From engineering to operations, Meet the Appvians is a series that shines a spotlight on the people behind our products: What they do, what they enjoy outside of work, and how they’ve experienced life at Appvia.
For this edition, we caught up with Arron Duggins, Talent Acquisition Manager, on searching for (and cultivating) exceptional talent, what makes Appvia a great place to work and how we keep it that way.
Arron is the first person many people come into contact with during the interview process, so it’s crucial that he totally embodies the Appvia brand.
And he does. He's an amazing advocate of our vision and gets unbelievably excited to bring the right people into Appvia, so we wanted to give him the 'mic' and share more of his story.
Arron, can you tell us how you’d describe your role and the role of Talent Acquisition within Appvia?
We’re here to attract, retain and develop future Appvians. My role specifically is to lead and center the team as we continue to scale globally. It’s an exciting challenge to have: More geographies + more business = more people that we’re bringing in across the globe.
We have a real opportunity to be a part of an early stage, pre-VC start-up that has high ambitions and equally high morals. It’s a privilege to be a part of supporting that journey by bringing people on board who share that same passion, ethics and ambition.
What’s your background with Talent Acquisition, and how did that journey lead you to Appvia?
I’ve worked within Recruitment/Talent Acquisition, specifically within technology, for nearly ten years now! Technology has always been a passion of mine. I’ve seen my father make a successful career from it, starting from the ground up in his early 30s and it’s always interested me from both a career perspective and the fact that tech can change the world, ideally for the better.
The dynamic of helping companies hire awesome people to support the growth of their technology start-ups has always excited me, not only because of the products that they build but also because of the culture, values and processes that they cultivate to make those companies successful.
It might be obvious, but what does success mean to you?
Success is often defined by outright revenue growth but I think it's more than that, it’s about the value we bring to the industry by challenging our customers to think differently about problems. This is no different when it comes to the strategy behind Talent Acquisition and I want to help the industry be better and drive better practices.
I’ve worked with a number of companies who had figured a lot of this stuff out already, so to be with Appvia at this early and exciting stage of our journey, alongside some of the best brains in the industry, is exactly why I'm here.
You mentioned company culture is an important element to you. How would you describe Appvia’s culture to potential candidates (and the whole wide world)?
This is maybe the most-asked question when I speak with future Appvians! It’s difficult to capture all of it via words, but I’ll first start by saying that I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside a number of tech start-ups, who are typically backed by Series A-E funding and sell to Enterprise.
I've found that culture isn’t an easy thing to pin down and tends to be a by-product of growth and revenue.
For me, culture is more about how we value someone's work, the opportunity they have to contribute and how we treat our fellow team members. At Appvia, these are the things that stand out the most. Being able to say that you work for an organisation that values your input, respects your hard work and where everyone has the opportunity to develop themselves out of their comfort zone - what I commonly define as the ‘Challenger Mindset’.
For me culture is more about how we value someone's work, the opportunity they have to contribute and how we treat our fellow team members.
What’s your vision of how we’ll continue to grow that culture as we grow?
The challenge comes mostly from a logistics perspective. The more global we are, the bigger we become, the more difficult it is to give everyone that same experience. Our aim is then to enable everyone to truly understand what we do, who we are and how we do it so they can be a part of it. I’d say there are a few key components to this...
First, remaining focused on solving some of the biggest problems across the Kubernetes and Cloud Native industry. The problems and solutions will evolve, as will we.
Second, continuing to ensure that our people remain focused on the goal in a way that is collaborative and consistent with our values (all of which you can see on our website).
And, finally, to continue to operate in a start-up mindset, making everyone and their respective teams, agile, effective and efficient.
And you also mentioned values, which I also agree are an integral part of company culture. Which of our values do you align with the most?
I personally align most with Growth. When I was growing up, success was having a steady job and having a house with a mortgage paid off before you retire. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but I think that often people are capable of much more and perhaps just don't get pushed enough or get out of their comfort zone enough to develop.
Wasted potential is something I really dislike, so I thrive on seeing people reach new heights. Appvia is an excellent advocate for this, as a start-up whose management team has good values, you have an opportunity to develop, learn and do work of real value.
Growth boils down to, 'work towards the role that you want, not just the one you have'.
What's the best piece of advice that you’ve been given and what advice would you then give to any future Appvians?
This is something that I believe wholeheartedly and is not only relative to Appvia, but also in whatever you do in life: Commit 100% to whatever you do. Be all in. And, secondly, be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Whatever that looks like for you then pursue it. In doing so, you may unlock that thinking for someone else.
It’s 2022 now, nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve permanently adopted a flexible work-from-home policy. I know that you’re based outside of London and work from home the majority of the time. We’re all curious – what is your workspace like?”
We moved house around a year ago, and I have a super simple office space. Using the Mac we get for Appvia as well as my Chromebook.
Along the same lines as the desk question, here’s another ‘fan favorite’ … what do you listen to while you’re working? A favorite music style? Song? Sound?
I’d say I’m a ‘generalist’ because what I listen to tends to be dependent on…
- The day of the week
- How productive the week has been
- The type of work I'm doing
Love it! Okay, last question here so we’ll keep it easy-breezy: What do you like to do outside of work?
Weirdly, this might be the most difficult thing to answer. I know it's probably intended to make me appear really interesting but in all actuality, my life is quite simple outside of work.
I am a proud husband and father of two, Isabelle and Bradley. Beyond being a family man, my other two passions are Aston Villa and gaming (PS5 & Xbox). Those who know me, know I love a top-five list so here's my top five games, in no particular order:
- The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time
- Gears of War 1-5
- Fallout 3
- Streets of Rage / Bare Knuckle
- Borderlands 2
COULD YOU BE THE NEXT APPVIAN?
We're looking for talented and passionate people to join our growing team in London and beyond —. check out all of the current open roles. To learn more about Mark or find out more about the growing Engineering Team, connect with him on LinkedIn.