- How to find opportunities that stretch and challenge you in new directions
- How you go get the lay of the land and establish a plan for moving forward when you take on a prominent role in an established company.
- What factors influence product designers
- Choosing to work with people, teams and businesses that embrace receptivity.
- How you empower staff to solve their own problems
- What does diversity in the workplace means to Rosemary and why it is important
In the interests of transparency, I’d like to let you know I do work with this team, though I believe I have still delivered a measured and interesting interview. You can read more about the way I work at EndorsementDisclosure.com
Heather Smith: Hello Rosemary. Thank you so much for joining us on the Cloud Stories podcast.
What is your favourite thing to listen to while you’re working?
Rosemary King: That’s a great question. I definitely am one of those people who really needs some background noise, so music is something that is really imperative. I think if I’m doing something that requires quite deep thinking, I need to listen to classical music, something with no lyrics. I really love Bach and Schubert. Tchaikovsky is another composer that I listen to quite a bit. Also sort of ambient synth. Nils Frahm is a musician that I can listen to. And then if I’m kind of just bopping around on a typical day, doing admin or boring things like scheduling and answering emails, I definitely need something really peppy and upbeat so I’m a massive, massive, Spotify listener. Been a subscriber for years and just to have sort of a constantly rotating list of music. I sort of take a lot of my Dad’s influence. He was really into folk and Tom Petty and then have been really interested in electronic dance music. I sort of span the spectrum in terms of what I listen to.
Rosemary King: And then sometimes I’ll play TV shows that I have watched a million times in the background just for the dialogue, that are really boring, like Downton Abbey, which has got great accents to listen to, but nothing ever really happens on that show, so it’s sort of lovely fluff to have on in the background sometimes. This is of course for when I’m working at home. And then in the office, it’s mostly just Spotify playlists.
Heather Smith: Awesome. It sounds like your listening style is almost identical to mine and, in fact, because I write books every so often. And when I write books I play movies on repeat so I’ll play a Sandra Bullock movie on repeat for four months. So I’ve got people there but I don’t need to know what they’re doing, which is kind of weird.
Rosemary King: I’m the same. I do exactly the same thing. I think I’ve watched Mad Men eight times through.
Heather Smith: Ah, what a fantastic movie. And I should touch on, my daughter’s very into sewing. They have a fabulous breakdown of the Mad Men clothes on YouTube video on the style, how authentic the style is and how you can get the style. But they actually are really very close in the style that they used in that which is interesting.
Rosemary, can you share with our listeners a bit about your background.
Rosemary King: Sure. So I was born in Canada. My mother’s Canadian. My father’s English. Myself and my three siblings were born in Canada, then we moved down to America. I sort of have a very generalist background. I was interested in a lot of different subjects as kid, mostly English history and language, things like that. I sort of came up studying a lot of different things. I did history and political science in university and then went on to get a public policy degree from NYU, a Masters degree. And have always been very interested in learning about things, so go quite deep and intense on a particular subject and then find the next thing that interests me. And I think that’s, for a while I felt a bit guilty and I felt like I was a bit of a dabbler but now I actually really embrace the dabbling because it’s brought me quite a bit of strength to one, be always flexible and always learning and always interested in something; two, I think sometimes forcing yourself to stick with a subject that no longer interests you is never good, so just sort of embrace the next thing that comes along.
Rosemary King: And also, all of these different interests have found their way into my personal and professional lives in so many interesting and unique ways. So it’s been an asset. And so I’ve tended to embrace the generalist aspect. With my career in technology, that’s something that I’ve always really tried to do is whatever next challenge I’m looking for, it’s how different can it be from the last thing, or how can I find the next opportunity that’s going to stretch and challenge me. So I went from working in a start-up in New York City ten years ago. That was in case management software for social workers. That was a fascinating company. And then flipped into consulting for a pretty big agency. So had an opportunity to consult with dozens of different companies over the course of five years and worked with companies in Fortune 500 and massive car manufacturers, huge banks, luxury retail, grocery retail, courier apps. You name it, I’ve built it for massive companies.
