I spent five years as Technical Director at Loco2, now known as Rail Europe. Our aim was to make it easy to book any European rail journey through a single website. I joined at an early stage, sat on the board, and played a key role in growing the business.
A big motivation for my involvement was the founders’ desire to use Loco2 to help mitigate climate change, by making it as easy as possible for people to take a train rather than a plane.
I worked on many things during my time there. Here are some that stand out:
- Building up and guiding the technical team
- Developing processes and documentation to keep the remote-first team running smoothly, such as: coding style guidelines, code reviews, on-call processes, error handling and deployment
- Identifying and eliminating problem areas in the code base and infrastructure
- Overhauling the ‘routing’ part of our software which identified which tickets were needed from which operator in order to make a complete journey
- Developing our software architecture so that we were able to easily plug in new rail operators when we formed a commercial agreement with them
- Reworking our hosting infrastructure to be more resilient and maintainable
Jamie Andrews – Co-founder and former CEO:
I first worked with Jon back in 2007 when we were both at Torchbox, and I was immediately impressed at how capable and confident he was despite being so young. When I started Loco2, Jon was the obvious choice to lead the technical work. I eventually persuaded him to become technical co-founder and CTO when he graduated from Oxford in 2011.
Over the next five years Jon did amazing things, from building outstanding software to designing and evolving our technical infrastructure as we grew substantially. It’s impossible to overstate Jon’s positive impact on the inception and functioning of the organisation as a whole. He brought a ruthless efficiency to decision-making and ensured that we consciously designed and questioned processes, whilst all the time safeguarding the agile, lean mindset that is at the heart of his professional philosophy. I learned a huge amount from him and it would be a pleasure to work with him again in future.
Jon would thrive at the heart of a small, highly capable team with a delivery-focused mindset. Equally I’m sure he would bring a lot to larger teams, provided he is given the agency to make positive changes. He has the patience and written communication skills to clearly outline the next steps he intends to take when tackling a problem, and is never afraid to be honest when challenges are larger or more complex than initially envisaged. This honesty and diligence, when combined with Jon’s obvious technical flair, makes for a highly effective skillset that is incredibly difficult to find.