MyTopdogStatus by Stuart Whitfield
by Stuart Whitfield
Meet Stuart Whitfield, the CEO here at Erlang Solutions.
Stuart began working at Erlang Solutions in 2010 through a business partner of Francesco, the founder of the company. Before joining Erlang Solutions, he spent 20 years as a commercial lawyer and then as managing partner of a law firm. Stuart first joined the team as a part-time Commercial Director and then joined permanently as CEO in 2011.
What is the most exciting thing about working with Erlang and Elixir developers? I like working with curious, problem-solving people who are always questioning how things work and how they could be made better. These are characteristics shared by good Erlang and Elixir developers.
What is your greatest underdog achievement working at Erlang Solutions? Possibly my greatest ‘underdog’ achievement working at Erlang Solutions was working with the team to persuade Vocalink (now MasterCard Vocalink) to adopt at scale what was, at the time, seen as a fairly niche technology to create its new Immediate Payment Solution (“IPS”). IPS provides real-time bank-to-bank payments and is now live in Thailand, Singapore and New York with further deployments to come.
What is the biggest success (Top Dog) story you’ve seen on the BEAM? BEAM-based technologies are silently underpinning so many parts of modern technical infrastructures, it’s hard to pick one particular success story: whether it’s the global 4G and 5G mobile telephony and data infrastructure; WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion users; RabbitMQ’s 30,000+ deployments; or the extensive use of Erlang and Elixir in the adtech, gaming, messaging, social media, IoT and FinTech spaces, these technologies are enabling businesses to reach unprecedented numbers of customers reliably and with very little downtime.
What excites you about the future of Erlang and Elixir as programming languages? I’m less interested in their value as programming languages per se, more in the paradigm shift that the thinking behind them represents. By adopting this way of thinking about and designing systems, businesses can solve web-scale problems reliably and scalably using proven technologies and approaches. Businesses’ need for scale and resilience increases each year and Elixir and Erlang are able to meet these challenges.
Which industries do you think would most benefit from working with the BEAM? FinTech, although any industry needing systems that are resilient and can scale predictably (i.e. fault-tolerant and reliable) will benefit from the use of BEAM-based technologies and their ways of thinking.
What excites you about the future of Erlang Solutions? We’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of the addressable market for BEAM-based technologies. We’re seeing growing adoption in various FinTech businesses, particularly those disrupting existing markets and ways of working, and the rapid prototyping capabilities of Elixir and Erlang lend themselves well to taking new products to market quickly.
What is your favourite part of working at Erlang Solutions in general? The variety of our customer base; the geographical spread of our offices and people and the passion everyone has for working with our chosen technology.
Now let’s meet your dog, Lexi.
Where did you get the inspiration for the name? We had a litter of pups with her mum and kept her, as she was the cutest. I think one of our children named her. Why, I don’t know.
What breed is she? Yellow labrador. She’s 6 in September.
What is your favourite way to spend a day with Lexi? Walking in the woods then wild swimming amongst the ducks and lilypads.
Tell us one great story about you and your dog? Her two brothers live within 400m of our house, so we meet up with them regularly and each year on their birthday.
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