At Technology from Sage our purpose is to support libraries in advancing teaching, learning and research. We can’t achieve this mission without the work of the talented team at Technology from Sage, so we’ve launched a series of posts for you to find out more about the team.
In this Meet the Team post, we’re joined by Matt Hayes, Managing Director at Technology from Sage. Read on to find out more about Matt – including what excites him most about working at Technology from Sage, the success of Lean Library Futures at BETT 2022 and what separates Technology from Sage from other companies.
1. Tell us about joining Technology from Sage and your experience beforehand:
I first joined Technology from Sage in 2020 as Managing Director of Lean Library. I came from Clarivate where I had been Director of Publons, the peer review platform, helping to lead Publons through its post-acquisition growth period. I loved my time at Publons, working with some amazing people and scaling reviewer recognition globally. A personal highlight was standing up a rapid Covid-19 preprint screening platform at the beginning of the pandemic, where we were able to mobilise the Publons reviewer community to rapidly screen emerging Covid research. The Lean Library opportunity came later that year and at just the right time, as we had just finished a 2-year growth acceleration period and had completed integrating the team into the core Clarivate business. I really admired the vision of Lean Library’s original founders, to bring the library into user workflows, and was excited at the potential to build out its promise, differentiating it from a generation of access broker tools into a more comprehensive solution for libraries.
2. Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Technology from Sage?
My role expanded to Managing Director of Technology from Sage in early 2022, taking on responsibility for the Talis and Sciwheel businesses in addition to Lean Library. In my role as MD, I am ultimately responsible and accountable for all aspects of our strategy, long-term planning and day-to-day operations. I am lucky enough to have an amazing leadership team to support me in this, with talented directors for each of our key functions – from Technology to Sales.
3. What excites you most about your work at Technology from Sage?
I think it’s the challenge of being a minnow in a sea of whales! Having worked for the larger players like Clarivate and Springer Nature before, I am hyper aware of the scale and resources that these companies can bring to bear in our space. So my focus is often on what we can do that they can’t or won’t. This is where our ownership by Sage is so impactful. Their independent structure, not beholden to shareholders or short-term market changes, enables us to take a long-term view as a business. So our product strategy is able to really look ahead to where libraries might go in 5, 10 years’ time, and how our products can support them along the way. This is really exciting for me, as I love the new ideas and challenges this approach brings about. It means that we’re constantly looking to innovate, and that we can take risks.
4. How have you been putting Technology from Sage’s strategy and values into action?
I’m going to go with one of our internal values: ‘One Team’. We put this in place late last year as we started to bring each of the three businesses (Talis, Lean Library and Sciwheel) that make up Technology from Sage closer together. It’s really about saying that although we are a bunch of brilliantly different people, all with different histories and experiences, we are a single team. A team that supports each other, that achieves great things and has fun while doing it. That’s the kind of environment I personally always want to work in, and one I consider it my responsibility to help create. Playing my part in cultivating a happy team, that works well together, that can learn and progress, is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.
5. What’s the best day you’ve ever had at work? Is there a particular project or milestone you are proud of?
I think winning a BETT Award for Lean Library Futures last year. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work during the pandemic, and everyone involved put so much passion into achieving something we felt was truly ground-breaking. So it was awesome to have that recognised at BETT.
6. What three things are always on your desk?
A takeaway coffee from Gail’s, my fancy new ergonomic mouse (writing up my PhD thesis has recently given me carpal tunnel!), and a huge bottle of water.
7. What’s the best book you’ve read recently and why?
Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s so incredibly beautiful – please read it!
8. Is there a quote or mantra that you live by? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
My hero has always been Bobby Kennedy and I love his Ripples of Hope speech: ‘Whenever someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope – which crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring can build a current to sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’ I remember first hearing it in my mid-twenties and this, and many other RFK speeches, have quite literally directed my career and life. He inspired me to do my PhD in citizenship education and is always a reminder to focus on the impact my work has. In terms of the best advice I’ve ever received, I love aphorisms and a party trick is my obsession with memorising speeches and quotes, so there’s probably too many to select just one, but this popped into my head now: ‘Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright it’s not the end.’
9. It’s your day off. What do you have planned?
A long walk on Hampstead Heath with my wife and daughters, followed by lunch at the pub.
10. If you didn’t work at Technology from Sage or in your current role, what would you want to do?
I’ve considered the NGO sector before and once had a dream to join UNESCO, so maybe something there or in K-12 education. I think whatever I did though it would still be in this broad knowledge sector we’re in. I love the intellectual challenge of business, the personal impact I can have leading people, and the societal benefits of sector I’m a part of. ‘Be kind, be useful’, basically. 😊