Talking Heads: Jays Shortt, Landbay

FStech catches up with Jays Shortt, the head of product development at online peer-to-peer mortgage lender Landbay

FStech: How did you get into the sector?
Jays Shortt: I’ve been working in financial services and payments for almost nine years now. I’ve had very broad experiences to date, spanning everything from digital marketing, software engineering and product development. I’ve been lucky enough to count AVIVA, IG Index and VISA as clients of mine. I also had a fantastic experience working for IBM on financial services projects, but Landbay is by far the most innovative and visionary company I have worked for thus far. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
The teams of developers I’ve worked with over the years have been the greatest influencing force in my career. It’s incredibly motivating and inspiring to work amongst people whose job it is, day in day out, to break down complex problems, bring their creativity to technical solutions and focus only on what’s valuable. They’re a lesson to us all.

Who in the sector inspires you and why?
I’ll have to get back to you on that. I’ve seen a few exciting developments but nothing astounding yet. I guess it will get interesting when the crowdfunding and P2P lending ecosystems develop, the big players start to publish APIs, and a new breed of players can emerge to allow customers to invest across all the various platforms from one place.

Is there anything that you dislike or that frustrates you about the sector?
I think regulation may take out some of the fun of working in the sector, but it will really depend how each business manages their own compliance processes. Some will find their organisations becoming siloed as a side-effect of the governance structures that regulation often demands. This tends to be a death knell to innovation and usually heralds the steady decline and fall of morale, if not the business.

What technology can’t you live without?
I don’t think I could live without Wunderlist. It’s pretty much my memory in an app. I use it for work and in my everyday life. To stay effective, I rely on tools like Wunderlist to keep me organised. The other tool I love is ProductPlan. It’s the perfect roadmap planning tool. It intentionally limits the number of features it offers users. By doing so it encourages people to value the process of roadmap planning above the tool itself. Too many people use roadmaps as if they were some kind of a project management plan.

How do you relax?
Holidays! I live for them. We follow the ‘scrum methodology’ at Landbay and the sprints can seem relentless at times. The feeling of delivering quality products at velocity is hugely rewarding, but it’s important to take a step back occasionally and just reboot.

What was your last banking experience both online and on the High Street, and were they positive experiences?
Even though, in my opinion, Barclays is the champion of good product design amongst the big High Street banks, I have been impressed by the improvements that Lloyds has been making to their mobile banking app. The fact that they now use the mobile device itself as one part of their two-factor authentication pattern makes perfect sense, and certainly improves the user experience.

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