Bain Hollister, co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at ClearPoint talks us through life at Harvard Business School, working with Eat My Lunch and some of the projects he’s excited about.
You are a ClearPoint Co-Founder and CTO at the company, tell us about your role?
Twelve years ago Phil Pieterson and I co-founded ClearPoint with a pretty simple vision and mission. We wanted to create a place that talented people would love to work and where we could help clients do great things with software technology. ClearPoint continues to be a fantastic journey. One of the things I am most chuffed about is that our founding values, ethics and mission is still largely the same today, even as the technology world has morphed and flexed around us. My role? I basically roam about the place helping our clients and software teams design, create and deliver – I love it.
We hear you recently graduated from Harvard?
Yes! I completed the Owner President Management Programme (OPM53) at Harvard Business School as part of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship in March this year. It is a two year, three unit, resident programme pitched at business owners and entrepreneurs from around the world. It was an amazing opportunity and I massively thankful to my wife Karyn, family and colleagues for the support.
What is the Harvard environment like?
Amazing. The HBS campus is stunning and the faculty professors and staff are super impressive. Started in 1972, the OPM programme involves living and studying onsite Mon thru Sat together with 160 business owners from around the world. With a case study driven curriculum, it is unique way to learn amongst people who have cool experiences to share. It all adds up to a bit of a knowledge firehose for the brain.
What learnings have you bought back, and how are you applying them to the work that ClearPoint is doing?
There’s a whole bunch. The course closes out with exercises on returning home and putting learnings into practice. A lot of the take-outs relate to relatively simple frameworks, and ways of thinking, about things we do in business every day. Also there’s plenty of perspectives from being amongst an international cohort who, generally, operate in much bigger and/or international markets. It focuses our minds to be more ambitious, more global, and look for those unique (sometimes) Kiwi differentiators to help us compete on the world stage.
We understand ClearPoint has done some great work with Eat My Lunch, can you tell us how you got involved with that?
Yes! Lisa, Michael, Iaan and the team have had an incredible journey. In 2015 we were casting about looking for opportunities to help the community and use our skills for social impact. Our People and Culture super star Simone Wadham had recently started an EatMyLunch subscription and I just emailed them to see if there’s anything we could do to help. Turned out to be fortuitous timing as within a few months after launch, EatMyLunch had smashed through their initial two year forecasts.
What changes did you implement for Eat My Lunch, and how did that affect their business?
EatMyLunch were rapidly outgrowing their initial ecommerce solution. Our first action was to make them safe porting all their existing online systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS). We then set about assessing and re-designing the solution to support the growth and aspirations of the business whilst respecting the social enterprise goals and start up constraints.
Ultimately we helped EatMyLunch to scale operations, geographies and self-manage their systems to ensure the smooth running of orders through to distribution.
Can you tell us about any other exciting projects you’re working on at ClearPoint?
There’s a heap – software and related information technology have been on a relentless march through companies since I started work in the mid-nineties. And it has always been accelerating.
For our part, we get our kicks helping clients deliver knock-out technology that improves their business. We are working with some of NZ and Australia’s largest enterprises, helping them design, create and deliver more for their customers through digital technologies
Whether it’s helping Anaplan deliver its multidimensional planning solutions to global customers, Foodstuffs New World iShop, Fonterra’s Global Dairy, or EatMyLunch online – they all require the pulling together of talented, creative people to do great work. And yes, we love it!