Meet the Team: Paul Reid
27th June 2023
Next up in our ‘Meet the Team’ series is Paul Reid, Founder and CEO.
What inspired you to start Trickle?
When at my last business, where I was also the founder and CEO, I came across a blog on criminology called the ‘broken windows theory’.
It was a study in America that transformed policing right across the world. They discovered that if a building was lying empty, but secured by fencing and with signs up saying that it was being patrolled, it would stay in a good state despite being vacant. But if you deliberately broke one window, took the signs down and came back a few days later, it would be well on the way to ruin.
They called it the broken windows theory; if something is in a good condition and well looked-after, people will want to maintain it. But if there are signs of decay, nobody really respects it, and it will just deteriorate.
I thought that I could apply that theory to address the growing pains in my business. I scheduled a ‘broken windows’ meeting for my team every month, and came up with format to create a safe space where people could get everything off their chests, bring forward suggestions, and talk openly about what they felt needed to improve. We would then vote on the top five issues and decide who would action these.
It worked really well, and helped our business keep on top of what was important. It allowed people to feel they had a chance to shape the business.
When we were then bought by Capita, which had around 70,000 people, we suddenly became a tiny area in a massive organisation. In such a big company, I struggled to make the leaders I now had to communicate with aware of the impact of business decisions. I had no data to show that ‘if you do this, 40% of our people will be really upset, but if we do this instead, we could make the majority very happy.’
I really needed a way to trickle this information through such a large hierarchical organisation, and that is what inspired Trickle.
What’s your favourite part of being part of the Trickle team?
I have three.
I loved starting a team from scratch, growing it, finding the best people for the roles, and creating a great culture. I feel like we have a brilliant team and are in a strong place to grow from.
Secondly, I enjoy solving customer problems – meeting someone, discovering their challenges and finding a way to help them.
And thirdly, the product. I used to be a software engineer, and I miss that aspect of my work, so the next best thing for me is translating customer requirements into our product and having conversations with the ‘techies’ on our team, who now do the bit that I used to do!
Describe your job in three words.
Make work-life better.
What is your favourite Trickle feature?
Anonymity – because I know from experience that people often don’t feel comfortable speaking up, for various reasons, from personality to psychological safety. Anonymity provides a level playing field for everyone’s views and ensures there is no unconscious bias.
If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
It would be between the ability to fly and teleportation. The reason is the same – to travel around places as fast as possible… it seems more fun to fly, but I’m going to go for teleportation as with these powers you could do a lifetime of global exploration in a year’s worth of weekends; I’d also need a bigger iPhone though, to store all the photos.
Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many people would know?
Something I love, but I don’t have much time to do any more, is writing electronic music. Before I had kids, I wrote about 40 or 50 tunes a year, and I used to really enjoy it. I didn’t do it to try to be successful, but people would ask me to send them my latest tracks. I met someone on the train recently who I hadn’t seen for a very long time, and the first thing he asked was ‘are you still writing tunes?’ I was amazed that he still remembered.
I dig them out now and again and play them – and if my 10 and 7 year old daughters like them, I feel like I’ve done a decent job!
What does the perfect weekend look like?
It would involve friends, family and Hibernian Football Club, and as much outdoor time as possible!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Something I read in a book – called ‘From Good to Great’ by Jim Collins – has always stuck with me. The author studied companies over a period of 25 years, looking at what made some a success, and one of the things he found was that ‘getting the right people on the bus’ was crucial. That has proved to be the case here; Trickle is successful because we have the right people on the bus.
If you had a time machine, would you choose to go to the future or the past – and why?
The future, because I would like to know it’s going to be a safe and happy place for my kids, and if it isn’t I’d come back and try to influence the things that might make the future better.
Who would you most like to switch places with for a day?
It’s a really difficult one to answer, and I deliberated over this for a long time! I’m going with John Lennon, and I would have loved to have been him for the day when The Beatles played music together for the very first time – to find out if it was possible to hear their potential and predict the impact they would eventually have on the world.
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