🧗♂️, mountaineering 🏔, indoor skydiving 🪂 … adventure sports are my thing and when it comes to holidays I like to go to remote places or do epic human-powered journeys 🚵♀️ 🛶 🏔.
I live on Turrbal land on the Northside of Brisbane and have done most of my life. I’m close to the Kedron Brook bikeway so I get out on there for a walk or ride almost every day.
In my downtime I enjoy reading 🤓, equal parts fiction and non-fiction and my favourite types of fiction are science-based, political thrillers and adventure, but I’ve been trying to broaden the genres I read lately, so I’ve been enjoying reading/listening to a bit of murder mystery. In 2022 I got into Improv Theatre at Big Fork Theatre and it’s a great way to have fun and play games like a kid.
Strength Finder: Learner, Harmony, Connectedness, Arranger, Relator
Personality Type: INFP
DISC Style: S
About my job
In my work, regardless of my role, I like to enable teams to do their best work. I do a mixture of technical and non-technical work, and I love the sorts of projects where I get to work with things like geospatial technologies, IoT, etc.
As much as I enjoy writing code, I find that the greatest value I can provide is to help others, rather than as an individual contributor. So, if I ever have to make a choice between writing some code or helping someone else to solve a problem, I’ll always pick the latter. (hint: if you feel like you want help, I’ll always make time and it’s not an inconvenience)
Since the start of 2022 I’ve been working a four-day week by doing 4x10hr days Mon-Thu and taking Fri off. It started as an experiment, but I found it to work well with my schedule, and I enjoyed this way of working. The extra-long weekends more than make up for the slightly longer workdays. I’m generally not working Fridays but I’m absolutely happy to be flexible if there’s a meeting or something that requires my participation on a Friday. Each day I try to take out time away from my desk for lunch, usually sometime between 12-1pm.
I like to make the most of the flexibility of remote work, I will work a full week, but I don’t stress too much about counting the minutes because I know I’ll get everything done that I need to. If I decide to go for a long lunch one day, I don’t stress about making up the time that day, I’ll just take care of it over the rest of the week.
Communicating with me
My preferred communication medium is via Slack for messaging, video and calls. I’m almost always connected on Slack and have it on my phone too. I mute notifications when I’m not working so don’t worry about sending me a Slack message outside of normal hours.
Phone calls are good for time critical things, or if I’ve got Slack muted. I will often have my phone on silent and if I don’t answer, I’ll get back to you ASAP. If I’m on a call or in a meeting and you call me, I will probably send you a Slack message in response.
I sometimes have a Teams client running, but often I’ll be logged into a client’s team and won’t get notifications, so if you send me a message and I don’t respond, please try via Slack instead.
How I work
I take a lean approach to most things I do, start by delivering the “MVP” and then constantly iterate on it. This has served me well in my career, but I know it can be challenging for some people who prefer to prepare a perfect plan before starting work. For this reason, I find some environments frustrating, especially if there’s a lot of up-front planning or documentation required.
I prefer to work with other people, rather than solo, because I strongly believe that the best outcomes arise from the combination of diverse ideas and thinking. I enjoy learning from people I work with too, so if we’re working together and you think there’s a new or better way to do something, let’s always talk about it.
When it comes to meetings, I always think there should be an agenda and I always try to be on time, and finish on time. If I’m supposed to be in a meeting with you and I haven’t turned up (or let you know I’m going to be late) then please send me a quick message on Slack just in case I’ve missed the invite.
I definitely prefer informal 1on1s, and with some structure where required. As with the meetings section above, a loose agenda of talking points is probably a good idea to keep focus.
As far as topics to cover, I like 1on1s be focused on personal behaviours, performance, and development. Having said that, these topics are all within the framing of a consulting business and so I prefer to talk about them in that context rather than as isolated topics. I would much rather align my personal growth with objectives which also align to the business, I find this much more fulfilling.
I like to think that I take feedback well, but I’m sure I get a bit defensive from time to time. I do genuinely value constructive feedback though, and if I had to choose between receiving tough feedback or no feedback at all, I would definitely want the feedback. I appreciate it delivered directly.
I’m not a huge fan of the feedback sandwich, if the purpose of our conversation is to give feedback on a specific topic, I’d rather focus on that topic than trying to soften the blow by coming up with nice things to say. It leads to confusion and frustration.
I can get distracted by things, so if I’ve said I’ll do something or send you something and haven’t done it in a reasonable time please chase me up!
Asking for help
I am pretty open to admitting when I don’t know something. As I’ve mentioned above, I think we succeed as a team, so I’ll happily announce to clients if I don’t know something too. I really like asking for help in public channels in Slack so that anyone can contribute ideas or answers, as well as learn from the answers.
I like doing things, so if there’s a social get together that involves just sitting around and drinking (which I don’t do) then I will probably decline, or just pop by to say hi. I much rather smaller gatherings than big group ones.
I thrive on delivering value, and get frustrated by inaction, so if I’m working on something where there’s a lot of bureaucracy or lack of decisiveness, I won’t enjoy it. I’ll keep pushing ideas for how to get things moving, but after a while I find that I get exhausted and become disengaged.