A behind-the-scenes look at the people who make us great.
Welcome to the latest edition of the Cogent Crew series, where we invite you to get to know the people who make Cogent what it is.
This month Amelia chats to Scott, one of our Product Leads. Scott tells us about his daily 2.5 hour cycle to work, his idyllic weekends spent at home in Macedon and how product management has changed over the last 20 years.
Name: Scott Rogers
Job: Product Lead
Time at Cogent: 6 years
Amelia: How long have you been at Cogent?
Scott: I’ve been at Cogent almost six years. So it’s been a long time.
Amelia: That’s a long time. Is that the longest time you’ve ever been in a workplace?
Scott: It is, and I’m also enjoying myself, which is good. When I started I came from a full time job and started working here three days a week. I did that for five years almost and then moved up to four days a week for a little while, and finally now five days a week.
Amelia: How many people were at Cogent when you first started?
Scott: When I started there were less than 15, I’m sure of it.
Scott: Because we’re a consulting business, most of those people were out at client sites and I was mostly in the office. Sometimes there were only 2 or 3 people in the office all day. So now it’s very different, there’s just people everywhere, we’ve got nearly 50 people.
Amelia: How many offices have you been through?
Scott: I think it’s around six. We’ve moved a lot as we’ve grown, this is by far the best office.
Amelia: So, talk me through what a day at Cogent looks like. What’s a typical day for you?
Scott: It starts very early. I get up quite early to cycle to work and it takes me about two and half hours to ride. I try and do that three to five times a week.
Amelia: It takes that long because you live in Macedon.
Scott: I do. Yeah.
Amelia: You’re not just a slow bike rider.
Scott: I’m not just a slow bike rider. I like that I can build exercise into my commute and I enjoy it. I didn’t ride so much in winter last year because it gets very cold in Macedon and I just get over it. But it’s autumn at the moment and I’m enjoying riding which is great. I get to work, have a quick shower, have a second breakfast and sit down at my desk and start my day. Which normally involves having a standup with the teams that I’m working with to figure out where we’re at with the work that we’re doing and what we plan to do during that day.
Scott: I’m a Product Manager and so a lot of my time is spent making sure that the thing that we’re building meets the intent of what we’re setting out to achieve. Making sure that we’re working on solving our problems and that everything aligns with the goals that we’ve set out for the project and for the customers. We work pretty closely with designers and developers on my teams and make sure that we’re producing awesome products, that people are going to enjoy using and that hopefully make a difference for the businesses that our customers are trying to build.
Amelia: Great. How did you get into what you do? Have you always wanted to be doing this?
Scott: Well I’ve been doing it for so long, that’s why I like it which is weird. I’ve been in product management for 20 years but I didn’t really know what product management was when I got my first job in the area. I came out of University having done a Bachelor of Business Marketing. I was actually only doing that degree because I initially wanted to be a designer but I had this idea that getting into a design course at Uni was really hard. So a friend of mine said “hey, why don’t you try marketing, that’s creative.”
So I did that, got that degree and did that for a few years and then got a job in the product management world.
Amelia: Not many people had a product management job 20 years ago. You’re one of the first.
Scott: Very few, yeah. That’s why I’m lucky. The company I worked for was an American company and they had a fairly long history in product management in manufacturing and so I learnt from them. Product management’s very different today than it was back then. Everything has changed, thankfully.
Amelia: If you could be one other thing professionally what would it be?
Scott: I have always wanted to be a bike courier.
Amelia: Okay, it sounds like you just want to ride bikes!
Scott: I always want to be riding bikes! So, if money wasn’t all that important I would have at least tried my hand at being a bike courier at some point. I’ve wanted to do that since I was at Uni, its a long term unfulfilled desire.
Amelia: What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?
Scott: I’m working on Chargefox which is one of Cogent’s Investment Ventures. I’m getting to work with Marty, who is actually a Co-Founder of Cogent, and in my six years here this is the first time I’ve actually worked closely with him.
Amelia: Oh, wow.
Scott: Yeah, it’s great. There’s a few other Cogent people who are in the Chargefox team now. It’s a great brand and a new project that I can work on that is really making a difference for Cogent and our people, and our customers and drivers of electric vehicles.
Amelia: What’s been your favourite project so far in the six years?
Scott: We did some work last year for Save the Children. That would have to rate as one of the best projects I’ve worked on. The people that we were working with from Save the Children were just great, really nice, awesome, considerate people. The software that we were orienting our work around was going to make a real difference to the way they deliver their programmes. So, that was quite satisfying. The feeling that you’re making a real tangible difference to the people that you’re working directly with.
Amelia: Yeah, great. What’s your favourite thing about working with Cogent?
Scott: The CEO is also a cyclist, so, we get to do cool cycling related stuff. Just joking. My favourite thing about working at Cogent, is the people. Everybody is super nice, pleasant and great company. There’s no weird hidden agendas or anything. Everybody brings themselves to work so that means we can work really well together and enjoy working together. So the people are my favourite thing about Cogent, I think they make all the difference. They make walking into the office everyday pleasant. It doesn’t matter what work is going on, because all projects go through tough patches. Those tough patches don’t really affect you as much when the people you’re working with are all great and seeking to learn and improve the way you do things.
Amelia: Yeah. That’s very true. What’s your favourite thing to do on the weekend?
Scott: Spending time with my family. I have three kids and a wife and we live in Macedon. We only moved up there a year and a bit ago so, spending time at the property. We’re building out a permaculture property which means we’re spending time on the land and improving the land and making it productive. Growing fruit and veggies and all that kind of stuff is a big part of our weekends, as well as just exploring the local area. We’ve actually got a bit of a Macedon community here at Cogent which is great. So that’s what I want to do on my weekends, connect with the land.
Amelia: What’s the best place you’ve ever been? That’s a really hard question.
Scott: It is! A couple of years ago I went snowboarding in Japan, at Nozawa Onsen. It’s a fairly small village and they have natural hot baths, including some really, really hot ones. Being in a traditional, local Onsen bath house was pretty awesome, especially when it’s like -10 outside and snowing and you’re inside being able to stay in the water because it’s so hot with a bunch of other Japanese men and women who, almost meditatively, can sit there for ages.
Amelia: Really? I’d definitely faint.
Scott: Oh, you get close to it. You sweat while sitting in there.
Amelia: Sounds great. If you had a private chef for a night, what would you get them to make you?
Scott: Do you know the cookbook “Community”?
Amelia: By Hetty McKinnon?
Scott: Yeah, can she come and make salads and meals? If there was just a spread of salads from “Community” that would be awesome, I love their salads. We were fishing a couple of weeks ago, me for the very first time, and we caught a fish which was awesome. So if somebody could combine those salads with some fresh fish just caught, that’d be nice.
Amelia: That sounds great. I’m coming. You’re inviting me.
Amelia: What’s the best advice anyone’s given you?
Scott: It would have to be don’t sweat the small stuff.
Scott: It is, it is, but it’s true. I’ve just found it so valuable not to be sweating the small stuff. Know where the important things lie and just keep focused on those.
Amelia: Very good. Thank you Scott.
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