Niall StrachanNiall Strachan, Head of Product Strategy at Pelion, has, since day one of his exit from the University of Strathclyde been trailblazing his way through the startup and interconnectivity-in-technology sectors. “It all began at university, where I studied a degree in computer science; I enjoyed it. It was a decent degree. Literally a day after graduation, I was hired by a new startup called Stream Technologies. I was employee number two, which was ideal because I wanted to get involved with a smaller organisation ─ it gives you a feel for how a company truly runs and throws you into the nitty-gritty of management from the very beginning. I think you can learn a lot more that way.” It also helps employees to develop a love and loyalty for the company, which Niall certainly did, given that he spent just over a decade with the company. “We built up a 40 to 50 person strong organisation, and over the years I transitioned from software engineering to product management, support, marketing, and just about every other position you can think of, within Stream.”
“We were successful in what we did, and eventually, in 2018, Arm Holdings was knocking at the proverbial door. They acquired Stream soon after, and ever since then, I’ve been leading product management on the connectivity side, under the banner of Arm. Providing connectivity through the Internet of Things was our major focus at Stream, so our core product, which attracted Arm in the first place, was all about that,” Niall added.
“More recently, I’ve been transitioning from product management to a product strategy-orientated position that covers both connectivity and device management in one role. So, really I’m taking on a job that involves a lot of forward-looking product capabilities that our customers need: I’ll be looking a bit further down the line than just ‘the short term’, but looking at what we need to do over the foreseeable future ─ could be twelve to eighteen months, even five years in the future.”
What’s most interesting about Niall and his career to date ─ ladened with seemingly workload-heavy, overtime kind of roles ─ is his intention for the coming years with Pelion. “In my new role, I’ll be focusing on what the target markets we need to be aiming for are; which verticals are growing or predicted to grow; how we can position our products correctly to grow in alignment with those predictions, and what technical innovations are crucial to the future sustainability and success? We have to do all of it with a long-term vision, now.”
Niall added that “it’s almost like following the North Star when it comes to looking forward and making decisions to best suit the company’s long-term needs. You’ll pivot your way along the road before you, to ensure that you’re following the star; occasionally you’ll meander, but as long as you’re roughly heading in the right direction, you’ll always reach it in the end, and that’s the best thing for the business. That’s what I’m pushing for ─ to follow the North Star until we reach our goals. It’s ironic, though, because I’ve never been a career ambition kind of guy; I’ve just never had that title that I specifically want to drive towards. At Pelion, it’s always been a very natural, organic experience. So if our business is going to continue to be successful and our teams are engaged in what they’re doing, believe in what we’re doing, and enjoy getting the job done, this is exactly where I would like to be.”
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