Rosemary King: And from there, switched back to tiny seed start-ups that were getting their first round of funding and entered into that different form of chaos which was amazing. And each opportunity has really driven a deeper understanding as to how stakeholder management works, how teams form. And in my last job before I took the job at Float, I was the director of training products at Mind the Product and that job I specifically took because it gave me an opportunity to really delve into service design and to understand how to construct real life experiences and situate the service or product that you’re trying to build in the middle of a person’s very busy life and really consider all of the extraneous components that will help create a great experience for people. So I really learned a lot from that job and loved it so much.
Rosemary King: And now I’m back to my initial passion which is software, fintech, which is a domain that I’ve always found really fascinating. I think the psychology of money is really interesting. I think understanding your customers’ emotional arc around how they interact with your product. Are they stressed? Are they anxious? Are they worried that they don’t know how to use it? All of these different components that go into creating a great experience come from recognising your customers’ context and what they need to accomplish with your product. And so I’m really excited to get back to working with software and really focusing on creating a great customer experience for Float.
Heather Smith: It is interesting how all the pieces of the puzzle eventually fill in to other places where you are on your journey.
Heather Smith: So congratulations on your new role as Head of Product at Float.
Can you explain to our listeners what Float does.
Rosemary King: Absolutely. So Float is a cashflow forecasting app that will hook into your accounting software like Xero. And it will help you create scenarios that allow you to project how you’re business is going to look in a few months if x, y, z happens. So you could plan for worst case scenario like what if COVID hits, a global pandemic comes in, or you could plan for best case scenario where you experience exponential growth and what does it look like to add six head count and new office. And really helps you create a deeper understanding as to how your business is going to look if certain things happen and if you make certain decisions. And I think one of the things that really attracted me to joining the Float team is how timely and how necessary this type of software is for small businesses especially, in order to be able to plan for any eventuality.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. Never has there been a more important time for embracing cashflow. And interestingly, you have that experience of actually coming from various different countries and sort of having that global perspective and I do know that here in Australia our tax stimulus, the application for applying for tax stimulus, relies on you touching base with the government office twice a month. So what that has actually meant is people have to be very, very close to their cashflow and their cashflow analysis and we can see that they’re picking up good habits, and we’re like well maybe, because our tax stimulus effectively lasts until September which is I think the ninth month. So maybe in this six month period, they’ll actually pick and up adopt and keep good cashflow habits. But I know, from speaking to people in the UK, et cetera, they don’t have that same sort of onus on them to do it on such a regular basis.
Rosemary King: Yeah, I think that that’s true, although I’ve seen many of my friends who are running small businesses really embrace the cashflow scenarios and planning in a way, because so many of them have either been so close to the edge or have really had to dramatically change the scope of their business in order to simply survive. So it has become a very pressing issue for folks who fall into this small to mid-size business category for sure.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. Absolutely.
What made you decide to take on the role at Float and how do you go about deciding what’s your best next career move for your career or for your life?
Rosemary King: I think, as I mentioned earlier, I think what I’m always using to frame my focus for my searches for the next opportunities is always what do I feel like is going to provide me growth. In this circumstance it was getting back to software. Leaving a particular narrative in your career is always really scary and when I took the job at Mind the Product, I was actually very nervous about leaving sort of a more quote, unquote “traditional”, not that any product management role is traditional, because I think the role is still very much forming around us, but leaving a traditional product management role in the sense that I was no longer going to be working with software. And I sort of made that decision with a lick and promise because I was so interested in what Mind the Product was attempting to build and I really believed that they were a great company to drive forward a training programme for product managers. It just seemed like a natural fit. But I always knew that whatever happened, however long I stayed at Mind the Product, I knew I would want to get back to software.
