November 2023 – What We’ve Been Up To

Here's what we've been up to in November!


Big changes

I probably say this every month, but it seems these end of month articles come around much sooner than every 4 weeks. This year has passed by in the blink of an eye. It’s our last traditional EOM blog post of 2023 as we do something a little different in December, and we’re already feeling festive with lots planned for December.

The Twilo Christmas Party is booked and I’m looking forward to doing something a bit different with the team. We have a head-to-head escape room booked, followed by a bottomless “brunch” (at 6pm), and then some console wars at Pixel Bar, where we can let our inner-geek out after a few drinks. It doesn’t seem 2 minutes since we moved office and it’s fair to say that the business has been running me since then, rather than the other way around, so this will be our first team outing since the move to Leeds.

Speaking of which, as this may be our last traditional EOM post of the year, I’ll take this opportunity to mention a couple of things:

  1. The office move has been a huge success. We still have some bits to do in terms of signage etc, but the move has been a huge positive in many ways. We have so much space to grow into, a conference room and private office, as well as the breakout room complete with foosball table and dart board, and plenty of space for people to sit and chat over lunch. The latter being the highlight of the move, as I feel this area has brought the team much closer together.
  2. Speaking of the team, I’m immensely proud of what they’ve achieved this year. I’ve mentioned before that finding the right people is one of the most difficult challenges of running a business. There are so many factors to consider which may be overlooked from the outside. You have to find people who can match the standards that are expected from a high-level agency, and equally they have to fit in with the rest of the team, while buying into the company’s vision and values. That’s a lot to consider, and it can be mentally tough

When we set out on our ambitious Growth40 plans earlier this year, the office move and team expansion were two of our biggest milestones. It’s been a massive challenge on top of what already is a fast-paced business, but I’m really pleased with where the company is positioned now. I’m feeling confident heading into 2024 as we move on to the next stage of Growth40; client growth, and office culture.

We’ve just completed a huge project which we started working on in Q2 of this year. We’ve developed a web application which allows apprenticeship providers to monitor the progress of learners, fully equipped with assessments and unit progress, user management, document storage, alerts, an internal messaging system, and much more. This project has been worked on by most of the team and it’s been a big challenge as we’ve been going through a transitional year. This will be a great case study for us and is the type of project which tests our developers, while also providing lots of learning opportunities, both in terms of technical skillset, project management, and communication. Keep an eye out for the case study in the near future.

Speaking of BIG projects, our new website is coming! I don’t want to give too much away at this stage but I’m really pleased with how the design is coming together. We’ve done our best to align the design with our business values, which is very much straight talking, and getting to the bottom of where our client needs to be. We’re currently putting our case studies together which has been enjoyable to jog the memory and look at the great projects we’ve delivered. It’s also created an opportunity to take a little step back and see things from the outside.

This site is the start of our first venture into outwardly marketing Twilo, as we’ve grown almost exclusively on word of mouth recommendations to-date, so this will very much be a case of proving our service.

Before I finish I’d just like to end with a quick note on Jen and Tom who joined us in November. Both in very different positions, but equally as enjoyable to work with and have been a great addition to Twilo.


Fred started his puppy classes this month which was actually quite refreshing, as it turns out he isn’t the naughtiest puppy in the world as we keep calling him. His legs are starting to out-grow the rest of his body as he resembles a teenage boy at the start of his growth spurt, looking like a Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron. The cuts on my hands are easing a little, although some scars will remain for life. Here he is looking guilty as I caught him eating another label. Oh, and “he’s not allowed on the sofa” lasted all of 1 week!


Busy yet productive

November has been a very busy yet productive month, it has consisted of a lot of hard work, new places and good company. In the last month I feel I have also settled in well to my new position at Twilo and into my new home.

It’s now been two months since starting at Twilo and since moving to Leeds in order to pursue a career in the industry. Throughout my two months at Twilo I have enjoyed every bit of it and have learned so much since joining the team. It is great to be working with a team who share the same commitment to the job and industry as I do. Going back a couple of months, I would never have seen myself working and living 200 miles from home, but I am happy to have made this giant leap and am thankful for the opportunity to work at Twilo and am excited to see what the future at Twilo holds.

