Getting to know Chief Technology Officer, Marlon Grech

We’re excited to welcome our first Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Marlon Grech, to RightShip.

We’ve built up a strong relationship with Marlon and his team over the past few years as they supported RightShip’s move to a digital-first format. Now he’s fully onboard and looking forward to bringing a technology culture to our organisation. We find out more about his background - and why he wishes he could be a character in The Matrix.

Could you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve always been passionate about software development and technology in general. To me technology was never just a job, in fact, I spent several years blogging and writing articles on technologies I loved. I also created several open-source projects as my way to give back to the tech community, something that I’m proud to say was recognised by Microsoft, who gave me the MVP or most valued professional award three times between 2009 and 2011.

In terms of my professional career, I spent most of my time in FinTech. Other than technology, I have a soft spot for investment banking, especially derivative products, hence I spent most of my career working with large investment banks in London, building platforms for them. Around nine years ago I wanted to do things differently, I felt I’d gathered enough knowledge and knowhow to start my own software development practice and satisfy my business ambitions.

I wanted to have the option to be more selective in the projects I worked on, and I wanted to build software solutions that would help users in their everyday lives. Thynk grew to an amazing software development practice, we built some fantastic solutions which today power business all around the world. At Thynk, as the Chief Executive and CTO I had to wear both a business and a technologist’s hat, which enabled me to understand how mastering these two things can bring amazing products to market.

Why do you think RightShip needs its first CTO?

It’s an exciting time in the maritime industry. I think we’ve seen more technology news for the maritime industry in the last year, than in the last ten. The industry is moving more and more into the digital world – to be honest it really needs to.

RightShip stands at the forefront of this market’s technology evolution. At RightShip we want to bring more Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) transparency to the market, making more data available for better informed decisions. To do all this, RightShip must have a CTO, to help bring that technology expertise which, when fused with our maritime expertise, can ensure amazing products.

What do you think you bring to RightShip?

For RightShip to build great technology it can’t just be about hiring some people with the right skill set and saying: ‘job done’.

I want to bring RightShip a technology culture that is all about pushing boundaries and ‘blue sky thinking’. I’d like to see concept validation take place, which means asking questions like whether an idea solves a real problem, whether there’s a place for it, whether it should be done, whether it can be done and finally how it can be done, without the fear that an initiative might fail. Instead, we’ll celebrate failure as being a valuable lesson learned, that will help us succeed in the future.

I believe my fresh perspective will help strengthen the reputation of RightShip, ensuring the world sees us as a trusted data and technology enabler - well known for doing more and greater things for the maritime industry, by scaling up the technology we use to fulfil our vision and purpose.

Why is the RightShip vision important to you?

I always believed that through technology we can contribute to the rest of humanity and the world. Safety, sustainability and crew welfare are three areas of RightShip’s work I have come to understand more deeply in the last couple of years.

I was taken aback when I learnt that so many incidents still happen at sea, many of which could be avoided. I am very much a purpose-driven person and want to give my everything to RightShip’s zero harm vision.

What would be your ideal day?

My ideal day would be to go to work, achieve something great, followed by an evening with family and good food, quite probably Asian cuisine, as I have a real soft spot for it.

My two favourite people are my daughter Jasmine, who, even though I’ve tried over and over again refuses to join me in the tech world, and my wife Charlene, who challenges me and supports me in anything I choose to do. These two are the greatest most positive force in my life, pushing me forward to do more every day.

What superpower would you like and why?

If I had any power, it would be to become a super-learner, with the ability to learn anything in a matter of seconds. Once I saw this in the movie The Matrix, where the character could connect to a computer and upload courses or languages to his brain. That’s the superpower I’d love to have, given time is so limited.