Fast 5

Sport in Technology | Chris McLaughlin

Fast 5  Chris McLaughlin

 

Fast 5 with Chris McLaughlin, Scrum Master & Java Dev, UK, Sandstone Technology

In conjunction with Sandstone’s support of the Fight Cancer Foundation’s Footy Colours Day during September we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the fitness fanatic professionals working in the finance and technology industry. We explore how their passion for sports helps them excel in the workplace. We chatted to Chris to see what he had to say...

 

Q1. What is a positive impact you've seen from sports people joining the finance and technology industries?

It is no secret that exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive energy. A Positive mindset is vital to any high performing team. Such teams have the drive and commitment to solve complex problems and come up with fresh innovative ideas. Sports people recognise they must train hard to achieve their personal bests and they are always seeking ways to improve themselves. These behaviours bode well for careers in finance and technologies due to the fast pace of the industries and saturated competition.

 

Q2. What one sporting attribute do you live by?

One of my favourite inspirations is from the British Rowing Olympic team. For each improvement idea they would ask the question “will it make the boat go faster?”. It is vitally important for a team to seek improvement in their processes so that they can deliver features faster and faster. This thought process has served me well during my time as Scrum Master.

Another great idea is from Sir Dave Brailsford, former performance director of British Cycling. He revolutionized the sport using the theory of marginal gains. When he started at Team Sky, British Cycling was in a sorry state, the team were underperforming. Brailsford applied this theory to make many small changes so that over time these would incrementally amount to a big change that resulted in the British Cycling team winning race after race. The great thing about small changes is that they don’t take much effort to implement and if they don’t work, they are easy to undo.

 

Q3. Chris, you’ve recently completed the Leeds Half Marathon and the Great North Run, congratulations. Can you tell us more behind your chosen charity Teenage Cancer Trust?

My close friend’s son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 7. Cancer is a very cruel, terrible disease at any age but it is even more tragic when it affects children. Children should be care free and having fun and not going through the lengthy ordeals of chemotherapy. I have children of similar age and it is an ordeal that I pray that I and others don’t have to endure. I compete regularly to raise money for this vital charity and I’m always keen to match or beat my race times!

 

Q4. What financial or technology advancement have you been most impressed by over the past 2-3 years?

I really like Chip, the savings and investments app. Chip uses Open Banking and Artificial Intelligence to determine how much money I can put away. It was super quick and easy to onboard with Chip and I was able to save instantly. The speed of onboarding resulted in a quicker acquisition time for Chip and it was a great customer experience. I feel we’ll see more Open Banking technologies improving customer journeys within financial services – the possibilities of Open Banking are still be discovered.

 

Q5. Are there any technology trends you foresee drastically changing the fintech landscape in the future?

The loss of branches and cash machines will have a huge impact on technology. When I moved to a new town recently there were eight high street banks. There is now only have one. The need for high street banks is decreasing more and more as services are digitized. For several years now, one of the main reasons for using the bank was to pay in cheques that some organisations insisted on their customers. However, cheques can easily by deposited via mobile apps by simply taking a photo of the said cheque.

As the need for cash reduces, I’m also seeing fewer cash machines and the a small percentage of the remaining ATMs are re-introducing a service charge. This doesn’t impact myself as I love using my Google Pay app on the phone to pay and I love my Monzo app to painlessly go dutch on meals out with friends etc.

This of course does raise concerns for those less tech savvy people that are now left without easy access to their banking services. My 95 year old grandmother who hates technology with a passion now finds it increasingly harder to access her money. I do not think we’re yet ready for a cashless society – accessibility for their customers should remain a priority for banks and building societies.

 



Profile photo of Chris McLaughlinChris is a certified Advanced Scrum Master with over 5 years in this role and is passionate in creating an Agile culture. He has over 20 years’ experience as a software engineer and his curious nature means he’s keen to explore new emerging technologies.

Chris spent part of his career with Sandstone Technology in the Philippines coaching the development team instilling the agile working framework and building a high performing team. You can support his great work for Teenage Cancer Trust by donating here.