• Published by: Marcus Vitelli

The Flex Factor with... Seb

Introducing Seb Steele; self-proclaimed 'colossal nerd', John Boyd super fan and all-round product person.

Tell us what you do at Flexciton?

Hi, I'm Seb and I work at Flexciton. In my mind my role is to "try to be helpful", but we honestly couldn't think of a job title for that so we stuck with Product Manager.

My main responsibility is to work out what constraints stand between our customers and whatever their desired future states are, and to help our engineering and R&D teams to find the right solutions to those constraints.

In the last year or so, I've been most heavily involved in developing our Fab-Wide Scheduler. Our team actually got laughed at when we explained how quickly we were planning to develop & roll it out across the entire fab - but we made it!

What does a typical day look like for you at Flexciton?

My day is typically very varied, which is ideal for me. It might be focussed on client requirements, in which case I could be meeting with them, or I could be testing a new feature on the fab floor, or maybe analysing some of their data to help with a design, or shaping some new tickets.

Sometimes I'll be getting in-deep on the logic for a feature, in which case I could be pair programming with an engineer if the code is tightly coupled to a customer's business logic, or I could be trying to keep up with people much smarter than me discussing the various consequences of different objective value formulations.

Then there's all the more internally-focussed things: providing context or knowledge sharing with teams, or doing onboarding, grabbing coffee with colleagues, or chatting about brain-computer interfaces in book club!

In short, I don't really have a typical day - and that's the joy of it.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The variety and the fact that I get to work with such incredibly smart and talented people every day. There's a tonne of goodwill and a real culture of continuous improvement; it's down to earth and pretty flat, so there's no nonsense to deal with. I'm incredibly grateful for all of those things!

Also, as a product person, I'm grateful to be able to help solve challenges that actually make a positive impact in the world (did someone say "chip shortage"?), rather than optimising some clickthrough rates for a social media platform, or something.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be?

Always try to have skin in the game.

If you could summarise working at Flexciton in 3 words, what would they be?

Speed, agility, humility.

What’s one thing you’re learning now or learned recently?

I've started - really just started - dipping my toes into quantum computers & the progress on creating quantum algorithms for use in optimisation. From applications of Grover's algorithm to more recent heuristic approaches e.g. a recent paper where the global optimum of a solution landscape is found in polynomial time, where a classical computer would take exponential time. It sounds like it's still not clear whether this could actually be applied to a real-world problem or not, and I'd like to dig into it more to understand whether this was calculated using purely theoretical, perfect qubits, or if it would still work with real-world noisy qubits - it sounded like the overhead of requiring error correction is pretty huge. In any case, it's obviously a mind-blowing field and one that I'm excited to learn a little more about.

Tell us about your best memory at Flexciton?

I've loved the time I've spent with various teammates when on client visits. We get to know each other better and have some great conversations. But colossal nerd as I am, I'm also going to mention how much I love the book club I'm part of. We talk about science and history and strategy and psychology and kung fu, and everything in between. I was always a big fan of when John Boyd said: "When there are no new ideas or I am unable to think, I'll be dead because that's my life's sustenance."

Interested in working at Flexciton? Head over to our careers page to to check what vacancies we currently have available and learn a little more about us whilst you're there.