About Sam Westlake

Hello there, and thank you for stopping by. This page is about Sam Westlake’s work life since 2001.

Check out Twitter for what’s on my mind at the moment, while the blog will give you a better picture of my deeper thinking on Agile Principles for Real-Life, and adventures like the Agile Tales Podcast.

speak publicly about Agile Principles, and how they relate to Real-Life. I should point out that Agile Principles, although starting in a similar place, are NOT the same as the thing widely understood to be ‘Agile’, which is a mish-mash of methodologies that people (especially technical people) don’t like very much. The Principles are, however, excellent. Get in touch if you want to chat about this over a coffee, in person or on Skype/Zoom.

Connecting flow and work / life balance is essential to me. Healthy mind, body and soul is where it’s at, with a glass half-full of creative fun on the side. Feel free to check out some of my creative rambles on Tumblr, YouTube, SoundCloud and Instagram if you’re interested.

Current positions

I am based in Poole, UK, or sometimes a beautiful Classic Hymer and travel widely for work and pleasure. Ideally both at the same time.

I consider myself very fortunate in my career: I started businesses that have allowed me a foothold in both entrepreneurial start-ups, as well as corporate settings, building teams, systems and products for more than 20 years.

I spend much of my time today with the Crew at Sea Salt Learning, an organisation I co-founded in 2014.

In February 2017 I took on responsibility for directing operations at Sea Salt Learning as COO. I run the organisation along with co-founder and man-with-laser-sharp-focus and brain-the-size-of-a-planet Julian Stodd.

I am passionate about helping people to work better together in organisations, and believe that Sea Salt Learning – based on Julian’s writing – really is on to something in this respect. We live it, breathe it, and deliver it to individuals, teams and organisations all around the world.

I (probably) have spent 10,000 hours* working in, setting up, and developing remote teams and practices over the past 20+ years. It’s something I love to see working well – IMO it is vital for developing diversity and resilience.

I mentor individuals from time to time. And they mentor me. This makes me very happy.

My background

I founded my first business in 2001, which is where this story starts. You can read more on LinkedIn if you’re interested in my education and early days.

See my LinkedIn profile https://uk.linkedin.com/in/samjwestlake

Founded a digital agency

In 2001, I founded iSolve, a digital agency in Bournemouth, UK. The team grew organically, with 15 great people at one time. In 2007, iSolve focussed on ecommerce strategy, delivery and fulfilment. We built an excellent ecommerce software platform, delivering tens of thousands of orders. Partnerships of all types were absolutely key to this part of my journey, and I learned a great many lessons about people, products and business along the way. We began remote working in 2008.

Developed learning consultancy and technology

Alongside building the digital agency, I also delivered strategic consultancy and hands-on programme direction and project management to global organisations for eLearning and change / transformation projects. iSolve delivered eLearning and infrastructure technology, like LMS platforms and eLearning content. This exposure to the Learning and Development world introduced me to another angle on partnerships: with the people operating inside global Enterprise organisations.

Co-founded Social Age organisation Sea Salt Learning

At the beginning of 2014, I co-founded Sea Salt Learning with long term collaborator Julian Stodd. Sea Salt Learning is a global learning consultancy, change and transformation partner with extensive global delivery capability.

Time out for my family

Towards the end of 2014, my partner was unexpectedly diagnosed with a serious health issue. I closed my digital agency and I stepped aside from building Sea Salt Learning for a while, to make time and space for my family. However, I remained a close friend of Sea Salt, advising on digital, eLearning, and delivery, and exploring how technology integrates with the Social Age.

Agile team transformation

My compelling desire to develop and share ideas on successful partnerships, and wanting to learn more about product development and innovation, stayed strong. This lead me to join Base (now Passenger) as Project Director at the beginning of 2015 to support their transformation goal.

Base are located in my home town. At the end of 2014, they were a team of 16 people. Their goal was to transition from a digital service agency to a product development and innovation team. It was a perfect match.

Product cycle delivery

In early 2016, and with the change programme going well, I took on the role of Client Partnership Director at Base. I was responsible for delivery of the core product offering with the team.

By the end of the 2016 summer, the Base team were self-organising. And with the product released to the market and performing well, I was ready for a new challenge.

Read why I joined Sea Salt Learning to lead Agile transformation to find out more.

I’m became an Advisor to the Board at Base for a few years after departing my full time role. Base are a talented digital product development company, based in my Bournemouth. They make great products and are excellent and talented people.

* Meh … who’s counting?!