Sam Phillips Startups, Technology, Agile.

Sam Phillips

I'm a passionate and bright technology leader with a deep engineering background, customer focus and commercial drive.

I've been a part of two successful acquisitions - I was developer #1 at On The Beach Travel - built in 2005, sold in 2007. I was also Head of Engineering at Shutl and part of the team that sold the business to eBay in 2013.

Currently I am CTO and Co-Founder at Residently where we're rebuilding renting around the residents. Renting is the only industry where you pay thousands and get treated like you're not the customer - if you've ever rented, you know it's a problem that needs solving. I'm also an advisory board member at various early-stage startups.

I believe that every project can be made simpler, easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved - and that there is always a win-win solution, if you look hard enough. I’m happiest when I’m learning.


In recent years I've preferred to spend time on teaching rather than speaking. I'm a passionate activist for more diversity in the world of technology. It's a complex problem but I believe a fundamental lack of technological education is a root cause, so that's where I concentrate my efforts.

Codebar Manchester

After coaching at Codebar London for 3+ years, I've been one of the organisers for Codebar Manchester since 2017.

We run monthly workshops open to all underrepresented groups in tech.

Code First: Girls

From 2016 to 2019 I was an instructor for Code First: Girls Manchester, and founding lead instructor of the Manchester General chapter.

This is an eight-week course with one taught session a week, run twice a year. We're very proud to have a fantastic success rate of our students subsequently landing jobs in tech.


The right-handed world of technology

Why it's right that we focus our efforts when trying to build a more diverse technology community.

I've worked with codebar since its inception two years ago and I’m frequently asked how is it fair to not invite straight white cisgender men to workshops? I have a fresh answer to this question, which I thought I'd share. Read more >

Empowering everybody to be devops

The Shutl engineering team has been operating with a DevOps mentality for over two years. We started by rebuilding our infrastructure under Chef and embedding our operations engineers into our agile product development process.

These are the practical steps we took to move to a model where our whole engineering team could work on our infrastructure. Read more >

Do we understand our startup equity options?

1 in 4 people with startup equity options is in for a surprise.

After both good and bad experiences with startup equity options, I wrote and researched this piece based upon survey data from the UK and US tech communities. Read more >

Focus daily standups on value, not activity or individuals

The daily standup (or daily scrum) is the bedrock of an agile process - and it should be kept enjoyable and useful, because that's the only way that it'll definitely continue to happen. A frequent complaint about this meeting, which erodes from its enjoyability and its utility, is a simple one - that it simply takes too long. Read more >

More writing >


Forward Partners Live: Scaling Engineering

Forward Partners invited me to speak in July 2015 on how we scaled Shutl's engineering team pre and post acquisition.


  • uncodebar, 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019
  • North West Ruby User Group, 2009; 2018
  • Women Who Code London, August 2015
  • codebar London, July 2015; November 2014
  • QCon London, 2014
  • Seedcamp CTO Day, 2015
  • Etail Europe, 2014
  • GraphDB San Francisco, May 2014
  • Makers Academy, October 2013
  • London Ruby User Group, July 2012
  • MagRails, 2011



#enjoying - share your reading list

I love reading and I'm always looking for recommendations for what to read next. I wanted a lightweight way to save and share my list, and see others' lists.

Goodreads is old and clunky: I wanted something modern, so I built it! #enjoying