A green valley with steep sides, a river in the middle and a clouded mountain top on the left

Reflections on 2016

This was the year I stopped drinking alcohol. It wasn’t intended to be so at the outset. I did Dry January for the first time. I was commuting between Gatwick and Warwick and also seeing my brother in hospital up in Derby until the end of February. So I didn’t really have a lot of time to drink anyway.

After about three months, I noticed that the “need a drink” feeling just vanished. So I didn’t really have any need to start again and it just became the new lifestyle by default.

It was also the year that I really focussed on Data Science. I had been looking around for a new direction to go in, and had read a few articles on the emerging data science field. It contained all the elements that were of interest to me – statistics, programming and analysing data. I spent the whole year on a comprehensive online course. It was based around R, and served as an introduction to all the basic methodologies.

I was working for Avios in Gatwick (the air mile points branch of British Airways) and First Utility in Warwick (an emerging challenger brand in the retail energy market). Both gigs were contracts obtained through contacts I had in my network. At some point in the year, I stopped the Avios contract and did my third stint at O2 – this time running the product management department in the B2B division. This again came from contacts from my network.

The big change came in the summer. While working in Warwick, I happened to bump into a colleague from the Orange and Ovo days who told me that a new group was looking to start up a renewable energy firm. He introduced me to Andrew, Steven and Chris who secured funding for Pure Planet on 27 September.

On Monday 3 October I started as the CTO at their new rented office in Bristol. I was the first through the door – beating Andrew by half an hour so I set up my laptop and started typing an architecture of what we might need for an energy company. We didn’t even have a power extension lead at that point and we needed to launch in six months.

It would be quite the ride. I quit the O2 role shortly after and focussed solely on Pure Planet.

These are my recollections of 2016 in January 2024.

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