My Work Life: Ed

We spoke to Product Manager Ed Stuart-Bourne, on his career moves so far and his work at Zopa.

I’ve always been into tech

Aged 10, I built my own website (which, fortunately, has long since fallen off the internet). Throughout my teens I worked on a series of entrepreneurial web ventures, to varying degrees of success, but that mostly stopped with A-Levels and university. So it felt like a return to doing what I loved when I joined Zopa and started working on our innovative digital products.

I wanted my work to have an impact on people

I studied Economics at Cambridge and joined a strategy consultancy when I graduated. After a couple of years there, I decided that while I loved the intellectual challenge of the work, I wanted to see how it helped people directly.  

The role at Zopa seemed a perfect fit, and within days of joining I was doing work that made a real difference to our customers. I could measure results in days and weeks, not years.

I joined Zopa in June 2017 as a Product Analyst in our Investors Tribe

It’s a role I loved doing, but with the support of some great managers and mentors I then took the step up to Product Manager. That means not only do I work on developing the analysis and insights on how to build better products for our customers, but I also collaborate with designers and developers to deliver these products and improve them over time.

Just before Christmas 2019, I then moved over to the Credit Cards Tribe. It’s been great to get the opportunity to learn a new domain, understand a new group of customers and contribute to a product at a very different stage of its lifecycle.

There is no average day for me

My day usually starts with one or more stand-ups, reviewing recent progress and making sure the team has everything they need to continue working on our priorities. This can sometimes spill over into a dedicated kick-off session for a new feature or piece of functionality that we’re ready to pick up.

A key part of my role is collaborating with other teams, and so my morning often involves one or more catchups to share roadmaps, discuss overlapping work and plan how we can support each other. I also need to check in with senior stakeholders to update them and get input on my current projects.

One of the things I love about my role is the more creative side. My afternoon might involve whiteboarding the technical implementation of a new service, interviewing customers to understand their needs, or simply carving out half an hour by myself to think through a thorny problem.

Towards the end of the day, I often review our Jira board to keep tabs on how projects are progressing. I’ll make a note if any tickets are blocked or need my attention.

I like being at the intersection of data, tech and business

It means there are always several interacting aspects to consider, and different problems require very different approaches.

I love the team of people I work with, which is full of smart people solving interesting problems. I learn a lot from them every day.

Most of all, I like seeing customers using our products and the difference they make.

I’ve worked with some brilliant managers who’ve trusted me to go outside my comfort zone

That’s allowed me to develop new skills and gain experience I’m sure I couldn’t have got elsewhere.

I get inspired by improving people’s financial lives

I think financial education is woefully lacking in the UK and there are loads of opportunities to help people improve their relationship with money.

I’m also constantly inspired by my family, who’ve taught me to dream big and do the right thing.

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