Rosemary King: So that was obviously one component I was looking for, a product that was at a particular stage as well. I just recently published a blog called are you a builder or are you an optimiser PM. And there’s two frameworks for product managers. I think there’s a type of PM who likes to come in at a certain point and really build and maybe work with a bit more of a blank canvas or really have a lot more room for exploration. And Float is very much at that stage. While they do have an exceptional product and a very strong offering right now, I think the opportunities that Float has for growth and to build on the offering that they have are huge. I think there’s some really exciting things that Float could be doing and the team has a huge amount of appetite for looking to a moonshot and really driving growth on an exponential level for Float and I think it’s always really exciting to join a company at that level.
Rosemary King: I think the other thing that I’m also looking for at this stage in my career, is receptivity. I’ve had a lot of experiences that were a bit of a battle, coming in and really having to fight my way through pretty dense terrain in certain respects. Doing a lot of training and alignment and coaching around what it is that product does, or rather at least what my brand of product does. And what I loved about Float is that there was already such exceptional practice in place but a huge appetite for learning and for flexibility around how things work.
Rosemary King: And so as I start at Float, this is actually my very first day at Float; you’re catching me on my first day. What I’m really tuning my ears for is what are they doing now, because I don’t want to come in and explain to a team that’s already really working in an exceptional way. I want to come in and nurture all of the good aspects and help them grow and help them develop. So I’m really looking forward to just getting to know the team and understanding what they’re doing now and what’s working for them.
Rosemary King: And also, I think, just generally, Float has such an exceptional culture and group of people gathered together already. It’s just from interview one, I just really got such a great sense, they are very open, very real. They have a wonderful sense of humanness about how they approach their team. They really care about their team’s mental health. They really care about creating an environment that feels psychologically safe for the people that work there. And they really engage their employees as co-builders of the vision and the culture of the organisation and that’s definitely the type of organisation that I really want to join.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. I’ve known the Float team almost since the beginning and I completely agree with that. They’re a fabulous team to work with and know and always look like they’re having a lot of fun and they actually enjoy being around one another as well as delivering the software. I do like the term receptivity, which I’ve never heard before, but that’s something I think constantly, I’m saying to people, you need to be working with clients that listen to you. If they can’t hear you and they can’t listen to you, I don’t know why you have them as a client any more.
Rosemary King: Yes, exactly.
Heather Smith: But that’s more on the accountant bookkeeper dealing with a client type of side, but it’s that what’s the point of going there if they’re not going to be receptive of you.
Heather Smith: So, it’s day one. That’s exciting. Taking on a prominent role, like you have, in an established company really sounds quite daunting.
How do you go about getting the lay of the land and establish a plan for moving forward? How do you go about getting started with the company and team?
Rosemary King: That’s a great question and I’ve been working with Colin, the CEO, and Jen, the COO, on a plan. I think when you enter into a leadership team, I think you have to be offering something in terms of how you would like to form that plan, but then you also need to be directed. So it’s a balance between the two things. I’m now the fifth person that Float has onboarded remotely that has joined the company post-lockdown. And so they’ve worked out a pretty decent system. So this week and next week, what I really plan on doing is just doing lots of introductions and quite informal conversations, just understanding who’s on what team and getting to know folks a little bit and having a look in on some of the processes and just really listening and absorbing.
Rosemary King: And then what I really like to do and what I’ve done at a number of organisations is a series of stakeholder interviews which are formal, almost research type of interviews with folks from each department, sometimes multiple folks from each department where you ask a series of questions around certain themes. So goals, reality, opportunities and way forward; around a GROW framework. And using that framework and applying a formal interview process means that you can extract data from your stakeholders that help you understand themes and patterns that are emerging in the organisation. And also help surface potential friction, as well as spot opportunities for improvement as well. And also potential opportunities for just creating new things.
