Pretty Brilliant People | Emma

Our Pretty Brilliant Team features our CEO, Emma Blaylock. We interviewed her to gain insights into what it’s like to lead a software company in the iGaming industry, to learn more about current projects and to understand how flexible working plays a pivotal role to the company’s success.

As the CEO, what are you currently most curious about in the tech industry as it relates to iGaming, and how do you see it shaping the future of Pretty Technical? 
Great question and a hard one to give a short answer to! I’m particularly enthusiastic about three key technological advancements and their potential applications in iGaming namely: 

1. AI and ML  – While AI is a buzzword across the industry, for me I’m really interested in the specific scenarios where AI can really add demonstrable value, such as using AI in understanding player behaviour to create a more compelling and personalised experience, or applying it to enhance player protection by spotting markers of harm before behaviour becomes a problem. On top of this using explainable AI to demonstrate why decisions were made in a traceable and transparent audit trail so we can improve models and training data is really interesting. At Pretty Technical, we are constantly exploring ways to incorporate AI into our products such as our PAM to provide improved real-time insights from the wealth of transactional and player data that sits at the heart of an iGaming operation. 

2. Live content – Exploring how the mix of live and virtual game play can enhance or create an entirely different gameplay experiences is really interesting as well as the technology needed to support this experience in a way that is seamless for the player.  We have embarked on a project recently with a client which focuses precisely on this idea and I can’t wait to see the finished experience.   

3. AR and VR – Although still in its early stages, the potential of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to revolutionise the player experience is undeniable. These immersive technologies have the power to transport players into captivating virtual worlds, elevating gameplay and social interactions to new heights. I’m excited to explore innovative ways to integrate these technologies into our products to enhance player engagement and enjoyment.

How do you foster a culture of creativity, innovation and diversity within the company, and what initiatives have you found to be most effective? 
This is a great question. At Pretty Technical one of our four core values is to be “dynamic working at pace with curiosity and creativity”.  It’s really important to us that we encourage creativity and innovation throughout all levels of the company in all we do whether that is around specific products we are developing or in the ways we work. To support this we have an open door policy – anyone can raise an idea at any time to anyone else for feedback, we run collaborative brainstorming sessions and retrospectives internally and with our partners and clients, we measure and recognise innovation and creativity through recognition and rewards such as for example peer-voted employee of the month/informal shout-outs and more formalised 360 performance review feedback. 

At Pretty Technical, we promote and have established a diverse and inclusive workforce to bring a variety of different perspectives to the work we do. Half of our senior team are women, and as a remote-first organisation, we hire globally, bringing a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and experiences to the table.

What aspects of the flexible working environment do you find most beneficial for yourself as CEO and the company’s overall productivity? 
Pretty Technical was designed from the beginning to be a remote-first business (before Covid!) with all the support structures and processes in place to support this. However, this doesn’t mean we never see each other in person!  Self-forming groups often arrange to meet up whether that is for work collaboration or to have fun and get to know each other better! The important part here is that the team are empowered to determine what works best for them. 

This is also true with our working hours. As long as we are clearly meeting all our client needs and have the opportunities to effectively collaborate as a team in core hours, employees can work as is best for them.   

Our ways of working are built upon a solid foundation of trust – we are all adults here and treated as such to be able to make our own decisions, and ultimately this flexibility improves our productivity. 

Which current projects at Pretty Technical are you most passionate about, and why do they excite you?
Oh wow, it’s hard to pick one! I’m really excited about all the projects we do and the level at which our team consistently is able to deliver. What I will do instead, is describe a recent project that I’m excited and proud about. 

We are currently delivering a customised instance of our iGaming platform, Mikado, to a fantastic client in the UK market. Our PAM is designed from the ground-up with modern technology best practices to be a framework or chassis on which the client can create a bespoke platform that meets all their needs and is unique to them. We’ve seen this truly come to life with this UK iGaming client and I cannot wait to see this launch early this summer as our first UKGC ready instance of the platform.  Both our team and the client’s team have worked together as one and the result has been a compelling market offering that is on track to being delivered on time and budget.  

How have your previous professional experiences equipped you to lead Pretty Technical, and what specific skills or insights do you believe have been most valuable?
I started my career out as a Java Software Developer at Deloitte building web 1.0 applications and back-end systems predominantly for clients in the media and entertainment industry in both the UK and US through the dot com boom and bust! I feel this not only gave me the experience of firstly being part of and subsequently leading technical teams and designing technical architectures, but also a solid foundation of tackling large, complex projects for clients in frequently changing environments before agile was well known.   

After doing an MBA in the states as I’d decided I wanted to move into a business focused role for tech companies. I worked in Corporate Development and M&A for Sony in New York, looking at investment and partnership opportunities with tech start-ups across Sony’s media and tech portfolio. This gave me a flavour of working with small, entrepreneurial businesses that were looking to change the world with their products and ultimately after a few years I jumped over to the start-up world to create an e-reading experience before Kindle had hit the market. That business sold to News Corp, and I moved over to Amazon in the UK to launch Kindle in the UK market and subsequently a suite of European markets. Again, a very entrepreneurial experience understanding what can make or break a product in its launch- but this time with the incredible brand and wealth of customer data that Amazon has amassed – another unique experience. 

Finally, right before Pretty Technical, I joined Rokker as a Senior Consultant which allowed me to apply the experiences I had gained from the tech and media industries to the iGaming industry.  It was this first taste of real-money gaming that meant when I was offered the chance to lead Pretty Technical as CEO, I jumped at it and have never looked back. It is this mix of hand-on software development, tech team leadership and entrepreneurial business experience of successfully launching products I think is most valuable in my role today. 

If you’d like to work with Emma and our team why not take a look at our Careers page and send an email to [email protected]. If you’d like to find out more about Pretty Technical products and services please use our Contact Form.

Emma | CEO