August 7, 2020 Getting to Know the Topcoder Admins – Meet Matty Dixon aka RedXV
Matty joined the Topcoder Product Development team to help the operations team conquer Gig Work. He’s been helping us move fast and is always there to lend a hand or come up with new, creative ideas.
Tell me a little bit about your background and how your Topcoder story began.
I am Scottish, like beer, don’t like shaving, love skiing and if I wasn’t colourblind would have tried to become a fighter pilot.
I used to be an engineer in oil and gas, primarily focussed on the UK North Sea. I have been offshore, although I avoided it as I combined my engineering career with a second one in the Scottish Rugby Premiership until injuries finally forced retirement upon me. Once my semi-professional rugby career was over I realised I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in the oil and gas sector any longer.
After this I did try joining a different military unit again but ultimately asthma said no to me trying out for the UK special forces reserves. You could say I like pushing myself. Sometimes. I also eat too much.
With this I decided to pursue an MBA and completed my full time MBA at London Business School in July 2019, where I then joined the Wipro G100 program. Through this I have managed to secure a placement in Topcoder for six months, although I am hoping it may be extended once the G100 program ends in October…
I know you recently joined Topcoder. What attracted you the most at the company?
Culture is a big thing for me. I want to work with people that are switched on, who are results driven, not focussed on hierarchies and who don’t settle. I think Topcoder has all of these and this drew my attention away from opportunities within the monolith that is Wipro.
What’s your role at Topcoder and what do you like the most about it?
I work for Glenn and Tony as their G100 intern. When I am not busy bringing them virtual tea and donuts to earn my keep I am focussed on the Gig Work platform.
My favorite aspects are working with Glenn and Tony, as they don’t seem to mind my direct approach and very much fit in with the culture I described above. Secondly, I am really enjoying the challenge of developing the platform whilst in flight to improve the experiences for our community and clients.
One of your main responsibilities is Topcoder Gig Work operations. Why would you recommend members join a Gig?
If you are interested in working with different clients regularly, having control over when you work or don’t during the year and removing yourself from being just a cog in a machine then these would be the biggest reasons for me. It is an opportunity to explore and evolve all while competing in Topcoder challenges and being a part of the community. I don’t know of anywhere else which offers this.
What are your interests besides Topcoder? (Hobbies or maybe other things you do when you’re not working.)
Everyday interests include trying to keep fit at the gym, I still enjoy lifting weights regularly and enjoying the odd beer or seven. Otherwise my biggest love is probably skiing, don’t tell my partner! I might have a sneaker collection too… the last count took me to 89 pairs… although I do currently have over 20 up for sale. I am trying to thin it down to my limited edition ones and fund some more skiing! I also try and raise awareness around mental health, although since my MBA and my Ted Talk I have probably backed off a little.
What’s the most challenging thing you have to do in your job?
I think a challenge of Topcoder, which will now be more universal since the pandemic, is things getting lost in communication via email/slack. In a ‘standard office job’ you generally work the same hours as most of your colleagues and can chat with each other in person. With remote working I believe there are huge upsides but ‘water cooler chat’ and learning how people communicate (when you have never met them) can be super difficult.
Assuming you would have to pick a different role within the community, which of these would you choose and why? A: Competitor; B: Copilot; C: Reviewer.
I would choose to be a competitor, I have always wished I knew more about coding. I think it feeds into my mechanical engineering brain. Sadly I am completely inept. At least for now…