Get to know Unleashed
This is our inaugural post in the “Get to know” series, and the good people at Unleashed Software have been kind enough to work with us for this post.
Unleashed is a company that makes inventory management fun. The cloud-based app has a set of very powerful features that make it easy and simple to keep track of your stock, and they integrate with Xero and Vend among others.
1. What’s your name, and what do you do at Unleashed?
Sianne Hussey (Melbourne office)
Hello, I am Sianne! I fit into Unleashed Software by being part of the integral friendly Customer Engagement Team! I also do infrastructure and social events coordination for the Australia offices! The CET team is the point of contact for our customers with any questions, requests or issues they are having in their day to day use of the software.
Rehan Wickremeratne (Sydney office)
I am a Principal Solutions Architect at Unleashed. My role is to help businesses understand how Unleashed would solve their current Inventory Management issues.
Evan Polyak (Auckland office)
Software Engineer at Unleashed. My primary responsibilities are integrations and API.
Jasmine Zhang (Auckland office)
I am Jasmine and I am a test engineer at Unleashed.
Matt O’Grady (Auckland office)
I am Product Manager at Unleashed.
Lisa Coleman (Auckland office)
I’m Lisa and I’m the HR Manager/Culture Cultivator.
Gareth Berry (Auckland office)
I am CEO at Unleashed.
2. What is something that not many people know about what you do at Unleashed?
I’m a woman of many talents in the office and there are many things I do that people may not know! Such as letting the locked out people into the office, making sure everyone uses their KeepCups when going for coffee, getting the coffee on occasion, organising our cultural events (which are really fun!), and I do a lot of the Twittering and Facebooking for the Melbourne office as well.
As a Solutions Architect at Unleashed we take the time to conduct a one on one scoping session to understand their business processes. This gives us a good understanding of the business and an opportunity to showcase exactly how Unleashed can be a good fit.
Quite often we start the day by going to a cafe for coffee, discussing the plan for the next couple of days and what can be improved.
My day starts with attending a development team stand-up meeting, before performing a variety of different kinds of testing, and at the end of the day I will summarize what I’ve learnt. My day is always very busy and exciting!
I also spend a lot of time testing the software and diagnosing any hard to find issues.
HR in general I find seems to be an enigma to many – my role comprises of so many bits and pieces from Payroll, Health & Safety, performance management, Inductions, and Recruitment, to party planning (and much much more). At the end of the day for me the goal is just trying to create an environment where everyone is encouraged to be their best selves and to share their ideas and experiences.
For the last 4 years at Unleashed, I have worked 80 to 100 hour weeks, but not once has it felt like a ‘job’.
3. What do you think makes Unleashed a cool company to work for?
I don’t think Unleashed is a cool company, I KNOW it is! The people, the events, the office environments, the culture, the giving aspect of the whole Unleashed community has blown me out of the water. Here you are a person with a voice and face and it can be big and loud and still loved! I have the freedom to manage my own workload how I work best, to arrange volunteer days, to plan social events for the staff and to work with such funny humans is definitely an advantage!
Unleashed is a great company to work for – not only do we work with cutting edge software, but we work with great people. Culture is an integral part of Unleashed, we have a great social experience that keeps everyone motivated!
Unleashed is a cool company as we are still growing fast and that creates lots of interesting challenges in terms of scaling our solution, and iterating over new and better ways of making the system robust and frictionless.
Unleashed is a friendly and comfortable working environment. Everyone here is very nice to work with.
The people who work here and that the industry we are in is relatively new (and the xbox).
On last count the Unleashed Team is made up of over 14 different nationalities (I can’t give you a specific because chances are we’ll hire someone else shortly). Everyone brings with them their own perspectives and ideas. It also means we have a lot of treats as we celebrate various different national holidays. We are also lucky in that we are always encouraged to contribute ideas, and to try things out, and failing is considered to be part of that process. As long as you learn and don’t do it again it can only be considered learning. Working in the Auckland office means that you can also have lunchtime swims at the beach and that’s pretty freaking awesome.
The people. Without a doubt, the teams in each city are all amazing with their own unique cultures.