Rosemary King: So I’m really looking forward to doing a round of formal stakeholder interviews at Float. And then the other thing that I also really like doing as I get started with new organisations is something called process mapping. So you sort of have either multiple teams together or individual teams map out, tell me how you work from start to finish. Give me a particular task that you do and let’s visualise it; let’s get it up on the board. Let’s talk about all the different roles that interact with this particular activity, systems that we use, the tools that we use. And what it does, it creates a visual for how the team interacts with the product, with the systems that they’ve built around themselves and also other teams within the organisation.
Rosemary King: I’m a very visual thinker, so I really love kind of getting stuff up on a wall, or in this circumstance, a MURO board, just to see what emerges from the conversation. And I think it’s fascinating, because oftentimes, you’ll see teams go, “Oh, I didn’t know you did that”. Or, “Oh, I didn’t think that that’s how that worked”. Or people sort of say, “Oh, we don’t actually really have a system for that.” Or, “Yeah, I just sort of cobble it together every time; it sort of sucks.” And what it does is it really helps me understand, where are we making do, where are we really flying in terms of efficiency, where is there friction in the systems that we work with. And that sort of helps me understand how, as a manager and as a leader, I can start coaching and start recognising. Because it’s all about enablement I think.
Rosemary King: One of the pitfalls in my earlier parts of my career as I started getting into leadership is I did too much for teams that I worked with, and I sort of enabled them and what I really want to try to coach myself out of is really enabling and helping folks solve problems themselves and kick into the habit of saying, “Hey, this isn’t working as well as it should. How can we improve upon it?”
Rosemary King: And again, Float already has such great practices already in place. They do weekly retrospectives which really help them reflect on how well they’re doing and how they feel about it. And I think that’s one of the greatest ways of recognising sort of a health check of a team in an organisation.
Heather Smith: I love that you kind of went to how do I help the staff or how do I help people solve their own problems. That’s a really interesting aspect to explore. And thank you for sharing that with us.
Heather Smith: How do we, the accountants and the bookkeepers, how do we influence a Head of Product, not necessarily you, we’re not all going to start harassing you, but how do we go about influencing a Head of Product. Because they kind of put these schemes out and say, “Oh, here’s our feature request, go there.” And nothing ever seems to happen of it.
How do we, the accountants and the bookkeepers, how do we influence a Head of Product?
Rosemary King: No doubt. Yeah, I’ve been the user of enough products to understand that pain of being like, oh why don’t they just build this or build that and it can be really frustrating. I think the one thing I want to say to your listeners is that I will be paying attention to the data points and all of the customer touch points and actually today, in my round of Zoom calls, I spoke to the customer success team, I spoke to the marketing team and I spoke to the sales team. And each one of these teams, I said you are the holders of incredibly valuable data because you speak to our customers from a specific angle. Customer success hears the pain and the helps. Marketing hears the desires and really listens in for what turns people’s heads. And sales is the value proposition and also the requests.
Rosemary King: And so I’m a really huge fan of creative collaboration and cross-functional teams. And Float has been moving in the direction of cross-functional teams for a few months now and I really hope to be able to galvanise that and really pull together representatives from these customer touch points. In addition, I come from a product background that really believes heavily in what we call continuous research or continuous inquiry. So running user research on a regular basis, doing contextual interviews with customers and really digging into the problem space and the context that people are using the tool, so that I can validate any assumptions I have about our customers and make sure that they are confirmed by real people who are really using the product or who really want to solve a particular problem, like cashflow forecasting.
Rosemary King: So you will be influencing me in so many ways. And one of the things that I often say to customers that I’ve interacted with who are like, “Why don’t you just build this thing?” And I say I completely understand you and I hear you that you want that thing, but sometimes what you think you want isn’t actually the best solution to that problem. And so you approach me and say, “Just put a button on the screen.” And it’s like well maybe we don’t even need that screen. Maybe we actually have too many clicks anyway and we need to completely redo the experience so that it’s a one click process. And so that’s what technologists and product makers are always trying to get to, that customers might not necessarily be able to see.
