FanFinders Team Spotlight – Meet Brian

Brian Peacock

Name: Brian Peacock

Position: Software Development Team Lead

Years with the company: 1 year and 3 months

Before FanFinders, the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had…

Growing up, most summer or Easter holidays I’d go out and help my dad refurbishing or relocating big trade stores. I can’t have been older than 12, but I’d be climbing up one side of high pallet racking to move the ends of the big steel beams. None of this health and safety malarkey, and no hard hats or cables, just me shimmying up one side and my dad up the other. I won’t even mention the fork lift driving [laughter].

How do you see your role…

I code sh*t. I have a t-shirt somewhere that reads ‘eat, sleep, code, repeat’. After my promotion in August to Software Development Team Lead, I’m also managing three of our software developers and working on key projects like MailRokket, which is our upgraded email campaign manager that uses a mini AI system to predict how a user might respond.

If you could travel back in time to the start of your career and give yourself one piece of advice…

Wait, can I just tell myself winning lottery numbers? No? I suppose ‘it’s really not a matter of life and death’. You can start at 6am and you’re working, working, working and then suddenly realise it’s 6pm. Part of you is thinking I actually should have stopped this afternoon, but there’s another part thinking if I can just get this bit done it can help out and there’s potentially more revenue here. It’s not necessarily perfectionism, but an aspiration to always impress.

Following your promotion, talk to me about career aspirations…

I code – therefore I am. I’ve been coding for such a long time and really enjoy it. Since my promotion, I’ve been trying to get used to delegation. But I certainly don’t ever want to get to a point where I’m only spending 50% of my time actually doing the work.

Changes you’ve noticed at FanFinders in the past year…

There has been a lot of momentum since I joined and it’s great to see things really picking up on the US side, where we’re obviously recruiting. Expanding and getting the right type of people will help the business achieve its 5-year plan. It will be interesting to see how the company ethos changes over the coming years and if Alec will end up sending out 99 hats because that’s how many people didn’t make the team call on time.

Best thing about working here…

Tech-wise, I’ve learnt a lot since joining and it’s leading edge work. Another is having some of the co-founders shake my hand and thank me for the work I’ve done at the Christmas party. That type of open recognition and appreciation is something I’ve not experienced before. Then there’s the flexibility for my role to be permanently remote. Because I have MS and a daily commute of 40 mins into the office and back would be exhausting, being able to work from home is invaluable.

You mentioned MS. Can you share more about your experiences…

Well it’s not the ‘end all’ of things, but there are days where it does take control. Certainly in the past, when I was having 3 injections a week, there were times where I was experiencing probably more bad weeks than good days. I’m now on good weeks and odd bad days, here and there. Some people know that I have MS and some don’t, I’ve had various reactions over the years. There was one project I was working on in the past, where a guy would walk the other way whenever he saw me. But reactions have definitely ranged from one extreme to the other.

And for those that don’t know what MS is…

It’s an autoimmune response disease. Think of it like a power cable. You can hold it without being electrocuted, because it has a plastic sheath around it, and it also helps conduct the electricity. Nerves also have a sheath called Myelin, which is a fatty tissue that surrounds them, and this also helps the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body. 

My immune system sometimes starts bashing that sheath, which creates lesions on that nerve in my brain, and when lesions appear, the routing of that signal is compromised. So either it becomes a slow message going through that nerve or the nerve is totally damaged and the brain has to re-route that traffic.

Because I’ve had it for more than 20 years, my prognosis is classed as ‘stable’, so I shouldn’t be ending up in a wheelchair. Which is good, because it would make finishing my garden deck project off harder [laughter].

For anyone that hasn’t been following your progress with the deck closely on the Slack channel…

I think we’re up to about 6m across now and from the house, about 5m. The deck itself is elevated – about a metre off the ground – so the garden slopes down.

First thing you’ll do when it’s finished…

I would say crack open a beer to celebrate, but I don’t want to risk scratching the composite [laughter]. Perhaps sit there and think ‘what else needs to be done now?’

Outside of building decks, how do you spend your weekends…

If it’s nice and sunny, lots of dog walking. We go for walks around the local loch – which is just up the road. I’m also trying to teach myself to play the guitar (badly, I’m definitely achieving that!), either that or I’ll be sat on the sofa watching F1.

Pick one: books or movies…

Definitely movies. I just get to the end of the first page of most books and I’m bored; even the technical ones I have dotted around.

Favourite movie…

I’m thinking about Christmas, so it has to be Die Hard. It’s not Christmas without Nakatomi Plaza.

And if anyone could play you in a movie about your life…

With the amount of swearing, probably Samuel L. Jackson.