When asked in an interview about business highlights over the past year. Rebecca Kelly Technical Evangelist with Kx global technology company, in her own words said, I’m very happy to say there have been a few highlights in business over the past year! I was delighted to win the New York Women in IT’s award for Tech Evangelist of the Year, and internally I’ve had great management buy-in for Evangelism initiatives and our team is now growing.
Rebecca went on to say that Kx has been providing super high performance software for the past 25 years. All Kx software incorporates kdb+, the worlds fastest time-series database and q, the turing complete programming language used to access it. I’m an inquisitive developer by nature so the combination of a database and programming language and the control that offered for my data analysis (functions and logic inside queries!) was what first made me fall in love with the technology.
Our technology is used in some of the biggest financial, automotive and manufacturing institutions, in large part because of our streaming analytics capabilities which allows users to create real-time triggers on live data streams. Another major reason why people use our technology is for our lightning speed analysis of petabytes of historical data using our SQL like query syntax – qSQL.
Honestly, it’s hard to fully explain all our capabilities, and most times people don’t really believe me anyways – we’re sort of a “has to be seen to be believed” technology! The simplest summary is if you’re struggling with high volume, high velocity data – we can help.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Have everyone try our software!
More seriously though, at any given time I like to have three overarching goals I’m working towards, for 2021 I’m focusing on:
- Supporting our growing technology community – through Meetups, social media initiatives (e.g. Spot the code error), and so much more!
- Expanding our Training offerings – I’m very practical so I’m all about concrete examples, and walking away at the end of the course with a new set of skills you’re ready to apply the next day.
- Growing the team – we’ve got momentum now and are brimming with ideas so it’s all hands on deck!
What are your biggest challenges?
In Developer Relations it’s tricky to both define and then measure success. Luckily, I’ve never shied away from a technical challenge and for me the answer is to fastidiously gather all the data I can, analyse it often and let it guide me. Without data you’re really just flying blind, so you have to be scientific – develop a hypothesis, plan (plan again!) and then implement and assess.
How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?
For me personally it’s severely curtailed my typical day-to-day which would normally involve in-person client demonstrations of our latest tech and lots of coffees to get the nitty-gritty details directly from the developer users themselves. I realised early on that we would have to adapt quickly and so moved up the timelines on our initiative to revamp our training.
While things are changed, there have been a few silver linings – we offer free one day workshops on a monthly basis to anyone interested in getting hands-on with our technology and prior to Covid-19 we hosted these in our offices – now anyone anywhere can join!
Other initiatives have also had to go fully virtual like our Meetups for example – they’re normally great in-person events full of lots of really clever industry leading people who love to stay after and chat code. We’ve all been missing that in-person aspect, but again making the best of the situation we’ve been able to share our meetups globally and use tools like slido to keep as much interactivity as we can. On the bright side, it’s proven easier to get speakers when you tell them they can pre-record and boost their profile internationally!
For the company as a whole, we have many Financial customers who use our technology for their market data ingestion and processing and this year in particular they have really been expressing their appreciation for us. During the periods of high market volatility, we were one of the technologies that not only coped but thrived and so we were able to demonstrate our value to our customers.
Tell us about the biggest risk you have taken in business.
For me personally it was choosing to jump from my previous career as a Solutions Architect to work in Evangelism, commonly also referred to as Developer Relations. On top of it being a whole new role for me It was also a completely new position within Kx so I knew it would be doubly challenging – happily I can say it’s going well!
Tell us about the worst day you’ve had since you started in business.
Nothing jumps to mind – some days are worse than others, but luckily nothing catastrophic.
How can IIBN members help your business?
Honestly for me it’s all about awareness! That’s the benefit of great networks like this – so companies can be connected internationally and be kept aware of all the wonderful advances!
We have fantastic technology that can solve some very complex real-world problems (anything to do with high velocity, high volume data), the key is letting people know.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
In a very basic way success to me is just achieving something I’ve set out to do – I’m very determined so it irritates me at that level not to be able to figure something out!
More broadly and looking past individual tasks, to feel like I’m succeeding I need to feel like I’m incrementally working towards a bigger overall plan. I need that bigger plan and a belief in it to be motivated – we spend the majority of our waking time in work and I want my time to have purpose.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
It’s cliche and I honestly only really internalised this myself relatively recently, but – every failure is an opportunity to learn. I look at it this way and apply a pseudo “Irishmans Philosophy” to it: you either succeed (yay!) or you fail – if you fail you either learn something or nothing, so to me learning something is the only way to recoup any losses from failure!
What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?
Delivering top notch training will continue to be a focus, we’ve got a great roadmap and I’m really looking forward to welcoming our new team members and delivering it together. I also have some exciting plans for the Community so watch this space!
Personally and separate from our own business, I’m really interested to see the development of the remote working landscape. We’re at a really unique moment in time and it’s clear from a number of companies I’ve spoken with that remote work is here to stay so I’m excited to see what will come – it definitely presents a lot of opportunities!