Rosemary King: So that’s why if somebody approaches me and says, “Why don’t you just build this feature?” My first question to them is what problem are you trying to solve with that feature and kind of going back to brass tacks and say actually there’s a totally different way we could solve that; we don’t need that feature; we could actually do something completely different. But customers are always at the centre of my practice because they provide me with answers. I don’t have to come up with something out of thin air. All I need to do is go to the customer and extract that data from them and then work with it to come up with the how, but they give me the what and the why.
Rosemary King: And so I’m so excited I think that the customer that we’re going to be working with at Float is just so interesting. And I have so many friends who can stand in for that customer and my Dad, for instance, I was talking to him today and he’s run his own company for 25 years and he’s like, “I need this app.” And I’m like, “Great, I’ll do a customer interview with you Dad.” So I just think it’s such an interesting set of people and a really courageous set of people. Oftentime entrepreneurs and folks who are really trying to build something and I love the fact that we’re going to be solving their problems.
Heather Smith: I had the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But You’ll Get What You Need playing in the background as you did that explanation.
Rosemary King: Great song. I love the fact that that was playing in the back of your head. That’s great.
Heather Smith: Yeah.
Heather Smith: That’s potentially why you ask them. I can now see why I’m asking for this button and then they just completely revamp the whole thing and I have to potentially relearn it again but that’s maybe why they’re doing it.
Heather Smith: So, Rosemary, sounds like you’ve had a really busy day today and been on a lot of Zoom calls. Sorry to call you up for another one for the podcast.
Rosemary King: It’ll be a fun break. Don’t worry. This conversation’s a blast.
Heather Smith: So one of the reasons we made a really big effort to get you on the Cloud Stories podcast so quickly is that I’m trying to have a whole month of releasing female interviews. It has been a real challenge lining up female guests for these interviews, however, I have male guests coming out of the woodwork and wanting to be on the podcasts.
What does diversity in the workplace mean to you and is it important?
Rosemary King: Oh, it definitely it important. It really, really is I think. And I’m a huge advocate for paying attention to is as a company. Diversity in the workplace, some people have teams of all men and say we have no diversity or say we have difference of opinions all the time, but true lived experience cannot be mimicked by someone because you just don’t know what you don’t know in that circumstance. So you really do need a team that represents your customer base as much as possible. Because what you do is you cap certain things at points that you would normally miss them. And there’s so many examples out there and our world is in such an interesting flexion point in terms of the need for diversity on technology teams. You see machine learning and AI systems being turned out all the time that’s baked in racial discrimination. You see people profiting off of communities that they don’t then turn around and invest in again. And I think that that’s pretty reprehensible.
Rosemary King: So I really believe that, and as somebody who came up in tech at a time when there weren’t a lot of women representatives; I was the only woman on a team many, many times, it’s a very lonely place. And the subtle discriminatory nuances. I’m a white woman so I know that I already rest on an immense hill of privilege. But even in that circumstance, the number of times I was asked to take notes or get coffee or had people barge into a conference room that I was using and say, “We need this room.” And I’d say, “Well, I’ve booked it.” It’s not each disparate incident. It’s the death by a thousand paper cuts. And it wears you down. And I actually did end up leaving a couple of jobs because of that kind of subtle discrimination because it makes you tired.
Rosemary King: And so that’s another reason why Float is such an incredible company because the conversation they’re creating around mental health I think is still too rare and I think more companies need to have that appreciation for the human side of people’s lives. And so I think that if you see that kind of vulnerability come out of an organisation, you’re in pretty good hands. And I’m really excited to be joining a team that’s doing the work around that kind of safety. So it’s really exciting. As well as a team that’s incredibly, at least gender diverse and has really committed itself to looking at how we grow and making sure that we grow in a way that really includes as many diverse mindsets as possible.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. Thank you for that. My daughter studies engineering and she says to me she’s the only female always and has always been for years now or just one of the few. And she just says to me, “I wish I could just have lunch with a girl once in a while.”
