Meet Ciaran Waters – Head of Product

by | Jul 29, 2021 | Staff Spotlight

Tell us a bit about yourself

My background is in software. I studied software systems at the National College of Ireland, and have had a meandering path since, ultimately ending up as Head of Product at Crowley Carbon. I previously worked as a consultant doing technology projects across government organisations and unions. I did a project for the Irish Rugby Football Union. It involved keeping track of all IRFU members and generating their unique ID cards. Then I went into finance and was working in financial software, hedge funds and credit card payments.

Where did you work prior to joining Crowley Carbon?

I was an application architect for an online payments company called Realex Payments. I was responsible for making sure the systems that take your credit card were able to handle your credit card and take the payment, on behalf of online businesses globally. Before that I wrote software for credit unions. I was passionate about that as it was social lending as opposed to corporate and commercial lending. They look at you as a person rather than you as numbers/ credit score. 

What does your job at Crowley Carbon entail?

A bit of everything. My job is to work with all of the teams and the customers and help them to do their job better. I look at the problems customers face on  a day-to-day basis and figure out how our software Clarity can help solve those issues.  I manage a team of 5 people alongside our Chief Technology Officer John MacEnri. 

Tell us what a ‘normal’ day looks like for you?

There is no such thing as a normal day. A lot of my time is spent talking – talking to customers, the customer success team and technical teams. There is much more talking now than writing software. There are also lots of meetings. This week some of this talking tike was dedicated to interviews. We are currently expanding the team, so have been interviewing candidates for a UX role. 

What’s your proudest work-related achievement?

I am very proud of Clarity. I’ve been working at Crowley Carbon for 6.5 years. There wasn’t a software product when I arrived. We were using off-the-shelf software products to do things. Building Clarity from the ground up has been one of the shining moments of my career.

What do you enjoy most about working at Crowley Carbon?

The people. We are a very social group. There are no airs or graces. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and willing to help out. No one ever says ‘that’s not my job’. It’s always ‘how can I help?’ and ‘what can I do?’. It’s a breadth of fresh air compared to some larger and government organisations I have worked in. There is an entrepreneurial mindset throughout the company. 

What is the hardest part of your job?

The refining of ideas. Refining 1000s of different small ideas, all of which are excellent in their own way, into a direction, and being confident in that direction to commit and move forward. Both us and the customers have a lot of great ideas relating to the product. Not all ideas can happen instantly though. You can’t do everything at once. They need to be filtered and prioritised. 

What keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis?

The people around me. When people are going the extra mile to help you, and depending on your outputs, you want to succeed. The team spirit both pulls me along and pushes me along. Also seeing the product evolve, being used more and more, and helping customers realise value. It’s always a moment of pride when you get positive customer feedback about the product. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I should be exercising but I don’t. I cook and I very much like music and movies. I have been doing a lot of barbecuing lately. Not just burgers and sausages. I’ve been experimenting with fish and shellfish on the barbecue too. Pre-Covid I used to play music. Myself and my two brothers were in an unofficial band that played covers in pubs. I played percussion. We haven’t been able to play live music in a while due to the restrictions. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Believe in yourself and trust your gut. I tend to doubt my own abilities.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be anything that involved a uniform – gardai, army, fire brigade. I fell into technology at secondary school and had a natural affinity for it. 

What are your favourite software tools (either for work or outside work)?

For work, I really like the collaborative tool Confluence and analytics software Pendo. At home, I do a bit of woodwork. I use 3D modelling software called SketchUp for designing lots of projects that I never get around to building. I also love Spotify. I like putting it on, picking an artist and letting Spotify go off and find other stuff for me to listen to. I am not one to get into ruts of listening to the same music over and over again. I always enjoy new music. 

Three interesting facts about you

  1. I am classically trained as a singer. As a kid I competed in the Feis Ceoil in the RDS every year.
  2. I do a really good Bolognese, with everything made from scratch. It takes 6 hours. 
  3. I did a lot of woodwork as a kid and am trying to get back into it. I have built a sleeper log wall around our patio, and raised beds using sleepers. I am currently building a workshop. 

 

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