Employee Spotlight: Dillon Clift

Posted by Leisa Redmon | October 30, 2020

Name: Dillon Clift

Position: GDD Technical Lead & Web Developer

Location: Pompano Beach, FL

Job Description:

The overall objective of my position as Technical Lead on the GDD Team is to fill the gap between all client-facing roles and implementation roles, as well as ensure excellence in all of the products that we develop and deliver to our clients.

Another facet of this role is being able to guide and mentor our talented developers on the GDD team to success by providing support and training on complex issues and projects that may arise. 

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you found Primitive.

I graduated from Northumbria University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in applied computing. After completing my studies, I decided to go on a four-month backpacking trip around Southeast Asia, in a little city in northern Thailand, where I met a beautiful American lady who I now call my wife!

After the trip was over I returned to England and got a job as a junior developer for a company based out of Newcastle. My time there was awesome and I got to experience many facets of development. This is where I discovered my passion for creating pixel perfect digital experiences! Whilst honing my skills, I was lucky enough to have the ability to work remotely, so the flexibility of the development role also allowed me to frequently visit my American sweetheart. 

After just over one year of a long distance relationship, we decided to take the leap and I moved to the states. Shortly after moving, I saw a development opportunity online to work with a super cool company named Primitive Social, the company culture and scope of work impressed me and I was super eager to pursue the role.

When did you start with Primitive?

I started working with Primitive in March of 2018

What would you say are some of the biggest changes you’ve experienced since working at Primitive?

I feel like in the two short years I’ve been with Primitive, there has been so much change. But I think more than anything I’ve felt a huge sense of us maturing as a company. It’s a real pleasure to work with people who are masters in their craft and I feel we have that in every department here at Primitive.

Why do you think having knowledgeable web developers is so important in an agency like Primitive?

We have to grow and adapt with the industry and make sure we are leaders in that development. The Growth Driven Design model has changed everything in the sense that every step of the project is masterfully well thought out. The wireframes have improved and the designs have improved, so the development has to always be cutting edge, as well, so we can make our team and clients extremely proud of the end product. 

What would you say are some of your favorite projects that you've worked on at Primitive?

Every GDD project so far has been extremely enjoyable, but I would say my personal favourites so far have been:

The Primitive Rebrand - https://leadwithprimitive.com
This was such a fun project to work on because not only was the design a masterpiece, but the project represented the evolution of the company from Primitive Social to Primitive. We were able to start from the ground up and built a custom HubSpot site that is built to wow people and also stand the test of time. 

Another project that I’ve loved being a part of is the evolution and migration of sites to our in-house custom CMS, Bind.

In such a short time, we’ve been able to get 50+ of our clients' sites into Bind so they have access to all of the exclusive benefits and features it has to offer. It also has a shiny new website that is able to boast all of its features way better than I could! https://getbind.io/ 

How has Primitive shaped you into the leader you are today?

I have to give credit to the example that is set by our own leadership team here at Primitive. We are constantly being motivated and encouraged no matter what is thrown at us. Having that support has enabled me to flourish in my own role as Technical Lead on the GDD team.

What excites you the most about Primitive’s future? 

What we’ve been able to accomplish in the past year. I think I can say with confidence that 2020 has been no one's favourite year. But throughout all of the hardships we’ve all had to go through, we’ve been able to band together and lean in to one another and put out some great work in the last 10 months. This strength and resilience fills me with excitement for what is to come in the future.

Now let’s dive more into you! Do you have a daily routine or particular steps that you take every single day before you start work?

I think I’d answer this question differently every three months or so because I don’t feel like I stick to a morning routine too much for any extended period of time. There have been weeks this year where I’ll wake up 30 minutes before starting the work day, but I don’t always love those mornings, ha! Recently though, I just purchased a “wake-up light” (thanks for the recommendation, Jeter) and that is really helping with my latest alarm time of 5:30.

After waking up I like to take a few minutes to relax and prepare myself for the day. Part of that involves making a big pot of coffee so that my Primitive mug can stay filled all morning :)

After coffee, I usually start the work day by checking my inbox and then make a checklist of goals that I want to accomplish for the day. I would save so much paper if I started using an app to keep these checklists, but there’s something so satisfying for me when I put a big line through each of the goals as I complete them!

How do you like to stay motivated?

I like to break the day up into different tasks, rather than staying on one large task for the majority of my day. I find that breaking the day up into different tasks at different times is a great way to stay motivated and not get stuck in a rut. Aside from that, I like to try to convince my stubborn self to take regular breaks!

How do you find enjoyment outside of work?

My wife and I love to travel. This year has been a bit of an outlier because we haven’t had too many trips to look forward to but being able to travel to new places is where we find the most enjoyment.

Living in Florida for the past few years has meant I’ve had exposure to some activities that I don’t think I would have had I still been living in England. One of these is lobstering. It was recently mini-season which meant we were out on a friend’s boat almost every weekend trying to catch as many as possible!

I also love to workout. After a hard day at work there’s no better feeling than going to the gym for a hard session to sweat the day out.

How do you juggle your work and family life? Do you feel as though you’ve achieved a good work-life balance?

I definitely feel like my work-life balance is exactly where it needs to be. Having been a remote employee for over four years now, I feel like I've been able to master the art of work-life balance. 

I think one of the most important things about getting the balance right is making sure you put 110% effort into each task that you set your mind to throughout the day. If you’re smashing your goals and tasks out of the park, it makes it a lot easier to close your machine at the end of the day and feel proud of the work you’ve put in.

What is something that not everyone knows about you?

I studied Thai boxing (Muay Thai) for two weeks when I was travelling in Asia. (Totally got beaten up every day!)

What is your secret to success (aside from your accent, of course)?

I think the accent is the extent of my success… (just kidding!) 

I think the key to success, as cliche as it may sound, is hard work and dedication. If you put hours and effort into something that you love doing, there is no doubt that it will pay off. And patience… patience is a virtue that I sometimes struggle with but as the old proverb says, “Rome wasn't built in a day.” 

I think if you’re able to be disciplined and put in your hours to the best of your ability, success will be on the other side waiting for you. 

Are there any words of wisdom or anything else that you would like to pass along?

I could recite quotes of athletes all day, but this is one that I remind myself of very often.

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.” – Bruce Lee

And finally, if you could only watch one TV show or movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’m going to be a sell out and say Game of Thrones. I racked my brains for five minutes trying to think of a cool and unique show or movie that I could watch every day for the rest of time. But GOT is where the heart is! The show is just so crazy and I don’t think I will ever get sick of watching it. (Ok, maybe not the last season.) 

Crackling Fireplace is also quite the masterpiece on Netflix. 

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