4. How does your role challenge you? What do you find challenging about what you do?
Every day I am faced with an issue or question that I have never come across before which requires me to come up with a workaround for the customer! Each workaround must be specific to the customer and not hinder their business processes – we want to make life easier, not harder! The ever present challenge is figuring out how to stretch out 8 hours to be more!
Whether I’m talking to Businesses, Solution Providers or even Accounting firms, every scenario presents a challenge as each opportunity brings a unique scenario requiring a solution. Each scenario could be across different market verticals, including Manufacturing, Wholesale, E-commerce and many more. As a result a considerable amount of knowledge has to be gained.
Being responsible for integrations with our partners, I have to work hard to ensure Unleashed is seen as a reliable partner. I spend a lot of time communicating with partners and stakeholders, designing solutions for a variety of problems, and ensuring that the system is “happy” on our production servers.
I need to keep learning about new technology all the time. It is challenging but also very motivating.
There is always new technology and tools being released so keeping up to date and not falling behind is a challenge. Priorities also change quite quickly so being able to adapt to this can be a challenge.
My role largely revolves around working with people, people from all over the world with different backgrounds, different expectations, different career goals and different motivators. Whilst it’s challenging it’s also incredibly interesting.
I say this to each new employee, “the one thing you will wish you had more of at Unleashed is time. It is really the only thing that is finite and the one thing you’ll need more of to get through everything that needs to be done.”
5. How do you overcome that challenge?
I haven’t quite figured out how to turn back time yet, but I have definitely learnt many time management skills! If I need to put in the extra hours to make our customers happy, then I will! Nothing beats happy. Having access to other teams whose brains are also full of knowledge and being able to pick them, helps overcome a lot of brick walls that I come up against.
This knowledge did not come straight away, there was a lot of research I undertook finding out how businesses operate in these different verticals. Talking to businesses and their stakeholders, reading relevant articles, and networking with people in our ecosystem, gave me all the knowledge I needed to relate to our clients. The piece of advice I give to newcomers coming to Unleashed is it takes time to learn and build up this knowledge so don’t expect to know everything straight away.
I keep a cool head and have coffee with my colleagues to discuss potential solutions.
I try my best to find time to read and learn about the latest technology.
Ensuring there is good communication between all members of the team and an openness to try new technology/tools.
Listening and not just listening but hearing is probably the key (or one of them). You need to try and understand where everyone is coming from and then find a way to balance the employee needs with the needs of the business. Ensuring we keep our company values in mind at all times (particularly in recruitment and when trying write policies) seems to help with that.
Prioritization is key here. You can’t get everything done, so you need to prioritize what must be done, what needs to be done, and what you would like to have done, in that order. Each day brings a whole bunch of additional challenges, so being flexible within your schedule is vital.
6. What’s your biggest piece of advice either for startups, entrepreneurs, or someone working in a tech company?
I’ve always wondered what I would say to this or what people would have said to me had I asked! I think it would be…be yourself, know yourself. Just because it’s tech and you’re liaising with a customer (more often than not) behind a screen/phone, doesn’t mean you are a robot! If you output happy, everyone else will output happy! If you know yourself and what you want then anything is possible and that makes every single day exciting!
A good entrepreneur, or startup, would have a vision for what they want to achieve and what solution, product or service they are providing to their target market. Starting up a company is not easy, as it requires determination, perseverance and innovative thinking to achieve longevity. Having awesome people around you that share these same qualities will give your business longevity and ultimately ensure success.
Communication within a team is crucial for success. Be open-minded and look for opportunities to make your product better.
Ensure everyone within the team communicates clearly.
For someone working in a tech company, I would say that it is useful to keep up to date with new technology, and it doesn’t matter if it is work related or not. Try it out, sign up to mailing lists, and generally just keep informed about new and emerging technology.
Be prepared to write your own rules, cross them out a few times and then write some more. Surround yourself with people that really want to see the company succeed and don’t beat yourself up – you won’t get everything right the first time around, as long as you come away with an understanding of what went wrong you can change things up and do it again.
If you are an entrepreneur chasing your dream, don’t give up! Fail fast, fail often and be prepared to devote 100 hours a week to your passion for all the years it will take to gain traction. Hire the best people, and given you won’t be able to afford them, be prepared to give part of your company away to them early on.