Play Consulting


2014 – 2018


Chief Product Officer

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Play Consulting


I was a founding member of Play building the consultancy business to £multi-million revenue and growing the company to 22, with a product team of 7. We shipped 10s of innovative products for the UK’s biggest companies.


Having worked together at Mind Candy, we realised how powerful game mechanics can be in driving behaviours. Play formed on the belief that we could use our games experience to build compelling products to help people and businesses achieve their goals. The dream team was back together with Marcus Thornley (Chief Executive Officer), Dan Atherton (Chief Technology Officer) and myself (Chief Product Officer) heading up our respective skillsets.

Growing a company

The early days

From the beginning we had no plans to raise investment, we wanted to grow organically and profitability. This meant the first few months started off in coffee shops trying to win our first client. Fortunately, it didn’t take long with Bupa we designed, built, shipped and ran Bupa Boost as a live service. Finally earning some money we landed our first office - living the startup clique of working in a garage. We quickly expanded hiring Jez Fischer and Alun William, colleagues from the Mind Candy team.

Mario Kart

Playing Mario Kart in the garage

With happy clients and lots of work coming in we quickly out-grew the garage, fortunately we found another office next door and knocked through.

Old Office

Secret Santa

Beyond consultancy

From the beginning our plan was to grow the consultancy side of the business to be profitable from the offset but most importantly to help us understand the biggest problems facing businesses today. Prior to Play I had no experience working with large companies and it was fascinating to me learning the ins-and-outs of some of the largest companies in the UK.

After the successful launches of Boost and Digital Fitness we were taken by how the biggest impact was cultural, creating communities in businesses that helped individuals succeed. We thought there was an opportunity to build a platform specifically designed to empower individuals and teams by improving company culture - Totem was born.

New office, who dis?

With Totem growing quickly, and more consultancy work than we could take, we needed to expand once again to fit the team. We were lucky again finding the most beautiful offices on Bermondsey St and this time we had windows - so many windows!

New Office

Important business meeting in the new office

End of an era

On the 27th June 2018, I took the heart-wrenching decision to leave Play, and I left the UK to travel with my boyfriend, Remi. While I miss the incredible team that we built there, I’m so proud of the work we accomplished and all the incredible products Play will continue to produce.

A new kind of consultancy

If anything was important at Play it was culture. We wanted to build a new kind of consultancy/ agency where we could build products that make a difference - but also have fun doing it! I strongly believe in the power of small teams to achieve amazing things, my time at Play only reenforced my beliefs.

The Play difference:

  • Product first - Play exists to build products to help people, no marketing websites here
  • Maximum impact - We’re pragmatic and want to test our ideas early and often
  • The power of small teams - We believe in empowering small teams: during development but also with product
  • Partnerships - We form one team with the companies we work with
  • Complete honesty - If we think somethings a bad idea, we’ll tell you

Culture First

Building great products

From the beginning Play was a completely product-centric business. We applied our experience on making games to build engaging products that helped people achieve their goals. I was responsible through the whole process to helping win new clients, conceiving of innovative products then designing, building and running live services.

Sprint 0/ Design Sprints

As we refined our ways of working we devised our own variant of a Design Sprint to help kick-start products. The purpose of a Sprint 0 was to go from nothing to something - helping us understand the problem; propose and iterate on potential solutions; and define/ estimate a potential pilot to prove our idea. Our approach at Play was highly pragmatic, focusing on shipping and proving our hypothesis rather than lengthy design periods with little in-the-form of real data.

Building a design team

Before Play I didn’t have much experience managing people directly. As we grew the business my responsibilities also changed - shifting from doing most of the work myself, to overseeing multiple products at the same time. I was also responsible for ensuring that the whole product team had the opportunity to grow and improve their skill-sets. More so than any specific product we built, I’m proud of the team we built and the wonderful people that made it so special.


Christmas 2016

What my colleagues have to say

I was lucky enough to work with this bunch


Play has been by far the most rewarding and challenging work of my life so far. I’m incredibly proud of the company and the culture that we’ve built. Over my 4 years at Play I’ve learned so much about running a business, working with clients, managing people, building great products and more. I look forward to following the great products Play will continue to produce 🙌.

Key successes

  • £multi-million revenue
  • Profitable every year
  • No investment
  • Grew team to 22, with 7 product designers
  • Developed internal IP, Totem
  • Shipped 10s of products
  • Worked with UK’s biggest companies
  • Played 10,000s of Mario Kart games


Dan being dan

More products I've worked on

All work ✨