On another note, this month I have started visiting a few different places, ‘places’ being restaurants and bars in and around Leeds. I visited Headingley for the first time this month despite living a very short drive away. I visited on a Saturday evening, so anyone who knows Headingley surely knows what to expect on a Saturday evening/night… The Otley Run… I wasn’t forewarned. So it was a little bit of a surprise to me when I arrived and sat down in a bar on the main street and saw all of these different costumes begin to flood the streets. I am sure I will eventually succumb to giving it a go one day, and I am sure I won’t be making it very far.

I am a big fan for traditional Japanese food, so one night this month myself and a friend took a trip to Blue Sakura in Leeds for food. I’ve been to many different restaurants up and down the country but Blue Sakura tops it with a great atmosphere for a nice chilled evening with good food. The food was top quality and it was definitely the best sushi I have had, and of course followed with a spiced rum. I and her were both very impressed with Blue Sakura (until we got the bill), jokes aside I am sure I will return again soon.

To bring this to end I’ve met a lot of great people already, in and out of work and made some great friends. I hope as times goes on working at Twilo and living in Leeds that I will have some more interesting details to add in future posts.


Exciting & creative

November has been yet another very exciting and creative month. It has provided grounds for growth and development, but also rewarding opportunities.

In terms of creative processes, the month was very rewarding: I had the chance to work on a number of cross-disciplinary/multi-format client projects, which involved print, digital and motion collateral. I had the chance to practice core principles of graphic designs, and to test various design concepts and ideas across several client projects.

In a similar vein, November was a very interesting month because I had the chance to work further with user interface design, and to work closely with web design principles. I had the chance to collaborate with and learn from other designer(s) of the team to hone my professional practices: Figma software, Grilla Practices, motion design for web, Json technology.

In terms of office, time and project managements, I have made great strides in successfully being punctual in delivery, communication, and coordination. I have put great efforts in keeping clear channels of communication with colleagues and clients, and have a transparent code of conduct. I have assisted the marketing team and assisted the induction of new members; as marketing and design departments work closely. I’m very satisfied with how I’ve became more adept in keeping on top of things, deadlines and expectations. Finally, on my free time I have started reading a fascinating book about graphic design practices in Art Deco era, and the interconnection between various humanities’ disciplines in the 1920’s. A very inspiring book with loads of iconographical and cultural references to come back to look for creative inspiration. A very fruitful and rewarding month indeed!


Postitive strides

I’ve spent too much money in November. I spent six days in Somerset staying at a holiday park with a bunch of friends. Due to the cold weather and the rain, we spent most of the time staying in the park spending all our money eating at the Chef’s Corner (which had irresistible food) and drinking on the evenings until 1am. It was really relaxing to step away from technology for a while and just socialise and party all weekend. It’s a good opportunity to catch up with everyone. On the Monday, it got unusually warm, so we spent the day at the seaside. Everything was mostly shut as most businesses by the beach seem to only operate on the weekends. It was still good to explore the weird paths they have down there. There is a part of the beach where the path just stops dead, and you must clamber over rocks to get to the path again. No trip to the beach is complete without eating fish and chips on metal chairs and tables whilst trying to defend against seagulls. So, we did just that. Also, I conveniently forgot my wallet in the caravan back at the park, so my partner bought the fish and chips.

Now going into December, I’m going to spend some time house/flat hunting. My current tenancy ends in January, so the aim is to move out before the end of that month. This will add more excitement to what already is an exciting time of year. It will feel like a new fresh start in 2024 and I look forward to it. I’ve already been told I’ll be getting kitchen sets for Christmas this year from family.

Looking back on the month, I think I’ve also made some great strides in my work. There has been some very challenging code which has melted my mind trying to solve but was very rewarding when I achieved the final solution. I’m really getting to grips developing with Vue JS and developing our projects in a package-driven style that improves maintainability and efficiency.


Out with the old, in with the new

This year has gone by so quickly, and November was no exception. I’ve managed to stay busy throughout, packing the penultimate month of the year full of interesting projects and socialising with friends and family.

