Although Chris Cooke was always pretty good at rugby (being in his words “f***ing massive”) he was much more comfortable hanging out with computers than jocks. After growing up watching his dad work far too hard, he decided he wanted to have his own business and do things differently.
Chris founded three successful startups in Thailand: one was a Scuba Diving School/ Eco-Tourism company dedicated to saving turtles. Once he’d saved enough turtles, he moved back to the UK to pursue his dreams in software.
It was while working for the Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner Clearvision that Chris met Jacek. The two decided there was a gap in the market for easier-to-use Atlassian tools for Jira and Confluence users who don’t have a clue how to code (of which there are many).
“If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”
Tom Harris worked really hard on a five-year engineering degree before deciding he wasn’t interested in engineering (oops). To make his university experience more palatable, he took to the skies for the Royal Air Force as a flight instructor.
Driven to pick an alternative career, Tom scored his first role as a consultant at the Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, Adaptavist. While there, he learned all about ScriptRunner, and Automation for Jira, inspiring him to want to build more apps with simpler interfaces that everyone can use.
On meeting Chris and Jacek, Tom’s desire to become a product manager fit in nicely with their startup plans. Tom delights in being the conduit between the customers and the developers. He’s the one who translates customer experience into designs and helps the developers understand why we’re building things.
“But that doesn’t make any sense.”
Jacek Debiec is one of those entrepreneurial types who tends to see rules and limitations the way a bull sees a red cape. Determined to have his own business since he could say ‘business’, Jacek started an airport pickup service at university and later a coffee company importing coffee from Vietnam to Poland. This was in between working for Google, Clearvision, and the gaming industry.
However, these were employed roles that weren’t doing much to feed his entrepreneurial spirit. While working for Clearvision, Jacek gravitated towards Chris because of kindred energies and matching ambitions. He wanted to be the person who could help big enterprises extract more value from their apps, and convince all their stakeholders of the same. As a result, he ensures alignment of our products and our customers’ processes.
In his spare time, Jacek is a keen surfer who once had to wrestle a giant, man-eating crab off his board.*
*Fact check: the crab was only a little bit larger than usual, pinching Jacek’s little finger doesn’t mean it ate people, and flicking it off his board probably isn’t ‘wrestling’.
“No one cares about your sales pitch if you can’t solve their problem.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jamale Harris started out as a business account manager for AT&T and worked with some impressive names he now likes to drop regularly: Viacom, HBO, Thomson & Reuters, New York Yankees, Bank of America, etc.
After five years with AT&T, he decided to follow in his family’s footsteps and join the United States Army. He garnered commendations, medals and ultimately an honorable discharge once his obligations were fulfilled. He also completed a deployment in Poland and, after leaving the army, decided he rather liked it there and moved back.
He met Old Street’s other Harris for dinner and Tom was so impressed that he offered Jamale a job during the main course. Jamale was drawn to the fact that Old Street’s products are targeted at less technical people using Jira, who’ve traditionally been sidelined (despite making up the majority of its users).
Jamale also rollerskates and DJs — not necessarily at the same time, although that would be super-fun.
“I wasn’t moving knowing I was destined for more.”
Christopher Berry started out in the courtroom, badgering witnesses and shouting “Objection!”. Eventually he decided to turn his back on the law (as in, leave the legal profession, not become a gun-slinging vigilante) and take up copywriting.
He’s since garnered extensive experience writing for technology companies, including several Atlassian partners. He specializes in translating complicated tech specs, concepts and jargon into engaging, benefits-driven copy for casual readers. This is what drew him to Old Street Solutions, because Old Street targets its products at the average Jira user, demonstrating how much is achievable without inputting a single code or algorithm.
Christopher writes conspiracy thrillers with sci-fi / fantasy lashings and his first book, Million Eyes, was published in 2020 to rave reviews. When he’s not beavering away at his computer, you can usually find him down the pub, up a mountain, in Disneyland or on his sofa watching something timey-wimey. (That’s a Doctor Who reference for the uninitiated.)
“People don’t care if software has great ‘this’ or brilliant ‘that’, but what this and that can do for them.”
Having spent eons working with Atlassian tools that can be an absolute pain in the butt to use and support, discovering Custom Charts for Jira made Morgan Folsom do a happy dance.
It was immediately obvious to Morgan that Custom Charts would be a hit with her clients. In fact, after her very first demo, she implemented it with one straight away. So, when the opportunity arose to contribute to Custom Charts and work with the passionate team behind it, she launched herself at it like a person-shaped torpedo.
Morgan is both a dog person and a cat person, loving in equal parts long walks and lounging around. When it rains you’ll find her out in it (born and raised in Seattle, go figure). Otherwise she can normally be found in any given town’s cutest coffee shop.