This interview originally appeared on the cubetech website. Text: Jessica Pacheco Pereira; photos: Reto Flühmann.
Mark Howells-Mead is our Development Manager and contact person for complex technical requirements. He’s been an enthusiastic follower and advocate of WordPress since the earliest days of the CMS. His goal is to show the world that WordPress is much more than just a blogging system. He tries to maintain some distance from the digital world in his free time and is always on the move – whether hiking, taking photographs or flying his new drone.
What does your work at cubetech entail?
I’m responsible for the management of the development team. I also act as consultant for technical queries and develop technical solutions. I accompany the team and support team members during the project production process and also help the developers to progress and gain new knowledge. I run internal training sessions and do my best to improve our processes, so that our work is made easier.
I’m also the point of contact for complex client requests and I take part in larger client workshops. I make myself available as a specialist and advise on all technical possibilities.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
One of my long-standing hobbies is photography. I wanted to get my photos online and show them as attractively as possible. So I made my first website in 1996 and began building it out so that I could present them. Because I’ve always had a creative eye and an affinity for good design, I enjoy working on the front-end – the visually creative aspect – most.
What are the challenges in your job?
When you start planning a website, it’s common to start with the technical or design aspects. But the creation of what you, as a website owner, want to communicate is much more important. A lot of companies only recognize that when the concept phase for the website is already underway. The website will be much better and more successful as a communications tool if you invest more of your budget in the content planning stage.
What upcoming projects will you be working on?
My next project is a large-scale blog, into which new content and articles are going to be published daily by both internal and external authors. cubetech has produced a lot of corporate websites recently and fewer article-based sites. That means this project will take me “back to the roots” – back to a blogging system – which is going to be exciting.
What does cubetech mean to you?
I became interested in WordPress when it was first released, back in 2004. Unfortunately, it wasn’t perceived as a platform for serious projects for a long time. Despite the fact that WordPress has become the most-used content management system in the world over the past few years. Since joining cubetech, I’ve had the opportunity to show Switzerland and our clients that WordPress has much more to offer than just a blogging system.
cubetech also gives me the opportunity to support young developers. I can share my experience with them and we can grow together as a team.
How does one immediately recognize your working space?
My workspace is completely digital. I practically never have a piece of paper on my desk and I try to work paper-free. My workspace consists of my laptop and two additional monitors.
What makes a good website?
A website is most successful when a visitor can get the information they need within the shortest amount of time possible. Information should always be the primary focus. Websites only exist for one reason: to deliver information. It’s basically irrelevant what the website looks like – the visitor is usually there to spend as little time looking for information as possible.
What capabilities are particularly important in your occupation?
Focus and patience. There aren’t many people in the world, comparatively speaking, who understand the occupation and the technology behind it. That means that one has to always take a little time to help those who don’t understand it. This takes time and patience.
Planning and organisation are also very important parts of the work. We need to separate large tasks into smaller parts, so that we don’t lose the overview of the whole and so that we can guarantee efficient working processes. This helps us to make less mistakes and is essentially more efficient.
What tips can you give to people starting out in your chosen career?
A lot of new starters are technically gifted and interested. They’re often so interested, that they start working straight away. That’s good. But they need to take time at the beginning of a piece of work to make a concept and to plan. Be clear about what you want or need to achieve and how you’re going to do that. Then start with the work itself.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to travel and I’m on the road a lot. By preference, I like to go to places where there aren’t any computers. I also travel to the U.K. with my wife to visit our families and friends. I try to enjoy my spare time with as little technology as possible. Although I have to confess to having bought a drone recently. I use it mainly for photography, my other great passion.
If I didn’t have a mobile phone for a year…
…then I probably wouldn’t be working in the same career. It’s incredibly important to keep up-to-date and to be able to exchange ideas with others.
What did you last search for in Google?
I watched a Bond film yesterday and I wanted to know where one of the scenes was filmed. I want to visit the location and photograph it.
What was your dream job as a child?
Coach driver or long-distance lorry driver. I knew one when I was young and I was fascinated by his stories. On leaving school, though, I went into customer service and switched to my technical occupation when I was 25.
Where are you going on holiday next, and why?
To the west coast of Italy. We want to relax, hike, drink wine, lie on the balcony and, most importantly, stay away from technology. I love being at the coast and in warmer climes. The area we’re visiting is ideal for hiking. My wife and I like to hike up to 10-15 kilometre routes, so our chosen area is perfect.
I have always wanted to be…
A helicopter pilot.
Leave a Reply