To start the month off, my wife and I had a nice autumn weekend away in Bakewell with friends. We booked an AirBnB and spent the time exploring the town, playing board games and enjoying good food together. We stayed for two nights, but I could have easily made it a week as it’s a beautiful part of the country and there’s so much to explore.

We also had a lot of home renovations planned this month, with the main job replacing the flooring in the living room. Our old carpet was looking tired, and it’s not something that we would have picked ourselves, so it was time to replace it with some wooden flooring instead. Unfortunately, that meant shifting everything out of our living/dining room which proved to be quite the task — made much easier thanks to our wonderful friends and family, who came to help us move furniture out and then back in. Before pictures on the left, with the finished result on the right. I think it turned out really well!

At work, I’ve been busy with a few exciting web projects, and I’ve been developing my skills further in Figma. I’ve been exploring the variables feature, which helps bridge the gap between design and code by building structure and style depending on certain parameters. For example, if I was designing a site with a light and dark mode, the Variables feature would easily allow me to switch between both modes without designing a dedicated page for both. I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this feature as the year comes to a close.


Busy birthday

November is an amazing month for me because it’s my birthday month! Not only did I celebrate my birthday, but three of our projects also went live, and I’m pleased with their success. There are many more projects in the pipeline too!

The past few weeks have been busy as I travelled to Cambridge and London to celebrate my birthday. Cambridge is a lovely place to visit, and I thoroughly enjoyed my trip! I highly recommend a visit, stayed there for one night and then spent another night in London. I had the chance to see the Christmas Lights on Oxford Street, and it was truly beautiful and magical! Despite the very cold weather, I still cherished the experience.

Back at the office, we had pizza, and I attempted to crack a joke with a colleague. However, it turned out to be a terribly cheesy joke, and their reaction was just a facepalm moment. Here’s the joke I made: ‘Wanna hear pizza jokes? Nah, it’s too cheesy!’

Seems like I need to work on my jokes!

Also, I’ve been trying to improve my darts skills lately because for the past few weeks, I haven’t won any games. Hoping to win at least one game soon! Despite that, I’ve really enjoyed our lunch breaks.


Focused & strategic

As newly appointed Non-Executive at Twilo, the past few weeks have been focused around strategic planning and making positive contributions to our exciting growth plans. Kicking off the month with a visit to Twilo’s new offices in Leeds, Wayne (founder) and I worked through a packed agenda with discussions across strategic objectives, project work and growth opportunities.

One highlight was spending dedicated time with our talented designer to review final designs for the upcoming new Twilo website. I also conducted second-round interviews for two vacancies, to ensure we continue to bring on board skilled individuals who align with Twilo’s vision.

I’ve been working alongside the team to create a compelling response to an exciting pitch opportunity for an existing client. It’s both rewarding and energyising to see first-hand how our expansion and strategic initiatives are already shaping the future of Twilo through these types of opportunities.

Outside the boardroom, I took a weekend getaway to London to visit the Tate Modern exhibition, “Capturing the Moment,” featuring expressive paintings by masters like Pablo Picasso and Paula Rego, as well as striking photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jeff Wall.

On a more personal note, I have been gearing up for the return of the cheeky elves with avid Pinterest pinning for daily inspiration after nearly 10 years of elfing!


New beginnings

From starting the month working as an electrician and gardener to then being busy looking after various clients in my new PPC Account Executive role at Twilo, you could say a lot has changed this month!

I’ve now completed my first (half) month at Twilo, and every day has been very enjoyable. I’ve had to pick up my new set of clients, the work that is required for them and getting to understand their audiences/KPIs, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales all happening in-between this. This is what I craved for getting back into a marketing agency role, and I’m looking forward to the coming months to see where we can take things.

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been to a lot of music events this month, ranging from a dubstep event with a DJ called Hamdi to a very calm and collected gig from a beautiful neo-soul singer called Yazmin Lacey. As well as that, I’ve had the full football emotional set from Forest witnessing wins and losses, and I also went to my first comedy night which I enjoyed very much.

My parents have got a new Airedale Terrier called Ted, who I’m very much looking forward to meeting at Christmas (that’s him below if you didn’t realise).

Overall, I’m very happy for how this month has gone and looking forward to progressing with Twilo in this brilliant role.