Chris Wood, CTO at software company Spicy Mango, an expert global media technology consulting and software delivery organisation for content owners, broadcasters and service providers, outlines how he started the business, what it means to be an entrepreneur and what his plans are moving forward.
1. How did the idea for Spicy Mango come about?
The idea for setting up Spicy Mango was born out of a few conversations with some old customers and friends: The common theme that emerged was a need for a good platform specialist, one that provided consulting and engineering expertise in back end services.
There are an abundance of product and platform organisations – but they all shy away from custom. Media is a vertical that has a lot of standards as far as video goes, but the rest is really loose – so interoperability is a huge problem at the platform level. This makes building and integrating platforms and products a bit painful.
2. What is unique about Spicy Mango?
There are not many organisations that offer a platform specialism like we do. The market is saturated with front end consumer application development providers – but Spicy Mango is really niche. We design and build globally scaling platforms to bespoke requirements – we don’t have a platform in a box approach. The output is always tailored to the requirements or constraints we are provided.
3. What are Spicy Mango’s long-term goals?
This is going to sound a little unusual, but I don’t have huge ambitions of world domination. We’re very realistic to only bite off what we can chew. So, as long as we keep achieving great client deliverables and have a great time doing it, then long may this ongoing goal continue.
4. How did you build your team?
I’m very lucky being able to hand pick everyone in our organisation. We’re still small so it’s achievable. We started by hiring our now Head of Engineering when I put the company together. We’ve grown based on resource that we need in order to deliver successful projects and support our customers. It’s been very organic. The team all bond really well and it’s a great culture. I’m extremely proud of what every individual brings to the group – the dynamic is very well balanced.
5. How do you build a successful customer base?
The million dollar question…I think we’ve been successful because of our approach. We try to be really realistic, personable and honest. We seek to build long term relationships that are based on trust and transparency. We work hard to deliver against everything we commit to, so when we say we’re going to something – we do! I think that plays a huge part in maintaining a successful customer base.
6. What kind of culture exists in Spicy Mango and how do you establish it?
We’re a really relaxed bunch and we have a great trust culture. I don’t mind where people work, how they work, when they work, so long as everything is done to the time and quality constraints we set. We’ve never had an office – so the whole company has always been remote. We’ve built our culture around really flexible ways of working, and we’re still able to communicate really well day to day. When COVID hit, we didn’t have that crazy panic that a lot of organisations suffered from to transition from an office to home, which was a relief.