Naimuri is a Salford-based software development and data intelligence company.
In 2020, the tech business was acquired by defense technology firm QinetiQ in a deal worth £25m.
Naimuri, which is on a mission to make the UK a ‘safer and better place to live’, works in partnership with government and law enforcement agencies on some of the toughest data and technology issues .
Richard Fallon, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Naimuri, shares the lessons he learned…
What habit or daily practice could you not live without?
I am 100% a creature of routine and habit – my whole day is full of many routines. I like to have an hour to myself before the family wakes up (even though I have trouble getting up early), to focus on work/life priorities and set goals. I appreciate this quiet time to plan and look ahead.
I have always exercised and as I get older I need to do yoga to compensate for the exercise. So every morning I do some form of exercise; running, horseback riding, calisthenics but now I always follow that up with yoga. It really helped me with my flexibility and I got a bit addicted to it. I practice handstand regularly and I am slowly improving.
I read every night.
When it comes to food, I always start the day with porridge (planning to take part in the world porridge making championship as I’m pretty good at it), always a salad for lunch, always followed by a mix of nuts and dark chocolate. You start to get the idea. I have been practicing the piano every day since confinement and the habit has remained. The problem is that I rarely quit habits – so when everyone got into sourdough baking during lockdown – well I still do. I’d like to think I could do without the countless cafes, but maybe that’s my downfall.
What was your luckiest break?
I’ve said it a million times but I don’t believe luck exists. There’s a famous phrase about “the harder you work, the luckier you get”, but I think there’s an element of creating your own luck and making the most of the opportunities that come your way. . Luck can come in the form of opportunity, and your choices that you make determine what happens next.
What is your best failure?
I would say it was the first company I created. That was in the early 2000s (when I was more into wearing sneakers to work than anything!) and we never really made a dime from it.
We sold the company (for a pittance) to another company, which bought us out of the administration. The hardware alone was worth more than what we made! The lessons learned during that time have stayed with me and influenced what we have built here in Naimuri.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made, money or time?
The success of Naimuri meant I was lucky enough to have a place to get away from it all in the Lake District. We have access to water and hills and we spend time with the kids walking and horseback riding, which is so important to me.
What book would you recommend others read and why?
I think it depends on the audience, so I have a few varied choices.
- “Think Fast, Think Slow” is a book by the great psychologist Daniel Kahneman. It’s full of interesting, evidence-backed facts about how the mind works and how humans make decisions. He talks about the “Halo Effect” and the impact of decision-making in recruitment, which I talk about a lot and which influenced my decision to move forward when meeting and recruiting talent. The whole book is jam-packed with fascinating facts and a real learning curve.
- “Hard of Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. It’s about making decisions in running a business, but it’s not your usual airport management self-help book. It’s a true-life story about what he actually did to solve problems as they arose. Not theme-driven like so many self-help books are.
- “Blockchain and the New Trust Architecture” by Kevin Werbach is quite an amazing read. He talks about Blockchain and web3 and describes the ecosystem, without any hype and he shares a really cohesive description of a very confusing space.
- Sapiens – because the author explains everything you thought you knew about life in a slightly different narrative. It’s incredible.
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
In my early twenties (and early thirties), I thought everyone had the answers and knew what they were doing. I was always waiting for someone to hand me something on a plate or give me an answer to a question. This does not happen. I learned as I got older that we all invent as we go (some better than others!) and not to worry too much about what other people say or do. I am satisfied with the way life has gone and the lessons I have learned.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your professional life?
I am thinking of Kent Beck, author of the book “Extreme Programming”. It came out in the 90s and was about how to lead small teams to create value quickly. Someone printed a copy of the first chapter at work and put it on my desk and I read it on the bus on the way home, went to buy the book and it has influenced me ever since.
At this point in my life I had no idea what was right or wrong in the world of software delivery projects, I didn’t know what Waterfall was, but I just knew that the approach specified in the book made a lot of sense to me. Really, I went to apply it to everything in life: like breaking down big problems into smaller, more understandable problems, working openly with others, people on process.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
I have no surprises.
How will the COVID crisis change for the better?
We have always had a great culture here at Naimuri and have offered flexible working and supported our employees with their personal and family commitments. The pandemic has created more opportunities for varied work and given our teams a better work/life balance to start early or finish later or take time out of the day for personal commitments etc.
We must continually evolve what we do and how we support our people to continue to create an open and inclusive environment, wherever people choose to work.
What does success look like to you?
Naimuri is a great definition of success and what we have achieved is incredible.
We have a fantastic pipeline of work, but that’s not enough for our success, and as we continue to grow, we need to make sure that the special ingredients around our culture and environment (which make us so unique and different ) continue to evolve, so that we can continue to grow and not lose sight of who we are, from within.