Rosemary King: Yeah. You might enjoy their company and it might all be fine but it’s also just, there’s a never-ending sense of loneliness that it’s kind of like white noise in the back of your head where you’re just like, these people don’t really know my perspective. So yeah. Tell her it’s okay. It will get better. I think there is definitely improvements being made and with the public forum as it is, I think it is really much easier to find women speakers and people of colour who can stand up and help people say, hey, come on over, there’s people who look like you. I think that’s the thing. If you don’t see people who look like you, you think well, that’s not a club for me. And that’s why representation is so, so, so important in our conferences, on our podcasts, in our articles and blogs. I’m really proud that Mind the Product has also done a lot to help elevate voices from a lot of different corners and really push forward a lot of different perspectives as well.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. And sometimes you don’t actually want to be there just because you’re representing whatever you are actually representing. You want to be there for your knowledge but the representation to be absorbed into it and almost not noticed, but it does get noticed.
Rosemary King: Yeah. Exactly. It is noticed. It is noticed very subtly. And no, I think you’re absolutely right. You don’t want to just say well, we have our percentage of representation. You’re looking for great minds. The thing is they are absolutely out there in space and it doesn’t even take that much digging. It’s just a question of maybe tapping into the right network, so if you are interested, I can definitely send you folks.
Heather Smith: Thank you. Thank you for that offer there.
Heather Smith: So you use writing and blogging and you just mentioned an article that you wrote and you’ve told me that you use writing and blogging to help reflect and distil your learnings. So can you share a bit about that and whereabouts people can find your writing and how often you’re writing, et cetera.
How do you use writing and blogging to help reflect and distil your learnings?
Rosemary King: Yeah. So I started, I have two websites actually, one sort of for personal creative writing which I won’t share because it’s very outside this realm. And then I have a professional website, Rosemaryelizabethking.com. And I’ve blogged on medium. I’ve done a lot of posting on Mindtheproduct.com as well. And I had a series called Mindsets that was sort of a Q and A session. I think, any time you can verbalise or get down what you’re thinking about, you realise that you have to distil the essence of your experience. I’ve had an equal number of bad experiences as good experiences professionally and when I’ve come off of an experience that hasn’t necessarily been A++, whether that be because I was misaligned with the CEO or there wasn’t enough resources or it was a mismatch with the team, reflecting on what happened, what could I have done better with 20/20 vision, allows you to capsulise that experience.
Rosemary King: So, for instance, when I was starting at get through this week, I went to my blog archive and I looked through the blogs I had written and I wrote one called ten things you should do when you start at a company. And reread it. And was like, yeah, this is actually really helpful. I want to make sure that I’m giving folks an overview of the kind of processes and practices that I want to bring in and help them understand how they slot into it. I want to do a round of formal stakeholder interviews. I want to have regular check-ins with folks that are consistent. And these were mistakes that I all made at past companies.
Rosemary King: So, one, it helps you distil the insights of your experience and crystallise them. And, two, it creates a time capsule. It helps you carry those forward so that you can revisit them and to help you ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past. And I also think that the third component is that hopefully if you get stuff out there, it helps people. And I’ve had a lot of people say, well, somebody’s already written about that and, oh, everybody writes about that or we’re so bored of this. And I’m like, no, phoo to that, everybody has a unique perspective. And yes, maybe a million people have written about x subject but no-one has experienced it the way you’ve experienced it. And hey, we live in the golden age of content creation. Anyone can put anything out and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Sometimes I release blogs and I’m kind of like, “Meh, it’s not very good, but hey, who cares.” If somebody gets one kernel of wisdom out of it or it’s helped me sift through a couple of thoughts, what’s the harm at the end of the day.
Rosemary King: So I’ve really gotten over any fear of somebody reading any of my stuff and rolling their eyes because I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. I know that there’s value in it for me. And I hear that from a lot of people. Oh gosh, what if it’s not good enough. And it’s like it doesn’t matter. It will get better if you keep going it. But I hope that somebody listening to this will sort of say, yeah, she’s right, and write a blog and just put it up on medium and just get it out there. And then just keep doing that, because again, getting back to the diversity conversation, we need to hear from more people.
