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David Banham

Please introduce yourself:
Hi! I'm Dave from Guringai land in Sydney. I love building things, mostly out of 1s and 0s. I've spent a bit more than a decade doing it professionally and about another decade before that doing it for funsies. I went to uni for a business and marketing degree before founding my first company and pivoting into the CTO role. I'm a big believer in having broad experience.

What do you do for work?
I'm a consulting senior full stack developer. I help companies build MVPs, crash through hard problems and advance tricky projects. I love an opportunity to go all the way from understanding a business need to building the solution to it.

I also run a few of my own products. There's clubman.app, a booking platform for ski clubs. Then takehome.io, a code challenge platform and Surevote.app, a secure digital preferential voting system. Doing this kind of work both for myself and for my clients lets me get lots of experience about what works and what doesn't so I can always keep improving. And I write a lot of open source code, too!

What do you do outside work?
I hang out with my kids a lot. A few years ago I made a choice to redefine my work around my family. I was running a software consultancy with a large team at the time. They were great people doing great things, but the idea of spending more time with my staff than my kids just stopped making sense to me. I stepped back from the consultancy and set myself the challenge to not have any employees until both my boys were in primary school. It's easily been the best decision I've ever made.

I'm also a volunteer firefighter with the RFS and I'm pretty heavily involved with my brigade. It's great being able to help people and challenge myself. It's also super valuable to be able to escape my filter bubble and collaborate with people from every kind of work, age, political leaning and walk of life. It can be easy to forget about the big wide world beyond the tech industry if you're not careful.

Toughest work moment?
Having a plate of Christmas lunch balanced on one hand with my laptop in the other hand debugging a critical production issue at the worst possible time. It was one of the many lessons in my career on why software and infrastructure resiliency and testing is so critical.

Most rewarding work moment?
I love it whenever software intersects with the real world and has a tangible impact. I recently helped CSIRO Data61 and PwC with a massive piece of data crunching for Woolworths. You might have seen it in the media as a $390,000,000 market disclosure. There was a lot of interesting, in-depth, really technical work on that project. The outcome, though, was a big file with line after line of cheques to be cut and mailed. A lot of those cheques probably changed the lives of some of the hardest-working people all over the country. That really meant something to me.

Your one-sentence work-related advice:
You're so much more than just your job, never lose sight of that.

Your one-sentence hiring-related advice:
Hiring is a last resort, not the first thing to try.

It's easy to get hung up on growing a team and lose sight of investing back in the one you have. If you have a team of 10, see if you can make that team 10% better by investing in training, infrastructure or reducing rework instead of making it a team of 11. Everyone will be happier for it. When it is time to hire, though, always call Lookahead!

Connect with David on LinkedIn.