Inside Redbox: meet Mat Havelock, head of development

In our new, regular feature, we interview the people behind Redbox. We ask what it’s like working for the company, what they’re most proud of, the challenges their role brings – as well as what makes them tick!

Here, we speak to Mat Havelock, head of development at Redbox Digital in London.

What was life like before Redbox?

Straight after Uni, I was a product marketing manager for a big company and while I was there, taught myself web development. Soon after, I moved to a start-up in a marketing role and built their website. I loved the build and design so much that I realised I wanted to move away from marketing altogether and found a job in a web agency as a developer. A few jobs later, I became a front-end developer for Redbox and then head of front-end, before my latest role!

Can you tell us a bit about your role in the company?

I’m head of development tasked with ensuring the processes are right, communication is flowing and that the correct people are involved in each project. I also look at strategy and help other members of the team with issues they can’t fix.

What do you find the most enjoyable aspects of the job?

The creative aspect of development is what I enjoy most. I find it’s like playing with Lego, you build something and there is a real sense of achievement at the end when it’s all complete. Whether you’ve built a little Lego house or an ecommerce site, it’s a great feeling.

Of course, all jobs have their ups and downs and it can be quite frustrating at times especially when things don’t go to plan, but then there’s also a great sense of achievement when you succeed.

“It’s like playing with Lego – you build something and there is a real sense of achievement at the end when it’s all complete.”

What are your most notable achievements since you’ve worked here?

When I started here, I built the front end of the Paperchase website and worked alongside our creative genius Paul Lewis, who looked after the overall design of the site. Building a beautifully-designed website gave me a great sense of achievement, it’s a cutting-edge site. It won Best Website at The Magento Imagine Awards.

I was also involved in the Screwfix site. We built an omnichannel experience for the brand long before omnichannel became the new thing with a ‘Click and Collect’ capability. It was another big success and something we were all extremely proud of.

Screwfix and Paperchase are long-term customers. We build amazing relationships with our clients, they trust us to get the work done - and to an extremely high standard. Having such reputable brands work with us over the long-term is testament to the quality of our work.

Since I’ve been here, we have also built our Centre of Excellence in Mauritius. It’s the engine room of our development capability, home to our expert Magento developers and to see it grow into the great organisation it is today, is something to be proud of.

Are there any major challenges in your role?

The biggest one is keeping up-to-speed with new technologies. We are moving on to PWA now - that is a real game-changer.

Magento 2 is a completely new platform and learning every aspect of what’s growing in the JavaScript field, as well as the new areas of Order Management can be taxing. Every day is a school day.

Away from work, what have been your biggest achievements?

A few years ago, I painted a local pub sign with a Royal Standard and it was a great achievement. I now get a free pint whenever I visit. Also, we have a tomato growing competition at work that I’ve won twice!

Do you have a motto you live your life by?

It’s better to regret something you have done, then to regret something you haven’t.

If you could pick one piece of advice to pass on – what would it be?

Dance like no one’s watching!