Rosemary King: We need more diverse perspectives out there in the lexicon so I would just encourage everyone to just show your work as much as possible. And it doesn’t have to be a really polished blog or a presentation or a great talk. It can literally be a tweet thread. It can be a couple of sketches with an explanation around it. And that’s enough. But just show your work and get it out there and see what happens, see who reacts to it. I think I always am like, “Oh, is this blog worth it? Is is worth the Squarespace subscription and the domain fee?” But actually everybody at Float looked at my website and read through a couple of things and asked some really great questions and got a sense of who I was. And other folks, other potential clients, had taken a look at it as well.
Rosemary King: I think having a profile that helps showcase your values as a practitioner is always really important. So I think creating and building a footprint over many years is a really great thing to do. And trust me, if you found my first blogs from 10 years ago, it’s pretty scary, but they’re hard to find and now all the newer ones are up as well, so, yeah. It’s scary at first but it gets easier. It’s the same with speaking, public speaking. It’s terrifying at first and then you just get used to it.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. I agree with that sentiment that there’s a lot of blogs out there. There’s hundreds of blogs or thousands or millions of blogs out there on cashflow but I’m definitely looking forward to listening to your blog on cashflow and your father adopting a cashflow solution.
Rosemary King: Yes. Exactly.
Heather Smith: So let’s change gear and talk about your Instagram page which can be found on Second Shift Food. It seems like you like to bake your own sourdough and prepare unusual food items like pickled red onions. Is that still something you’re doing.
Let’s change gear and talk about your Instagram page: Second Shift Food.
Rosemary King: I am, although I’ve been doing it a little bit less in terms of the blogging. I still do quite a bit of cooking but I just recently moved house and so now my kitchen isn’t necessarily as Instagrammable as one of my previous apartments so I haven’t been posting as much. Also I find, in lockdown, I’ve been eating really well, I’ve been eating really lovely things, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re blogworthy because they’re quite utilitarian, you know, big pots of things that I’ll sort of eat over the course of three days. So I’ve kind of just been eating for simplicity and ease. Because you’re home all the time, you have to cook yourself three meals a day and it’s kind of like what can I make that’s not going to make a huge amount of effort for lunch that I need to grab between my millions of Zoom calls a day.
Rosemary King: So I haven’t been doing it as much but cooking is also a place of great creativity for me and I find it very, very relaxing. I’ve always cooked. I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen from the time I was a tiny little girl. I’ve got a picture of myself at three holding the paring knife. And I asked my parents one time, saying, “Why would you let me have that knife at three?” And they were like, “You wouldn’t stop. You just really wanted to chop things.” So they let me do it.
Rosemary King: So it’s a point of great relaxation and at the end of a long day, sort of decompressing and just putting myself a nice plate together of lovely nibbles. I do love to do things like pickled onions, pickles in general. I do a lot of ferments, sauerkrauts and I make Kombucha and I’m obsessed with sourdough baking. It’s just the most fun thing in the world. It creates an unholy mess when you first start but it’s so good. And I will say that I have been baking sourdough long before it became the very cool thing to do in lockdown. I was actually quite frustrated because for the first three weeks of lockdown, I couldn’t get any flour. And I was like I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you guys. So that was interesting.
Rosemary King: But yeah and I love food photography. I love eating beautiful things and just making food look beautiful. I hope that I can get back to it now that I’m a bit more settled and in a full time job again, because I had been consulting with various clients for the past four months. So hopefully I’ll be able to start writing again about food.
Are you now physically based in Edinburgh?
Rosemary King: No, actually I’m based physically in London. I live in Putney. I am planning, obviously initially, to be travelling up to Edinburgh. There’s definitely a very strong possibility I will be relocating because I love nature, I love the sea and I really love surfing, cold water surfing specifically. So Edinburgh offers all of those things.
