AGP Ep 18: Sarah Smith—Leading from the front, coding games and building high performing teams

by | Jan 31, 2017

Sarah Smith is the Founder and lead software engineer for Smithsoft, who make educational games for young people. She also Founded the Brisbane chapter of Women Who Code. We talk about her leadership and entrepreneurial journey, her achievements and challenges.

Listen

What did you think?

Thumbs up
Thumbs down
Close podcast feedback section

Spread the love!

Close show some love section

If you enjoyed the episode, you can help us by doing one or more of the following...

Subscribe via email

Give us feedback

Close feedback form section

Thank you for your honesty. How can we improve?

3 + 1 =

"The ability to work in tech is not something that comes with gender, it comes with experience, aptitude, determination, and intellect"—Sarah Smith
"Leading is about demonstrating by your actions that we are moving and it's up to you to come with us"—Sarah Smith
"Listen to your own intuition: not that you act on every impulse, but that you don't discount it"—Sarah Smith

Show notes

Credits

Topics/Transcript

Topics discussed

  • The resistance women can face in technical environments.
  • Transitioning from technical into leadership roles.
  • Leading staff from the front rather than commanding and controlling from the back.
  • Managing distributed teams.
  • Building capacity is more important than building product, at least initially.

Questions asked

  • 0:29 How do you think about yourself these days?
  • 2:19 Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Or a leader? Or a social entrepreneur? Or a software engineer?
  • 5:19 Can you tell us more about how you were drawn to IT?
  • 8:16 Did you find it was a really active resistance of your female presence? Or was it more subtle and cliquey?
  • 10:40 Do you think it’s changed over time? Do you think it’s easier for young women now?
  • 12:14 What do you think we need to do to change that unwelcoming attitude towards females in deeply technical environments?
  • 20:10 What drew you to leadership?
  • 23:55 What were some of the challenges you faced as you transitioned into leadership roles?
  • 26:15 So how do you motivate staff and partners other than by command and control approach?
  • 30:10 Tell us a bit more about you manage your distributed team?
  • 37:33 How do you manage your input vs the input of your customers?
  • 41:30 It is more important to build capability than product, at least initially. Tell us more about that?

Quotable

  • 9:04 “You look around and there is nobody like you, and everyone seems so much better at it, which is because of the stuff that are put in your hands at school”—Sarah Smith
  • 14:34 “The ability to work in tech is not something that comes with gender, it comes with experience, aptitude, determination, and intellect”—Sarah Smith
  • 23:38 “So much of leadership is influence, and so much of influence is communication”—Andrew Ramsden
  • 24:58 “Leading is about demonstrating by your actions that we are moving and it’s up to you to come with us”—Sarah Smith
  • 38:44 “As a leader, your team don’t have to worry about the stuff you have to worry about”—Sarah Smith
  • 46:26 “Listen to your own intuition: not that you act on every impulse, but that you don’t discount it”—Sarah Smith

How do your leadership skills stack up?

Take the 6 minute test
X