ARMLife Interview with Lead Tech Ops Analyst Terry Richards
ARMLife provides an inside look at the talented people who work at All Response Media. In this interview, we spoke with Lead Tech Ops Analyst Terry Richards to explore his diverse career background and how he found his ideal role at ARM.
Arianna Ross: Tell us a bit about yourself?
Terry Richards: I am originally from Leeds, born and bred. I grew up there and studied IT, Psychology and Maths at A-Levels. However, I decided to head in a slightly different direction when I went to Drama School instead of University, where I majored in musical theatre (and also left with a GCSE in Contemporary Dance).
After pursuing a more creative pathway, I went in a completely different direction and tried careers at both HSBC and then Northern Rock, who eventually liquidated (Thank you, Martin Lewis). Luckily, Google took over the office space I was working in and allowed selected people who were at risk of being made redundant to interview. I interviewed, got the job and became one of 12 people to launch the Leeds Google office as a PPC Account Manager for small businesses solutions. I then trained to be a PPC Account Optimiser in the Google Dublin head office, where I learned more about analytics and more technical processes. After a solid 4 years at Google, I wanted to move to an agency for more diverse usage of tools and exposure to more digital platforms such as display and social, which eventually led me to All Response Media.
AR: How did you find ARM and how long have you worked here?
TR: I was already aware of ARM prior to moving to London. I had received offers from larger network agencies, yet I decided to join this agency because I was told there were no silos and that I would get exposure to everything. They did not lie!
I have worked here for 4 years and have explored a number of roles. I first started out as a Senior Planner Buyer within digital, and then grew to an Account Manager. I had the opportunity to work on big and exciting clients like giffgaff and SunLife before pursuing my current role as Lead Tech Ops Analyst on the Tech Ops team, which is a role (and team) that previously did not exist.
AR: You mentioned that your current role and team were new to ARM. How did it come about?
TR: I have always been passionate about tech. At my previous agency, I used to build bespoke tools for PPC and affiliate optimisation. After identifying a need that Google hadn’t come up with a solution for yet, I would build something algorithmically to automate account optimisation. Back then this was unique, but now it is more commonplace. When I first started working All Response Media, I carried over this passion and began building a few tools for this agency that are still used today.
The creation of the Tech Ops team was spearheaded by our Head of Digital Strategy Nick Cudahy as he saw an opportunity for ARM to be at the forefront of digital tech development. Nick and Maria knew my heart was in this space, so they asked me to take part. I had a good understanding of the work this would involve and was passionate about sharing it with clients who would benefit. It was a natural fit.
One of the best things about ARM is that if you want to try a new role or need a change, the company helps you move to find something that suits you. ARM will do a lot to accommodate you, especially if you are someone who works hard. There is an overarching desire to help you work to find and pursue your passion.
AR: What are the Tech Ops team’s main responsibilities?
TR: The Tech Ops team has an extremely varied list of responsibilities, which relate to digital tech and data. This can range from creating new ways to improve data visualisation or developing more efficient and bespoke attribution models. Everything we do is innovative and we are seeing a great response from the clients we work with so far. I would say our main responsibility is to create industry leading solutions which allow the media teams to improve the performance of media.
AR: How has it been to build an entirely new part of ARM from the ground up?
TR: I love the responsibility. I have managed a range of people in this team who have IT, data science, physics and engineering backgrounds. They bring a new set of skills to the agency that has helped us to tap into new areas of business expansion, changing the way we think about recruitment for TechOps and possibly digital roles in the future. The team itself is still in a growth stage and it is exciting to be a part of determining where it goes.
However, I must admit it took a while to get to this point and I had to work hard to develop my managerial and organisational skills over the years. Because our projects may last for 6 months to a year and we work on nearly every agency client across multiple industries, it is vital that my managerial skills are at a good level. All Response Media (let’s be honest…Maria) played a huge role in getting me to this point.
AR: What is your favourite part about working at ARM?
TR: The people. I know most people would say that, but it really is true. Everyone is really approachable, nice to work with and easy to talk to. This goes all the way up to Board level.
For example, our Chief Strategy Officer Colin came up to me one day asking me to help him review some beers that came through as part of a monthly subscription from a long standing client of ARM. This became a regular thing and every so often on a Friday afternoon, we sit and chat and enjoy a beer together. The same openness and social culture run throughout the entire company.
Being from Leeds, I arrived in London friendless, so a welcoming work environment was really important to me. The people at All Response Media are not only my work colleagues, but my friends and we often socialise after work and on weekends.
Additionally, I love that the company is also so quick to adapt. This has allowed me to pursue an exciting and game-changing role where I am allowed to lead the way for the future of Tech Ops. The company places complete trust in those who work hard and it allows for quicker career growth.
AR: What is one fact that no one knows about you?
TR: I used to do Karate all throughout my childhood until I was 17 and became a black belt. I also fought for England for a short time and was the North England Kata champion for 2 years running. If you don’t know, Kata is basically Karate’s version of dancing…hence why I was amazing at it!
I also acted and had walk-ons in a few different TV shows, but those will remain a mystery to those who don’t already know.
AR: Any advice for new starters at All Response Media?
TR: My biggest advice would be to work hard and find a passion that you enjoy doing. At ARM, all of the opportunities are available; you just need to do your best to take advantage of them. If you do this, you will get really far in your career and grow more than you could have expected.