9:00 PM 14th November 2019
'10 in 10' Jonathan Marsden
Jonathan Marsden, co-founder and CEO of Leeds based The Technology Group is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as The Yorkshire Times gives him just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.
What does a typical working day for you involve?
Most days I will have meetings with various members of the management team to review progress on internal projects, performance and strategy. I’ll also try to meet with customers and suppliers a few times a week to make sure that I stay close to everything that is happening in our business and the industry.
One strand of our strategy is to grow via acquisitions, and I meet with our Acquisition Director and CFO to appraise potential businesses and look at funding targets.
What makes your company special?
There are three things that make The Technology Group special. Firstly, as a fast-growing business, we have maintained a really high level of attention to detail in everything that we do. This includes how we work with our clients, how we plan projects and execute our own strategy.
We are also strong believers in corporate social responsibility, giving back to the community and helping Leeds to thrive and develop. For example, we buy our coffee direct from Malawian farmers and have our toilets twinned with the African latrines that we paid for. Closer to home we support The Jane Tomlinson Appeal and Mencap with free telephony so that more of their funds go towards good projects.
We also have a passionate team. We attract people who specifically want to join a fast growth business and put in hard work to make their impact. This means we are a force to be reckoned with in our industry.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
Lead by example, earn respect and knowledge is power. Never let your ego get ahead of yourself even when you are on top of your game, there’s always someone second in line, waiting for you to make a mistake. I’m a big believer in the whole marginal gains approach whereby you consistently look to make small improvements a habit, as all the 1%s add up.
Do you dress up or down for work?
In the tech sector, smart casual is widely expected. So, while I don’t wear a suit or tie every day, I still look professional.
We run dress down Friday in the office as we think it’s a nice way to allow our team to relax further at the end of the week.
What piece of advice would you give your 18-year old self?
Don’t take advice from people who have never done what you are trying to do or take things to heart that come from those who have not dreamed or dared to think differently themselves. Have patience, confidence and conviction in what you believe. Quoting the late Steve Jobs “It’s usually those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that actually do.”
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
The Mansion in Roundhay Park is a beautiful and timeless location to host events. We’ve done quite a few events there with Dine, the company that own the venue, including our Summer BBQ on their terrace overlooking Roundhay Park with the sun setting. It has one of the best views in Leeds.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
The train is a preference for any travel further than a few hours as it’s just such a productive way to spend the time. I really value time and see the cost of being behind a steering wheel instead of working.
On the usual commute I have a hybrid car, which helps to keep down my carbon footprint when I do drive. I’ve only filled up with petrol three times since I first got the car in February.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
I went to school in Harrogate, whilst living in Leeds my whole life. I have a deep affinity to the place and love spending time in Valley Gardens with my young twins. I think a close second is walking some of the Yorkshire three peaks, particularly the walk up Whernside, past the bridge from Harry Potter.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?
Ok, so don’t judge me, I love good food and Yorkshire has some of the best eateries in the world. But my dirty little secret is probably my favourite place to eat is also the cheapest: chips and curry sauce with a battered sausage from one of the vans at Elland Road before going to watch the football. I don’t think it gets any better than that.
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?
It’s a cliché, but the main one is the people. I have had the fortune to have travelled quite a lot in my twenties, and my present career takes me all over the UK. One of the biggest things I notice when I’m away is that nowhere is as naturally friendly, helpful and warm as the people brought up in our communities here in Yorkshire.