interview with flaunt digital’s cto, jamie shields

With years of experience under his belt, Jamie Shields tackles anything technical that is thrown at him whilst growing a killer digital agency with his friends. We sat down with Flaunt Digital’s CTO, Jamie Shields, to chat more about what the agency has achieved and how he got to where he is today…  

Having gained a wealth of experience and an understanding of what worked well (and what didn’t) when working in an agency, digital experts Jamie and Lee Fuller, our CEO decided to go at it alone… and that’s when Flaunt began. Starting with the mind set that they could build a business better than other digital agencies, putting a real focus on the people they were employing, the duo strived to grow a business they still love to this day. 

Loving having a hands-on approach when it comes to the business, CTO Jamie loves his product-building role, alongside being in charge of everything technical that’s produced by the business. Working across all teams, including Dev, SEO and PR, if there is anything technical ever needed for a project, Jamie is the guy to sort it. Even though he isn’t a whizz with the WiFi 👀, Jamie gets involved wherever he is needed. 

Starting up a digital agency was never going to be easy, but the whole process was made a little easier with his mates by his side. Having founded Flaunt Digital with long-time friend Lee Fuller, the pair were shortly followed by Chris Hodgson and Chris Ayres, adding even more valuable expertise and opinions to the business. After putting such a lot of trust in each other, always agreeing on big decisions and going through so much together over the years, Jamie believes setting up a business has brought the senior leadership team closer together – though this may have differed if the venture wasn’t successful 😂. 

From a Small Back-Alley Job To Starting His Own Business

After graduating from Manchester University in 2009, Jamie went on to get a job for a small software company, alongside an abundance of freelance jobs on the go, where he spent the next two years of his career. Prior to stepping on the career ladder, Jamie has had technical side hustles since he was 14 years old building websites for family and friends. Finally making the move back to Leeds, he spent the next three and a half years working at a marketing agency before beginning to build Uprise. Uprise was a content marketing tool, but Jamie and Lee quickly realised that competitors had much more funding so it was hard to compete in the industry. Seeing a gap in the digital marketing industry they decided to start Flaunt Digital.

Now for the good stuff – Jamie’s dream project and client. The technical team, headed up by Jamie, has already completed some awesome projects for Flaunt, including Sphere and even working with legend Jamie Peacock at Leeds Rhinos. It’s no surprise that Jamie’s goal is to work with more sports teams, especially Leeds United. As a huge sports fan and football aficionado, the idea of bringing on more sport and fitness clients would be a dream come true. 

It’s always hard to find clients that completely understand what we do, especially when it comes to dev and all things coding, but Jamie has a love for clients who are enthusiastic about learning more when it comes to our agency. A client who has great hospitality, is reactive and receptive to the work we put in to help grow their business is a dream client! 

When we asked ‘where does Jamie see Flaunt Digital in the future, he ermm’d and ahh’d at first, given the current climate and no one really knowing what the future holds, to him giving the same answer as Chris… Leeds🙄. Jamie went on to say that he sees Flaunt Digital continuing to grow, develop, expand its current client base and to stay in this new state-of-the-art office space. 

Flaunt Digital’s In-House Tool – Sphere

Working alongside the team at Flaunt, Jamie has helped to develop a tool which was born out of the ongoing battle with Google Analytics and its products. With GA360 costing an arm and a leg – it is almost impossible to replicate it. The team niched down the technical aspects down to create Sphere so it works by reporting back marketing spend and helping filter out results for SEO and paid campaigns. Launching soon to clients, it’s currently undergoing lots of tests, continuing to improve and develop – watch this space! 

Jamie’s Top Tips For Working At A Digital Agency 

From starting up his own agency to having a wealth of experience when it comes to development, Jamie is your go-to guy when it comes to top tips for building your own career. Having a passion for how things work and truly believing in yourself, are just the start to getting yourself on the career ladder. 

What top tips would Jamie give someone looking to get into Development? If you’re looking to get into dev, then you need to be interested in a really small part of it. Having a solid understanding of how a small part works and operates to then build around it, makes a truly awesome dev! You can teach yourself development, however without a degree you may miss the basic knowledge and the foundations are key to making it work. Get a niche within the development world and work back from it – you want to have a true passion for one specific problem. 

What advice would Jamie give someone looking to work in a digital agency? Digital agencies host lots of opportunities, are really reactive and are usually a young working environment *other than Ayreys*. With technology always developing and changing, and the younger generation striving to work in receptive and creative spaces, digital agencies are really starting to take off and become known for being exciting places to work. You need to be fearless, ambitious and, of course, have a creative flair when looking to work in the agency environment.  

So now for the nitty gritty… who’s top of the Flaunt table tennis league? 

Definitely me (not Chris), actually no I take that back… I would say it is pretty even between me, Lee and Chris. Between you and me (don’t tell them!) Chris and Lee are probably slightly better.

I haven’t played with the new layout at the new office, but it needs rotating *aka already making excuses for his poor game*.

Confusing a Dev With Five Keywords

In our ‘5 keywords with’ section, we ask our brave interviewee to answer our quick-fire questions with just one word. Sounds simple? Let’s go! 

  • What makes a great digital agency?

Ambition 

  • Why is dev important to an agency?

Implementation

  • What is the best way to measure success? 

Happiness

  • What matters to you most?

Success

  • And in one word, where do you see Flaunt in 5 years time? 

Together 

Meet The Rest Of The Team

We’ll be sharing stories from many of Flaunt Digital’s beloved colleagues. Keep an eye out on our company blog or follow us on Instagram for some behind-the-scenes sneak peeks.