Q&A with our Head of Product, Ruairi Doyle

So what brought you to Apps for Good?

Just over a year ago, I had completed an intensive coaching course at Barefoot and decided there were a number of things I needed to assess and change in both personal and professional life.  After spending 6 years at full tilt in senior leadership roles in e-commerce and advertising, I decided I wanted to take a look at different sectors, experience new things and get back a little closer to technology and product where I originally cut my teeth.  A friend tipped me off about Escape the City, where I found a contract role for Apps for Good.  From the very moment I met Amy and Rob on the first round interview panel, I knew these were the people, organisation and values that it made sense to join.

What was it like transitioning from corporate to non-profit world?

In a word? Smooth. Apps for Good is run with amazing values, not just in terms of the very tangible impact it has on young people, but most importantly, as a place to work, in the values and actions of its leadership and team who have been a joy to work with every day.  Despite being 6 years on the go now, Apps for Good is run with an ingrained start-up mentality, with the impossible always possible no matter what resources are available. It’s that very can-do attitude that’s the environment I thrive in.

Having been round the houses in lots of organisations by now, it was also amazing to see how together and on-point Apps for Good was from a technology perspective. Everything was pretty much ready to go: ruby on rails, agile and a super offshore development partner.  The biggest upside was and is that in a smaller organisation – and especially one with a start-up mindset – you really can control and influence many of the levers. There’s no waiting on layers of bureaucracy to approve and implement a change request from strategic and technical levels.  It’s very much as simple as idea, decision, test, deploy and iterate.. And in lightening speed.

What’s your experience been like at Apps for Good?

Fantastic.  In all my roles to-date I’ve always endeavoured to get close to and listen to the customer.  At Apps for Good that customer turns out to be a little different in that they are young people full of ideas, potential and wonder.  Despite experience in customer calls, customer success journeys and user experience testing and design, nothing prepared me for having customer stakeholders that on average are between 7-15 years of age.  Not only do you get to understand, design and develop features for a unique audience, most importantly, you get to experience hands-on the life changing impact technology and an organisation like Apps for Good can have.  That’s priceless and something I’ll always remember.

What words of advice you would give to someone considering such a move?

Take the leap.  Seriously, why wait?  You won’t regret a moment – you will learn lots and bring lots to your next experience.  And most importantly you’ll get to have a real impact that is not just confined to conversion rates and revenue.

What is next for you?

I’m joining a Canadian digital content company and will be helping establish its new EMEA HQ and operations in Dublin, and crucially staying close to product and setting up all software R&D functions.  Leaving Apps for Good was a seriously tough decision, but as I recently located back to Ireland, the draw of a local team really won the day.  Crucially I’ll not be diluting my professional values after Apps for Good as I’ll be working on a product that helps distribute quality journalism in an age where authentic information is ever more important.

However, I’m now part of the Apps for Good family and will be staying close to always lend a hand in whatever way including being an Expert. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll have a content hackathon for students? Here’s thinking…

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Ruairi talks with student teams at our Scottish Regional Event