Pop Quiz, Monday with Charles Cridland, Co-Founder & Technical Director at YourParkingSpace Ltd

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?

Charles Cridland

What is your job role?

Co-Founder & Technical Director, YourParkingSpace Ltd

Tell us about your company?

YourParkingSpace is a platform that matches up drivers with parking spaces. Parking space owners, comprised of private individuals, and commercial organisations, are able to generate income from their vacant parking bays, whilst drivers can find and instantly book these spaces on an hourly, daily or monthly basis.

The business now markets over 45,000 locations, powers the parking technology of businesses such as Confused.com, and processes thousands of online booking reservations daily for parking space owners across the UK.

What do you love most about your job?

The flexibility is what I love most about the job. Not so much the flexibility of hours — as is the case with any tech start-up, they are long — but rather the flexibility in the direction we’re heading. There’s no blueprint or instruction manual to follow, the company is creating its path, and it’s hugely exciting to help shape its direction.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?

Creating something of real value is what motivates me. It’s very rewarding when you read positive reviews from customers, and similarly, when the company does well, we’re able to reward the team that made it all possible. There’s so much to achieve still, so many customers to recruit and milestones to reach to ensure the team can benefit. It’s this that provides the motivation each day.

How do your co-workers inspire you?

It would have to be their different skill sets. When you see people working up close, you do start to appreciate each of their strengths.

Some co-workers are great salespeople, able to develop a rapport with potential clients instantly. Others are more shy but have a real eye for detail, essential for adding the polishing touches to everything the company produces, whether it’s testing new website developments or reviewing new marketing material. You have the co-workers that are never satisfied, always pushing the boundaries and asking where improvements can be made. Then there are those co-workers who are the engine of the company, consistently delivering huge volumes of work each day.

It makes you realise that everyone has a unique strength or talent that they can contribute. The challenge for the business is ensuring that each person’s strength is identified, with that person placed in a role that maximises their contribution.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?

We try to create an office that people want to walk into each day. We’re lucky to be part of Level39, an 80,000 square foot community space in Canary Wharf comprised of hundreds of fast-growth tech companies. As part of this, we benefit from many of its perks, including spacious break-out areas, free drinks, and cookies every afternoon. In addition to this, we have a table tennis table within our office, hand out beers on Friday afternoons, and frequently hold team lunches and evenings out.

What are some of the challenges of your job?

Prioritising is one of the biggest challenges of the role. Heading up the technical side, I receive development requests from all areas of the business, whether it’s customer service asking for new functionality within their administrative platform, the sales team requesting an integration to assist with managing their sales flow, or the frequent customer requests that are submitted. Then there are the high-level development goals for the business. It can be a real challenge balancing all the requests, and not everyone can be kept happy at all times!

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?

The one lesson that always stands out is on the development side. When developing a new website or service don’t try to make it perfect from day one. Many years ago we lost six months of development time by attempting to create the perfect booking platform from the moment it launched. We attempted to launch with all types of clever features, leading to a project that was simply too complex to deliver. Subsequently, as we’ve received real customer feedback, we’ve discovered that many of the features we attempted to develop simply aren’t required.

Instead, at the start strip everything back to the one core purpose you’re trying to deliver. For us, it would have been attempting to make it as quick and simple as possible for customers to make a booking. At the early stage everything else is a distraction, deliver on your core feature or purpose, and you will have opportunities to add in those nice-to-have features over time.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?

Stay open to learning. If your role is on the technical side experiment with the latest technologies. If you’re in marketing, subscribe to the top news websites to learn about developments within the industry. If you’re in sales, spend some time each month reviewing the latest sales tools and advice. It’s not always noticeable on a day-to-day basis how much is changing, but if you look back over the past few years in any sector, huge changes have taken place. The old adage is that knowledge is power, to fulfill your potential it’s important to keep adding to your knowledge.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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