We’d like you to meet our fearless leader, co-founder and Splitrock Studio CEO Alan! He’s not the only Alan to work for Splitrock Studio, but since he was the first to, he gets dibs on all the usernames and handles. It could also be because he’s the CEO … ? Either way, Alan keeps the business running. A pretty humble guy who would be the last to acknowledge it, Alan is an exceptional business leader and does a pretty rad job of keeping us inspired, informed and in line (at least he tries to).
Meet Alan …
Tell us a little about you?
I’ve worked in all sorts of jobs in all sorts of places but ultimately found that being told what to do is not for me (just ask our Board of Directors). I started my own software consultancy building software and websites before learning that people don’t scale as well as software and that’s how I fell into startups. Matt and I then went on to create FiveSecondTest and Bugherd.
How long have you been in the biz?
I’ve been working in web and software development for nearly 20 years. That’s like 140 in dog years.
What is your role at Splitrock Studio?
As the CEO of a small company, I do all the jobs that no one else wants to do. I build desks, collect the mail and pack the dishwasher. I also make sure we don’t run out of money, that the team are happy and motivated and are all working towards a common goal.
What do you enjoy most about running a startup?
Running a startup is the worst job you’ll ever have. This is the lowest paid, longest hours, most stressful job I’ve ever had. Yet, for some bizarre reason, I would never do anything else. Every day brings new challenges and new experiences. I’ve grown more as a person in the past 4 years than in the 34 years prior.
Anything you dislike about it?
Anything that involves dealing with money. I care about our customers, our product and our team, but I just can’t bring myself to care about finance.
Grand plans for the future?
This business is my second startup, and I really feel like I’m still learning what to do and what not to do. As serious as I take it, I realise this is still just a practice run. I will almost certainly start another business after this one (after a positive outcome one hopes!), and then would like to get into mentoring and investing in younger versions of myself with the energy and enthusiasm that I likely won’t have at 50.
What is your favourite industry site to surf?
I generally don’t surf the web. I’m the last generation to grow up without the Internet, and as such I never formed the web surfing habit. I’m far more likely to read a book.
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
I’d almost certainly be running another business or help people run theirs. Whilst I have plenty of people to thank for helping get this far, I know that most startups in Australia don’t have anywhere near the sort of support they need. I’d like to help as many people as I can avoid the mistakes I’ve made.
What are you famous for?
Being grumpy far beyond what is logically reasonable.
You can find Alan on twitter @alandownie, he loves cats … just ask him.