Early in November I’ll be leaving RNZ where, for the last 11 years, I’ve led the development of its award-winning digital platforms. Now, as they say, I’m open to opportunities. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I’m looking for a position as a product lead, digital strategist, or CTO.
Here is a little more detail…
In 2004 I led the project, with sleeves rolled up, to create a site for RNZ that contained both news and audio. For the following 9 years I ran the team that grew the site from publishing only schedules and advance publicity, to 80-90 news stories a day, and 126 hours of new audio a week. The site has grown from 60,000 page impression a month, to double that every day. In the last couple of years as Digital Product Lead I have focussed solely on what I love most, product development.
Back in 2004 I helped create the digital strategy, evolved this over the next 9 years, and executed on the broad vision to make as much of RNZ’s content as possible available anywhere, anytime, and on anything. I had to build the site from scratch – business processes, tools for publishing, integration with RNZ systems, EOI, RFP, vendor relationships and contracts, hosting, bandwidth provision, live streams, the lot.
Along the way I ran a small but very focussed team who worked with RNZ’s broadcasters to establish workflows for getting content on-air and on-line.
Our focus was squarely on the customer, initially providing a catch-radio service, then advance programme information to get people to come to the site, and later branching out into web-only content and collections of great content, organised by areas of interest. Our audience love to tell us what they think, and once the site launched we had lots of feedback and ideas that were used to shape our roadmap.
Open web standards (HTML & CSS) and Open Source were at the core of our innovation practice. Web standards so that our content could be used anywhere, and Open Source so that we had the freedom to take the platform in the direction we needed when and how we wanted. The site won awards for accessibility practice and the quality of our markup.
In 2010 we starting moving to a bespoke CMS based on Ruby On Rails, and I drove this process, working with editors to create more efficient publishing workflows, and with developers and our sysadmins to execute the technical side.
Having also been a coder from way back, I’ve taken on coding duties at various times, and according to GitHub I’ve made 9,951 commits to the CMS project, involving more than three quarters of a million lines of code.
Fast delivery of pages and excellent technical SEO were built into the new platform, ensuring high search engine visibility and snappy performance, even on mobile. I use a regime of continuous integration and deployment, and during heaving periods of development new code is deployed to the live site 40-50 times every week.
Lean practices have been at the core of my work, and this allowed us to launch podcasts in 2006 and an archive of all published content in 2008, both with no extra funding. I’ve tried to ensure that all decisions were data-driven, either from analytics, or direct customer contact.
Prior to this I worked as a music recording engineer/producer, managed RNZ’s transition from tape-based documentary production to digital (a $1.2M project that took a year to execute), and was a sound engineer in commercial and non-commercial radio.
You can read all about in in my LinkedIn profile.