Daniel Harrison, BSc Electronic Imaging and Media Communications 1997
Co-Founder and CTO of Snaptrip
His Bradford studies gave Daniel a varied grounding in all aspects of traditional and digital media, allowing him a wide choice of career pathways. Following roles as a 3D modeller and animator and then as a software developer, Daniel started up his own company, Snaptrip, in the holiday rental sector. He now says he could never go back to working for anyone else.
Tell us about the premise behind Snaptrip. What inspired you to start the company?
"Snaptrip is the first dedicated last minute brand in the holiday rental sector. I had worked in the sector for many years and knew there was a huge opportunity in the market to do things better both on the consumer and supplier side. The company has quickly developed from me and my co-founder to employing 15 people.
Describe a typical working day for you.
"Get into the office after dropping the kids at school. Have a team "stand-up" meeting to discuss the previous day’s work and what everyone is planning for today. Check the Key Performance Metrics of the business and act on any issues that have arisen overnight. Then it's down to planning, coding, releasing and measuring new features on the website for the rest of the day. Maybe with a game or two of darts in between all the work.
What do you enjoy most about being your own boss and what are the greatest challenges?
"The fun culture of our office and the freedom that I have to influence the success of the business and my own future. I could never go back to working for anyone else. The thing you realise when you become your own boss is that you can do pretty much anything you put your mind to and it would be hard to go back to focusing on only one or two disciplines. I genuinely now love going into work because I am doing it for myself and will directly reap the benefits of everything I do.
Do you get much time away from work to pursue any hobbies or interests?
"By far my favourite way to spend time is with my family. And I get a lot more time to do that now after the hard work of the first couple of years. I still play football every week (as I did at Bradford) and like to keep fit by running and using the outdoor gyms in London.
Where do you see yourself and Snaptrip in the next five years?
"Having built and extremely successful and profitable business that has changed the holiday rental sector for the better for consumers. And hopefully enjoying the rewards that it brings with many more holidays spent with the kids.
What advice would you have for other students or graduates who would like to start their own business?
"Test ideas while you can and while you don't have too many financial commitments. While you are student is the perfect time. If you want to get a job first, don't feel that should define your entire career. Change around early and as much as you need to gain valuable experience. When you think you want to start a business, be sure to spend time validating your idea, potential addressable market and opportunity well before you start building anything or giving up your day job. Keep it lean and build the absolute minimum necessary to test your ideas. And read The Lean Startup and Rework.... in that order.
"Then do what works and makes money and stop doing the things that don't work quickly. Iterate quickly, be prepared to pivot and focus on the areas of the business that bring you the 80% of the benefit with 20% of the hassle. Drop the products/people/customers/suppliers that take up 80% of your time for 20% of the benefit.
What were the highlights from your time at the University of Bradford?
"Living in a fun new city and being independent for the first time. Making an amazing group of friends that have become friends for life. The group that I met on my first day in halls of residence are still the group that we go on holiday with once a year and meet up with at Christmas. And now we all have families and 13 beautiful children between us."