Heather Smith: Is Edinburgh near surf? This is a shock to me.
Rosemary King: It is near surf. There’s a couple of surf spots that are quite close to Edinburgh, within maybe an hour’s drive, 40 minutes maybe.
Heather Smith: Okay.
Rosemary King: Yeah, and Scotland is actually riddled with great surf spots. It’s sort of little known because I think it’s quite cold. But I learned how to surf in Cornwall in England so I’m quite used to it. Sort of a sick hobby but I find it so fun. And so, yeah, it think definitely I would be very interested in relocating eventually and I do really believe… I’m a big proponent of remote working. I think it’s great. But I also think it needs to be a balance with certain inflexion points of being with your team, in-person collaboration and so it’s about finding the balance between those things. So I’m so looking forward to getting to know Edinburgh more. I’ve always loved the city, loved visiting and I actually have a number of family members who live in the Highlands as well and so it will be great to get up and see them more.
Heather Smith: Awesome. I actually grew up in a place called Surfers Paradise. That’s the actual name.
Rosemary King: Yeah, I know. I’ve been to Sydney and I surfed Manly and…
Heather Smith: Bondi.
Rosemary King: Bondi, thank you. I was going to say Byron and I knew that was wrong. Bondi. And the surf wasn’t very good in either one of those situations but it was very, very lovely to say that I did actually paddle out at those epic spots. And I loved Sydney. I hope eventually one day I’ll be able to get back to Australia and actually hit those-
Heather Smith: I think next year when lockdown’s out, I think there’ll be a lot of travelling for everyone.
Rosemary King: Yeah, definitely. I’ve always wanted to go to Noosa in Australia. It’s like my top spot to go to.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. That’s about 90 minutes north of me, Noosa is.
Rosemary King: Amazing.
Heather Smith: So, you’re not in Edinburgh, but you’ve joined an Edinburgh company.
Have they found your family tartan?
Rosemary King: They have not yet found my family tartan. I should actually check with my uncle who now lives north of Inverness to see if he has found our family tartan and maybe investigate that. I love all things Scottish. I think one of the delights of today was just sort of being immersed in call after call of Scottish accents and they’re just lovely. It’s a real joy to finally get up there. And it’s quite interesting that I sort of, serendipity, but I’ve always been really interested in Edinburgh. I’ve always thought about oh, it would be so cool to move up there. And it was one of the things that actually made me want to pounce on the Float opportunity was that as a potential avenue for my next adventure.
Heather Smith: Well they do have a habit of when they wear a tartan skirt to an awards ceremony, winning the award. So that’s their trick. If they wear the tartan, they win.
Rosemary King: Fantastic. Amazing. Magic. I love that.
Heather Smith: So I typically ask people what’s next for them, but I think it’s the first day so it would be cruel of me to ask you what’s next because I think you’ve outlined what your planning to do very much and I really appreciate that.
Is there anything else, Rosemary, that you’d like to share with our listeners and how can they get in touch with you?
Rosemary King: My email address is Rosemary@FloatApp.com and you can also find me on Twitter at Rosemary King, R-O-S-E-M-A-R-Y-K-I-N-G. And I think one of the things I was reflecting on with Tim, our CTO, today was that this really does feel like a company that I’m gearing up to invest a lot of years into and I’m so excited to see where it goes. And I think in technology, three years is an age to spend at one company, but I think it will feel like a minute at Float. Yeah, I think just watch this space. I’m so looking forward to mucking in with the team and talking about our journey together. That’s the one thing you can expect from me is that I’m definitely a share your work kind of person for whatever company I join. So there’ll be lots of blogs, talking about why we’ve done something and you can rage at me all you want.
Heather Smith: Awesome. Thank you Rosemary so much for spending some time with us here on Cloud Stories podcasts and sharing what you’re doing and what we’ve planned for the future. Our listeners will really enjoy hearing from you, so really appreciate it.
Rosemary King: Thank you so much for having me Heather. It was a pleasure.