Tao Vink is more than just Polymathian's resident kiwi: he's a long-time Polymathian team leader who has helped shape the company, culture and product development. Tao attended university in his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, before leaving for Australia to pursue a job opportunity not long after finishing uni.
Let's get to know Tao Vink.
- How did you come to work at Polymathian?
- At University I studied commerce with an honours in operations research, which is the mathematical study of resource allocation problems. After finishing school, I got a job with a simulation company here in Australia, where I came to know one of Polymathian’s co-founders. The offer to join Polymathian as a product manager came just as I was finishing up a secondment at Rio Tinto’s Centre of Excellence and completing my MBA. The timing was perfect.
- What is your role at here?
- I am the BOLT product manager. BOLT is Polymathian’s supply chain optimisation software. I spend my days setting priorities and giving daily direction to the team. I also manage project life cycles, the sales process, demos, and training. I really love the mix of activities my job provides.
- Tell me about an industry trend impacting how BOLT supports customers.
- Industry has come a long way over the last decade. It is far more mature in its use of decision support tools. I see a big shift of moving away from spreadsheets and towards more robust software solutions like the ones Polymathian provides. There is also a desire to make the best possible use of all the available data in our modern operating environments.
- What's your biggest work-related pet peeve?
- My biggest somewhat work-related pet peeve is commuting. I am not a fan.
- What do you like most about working at Polymathian?
- I think everyone says this, but it’s the people. I’m proud of the people we’ve been able to attract to the company and the culture we’ve built. I am especially proud of the reputation that Polymathian has in the industry. Other than the people, it's the interesting and diverse projects that I get to work on.
- What's your go-to productivity tip?
- I don't have one. Do you have one for me? But seriously, I see my role as team leader as the person who is "interruptible". I am the one that should be fielding questions and not being concerned with how productive I am each day.
- What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
- Back home in NZ, I delivered potatoes to fish and chips shops. We got paid a flat rate to deliver our route regardless of how long it took us do do it, so the driver and I would try to figure out the quickest route to take each day – always trying to beat our best time.
- So, in a way, that was your first supply chain optimisation job?
- Yeah, exactly. But at that job we got free fish and chips as a perk.
- Describe your job to a child?
- My daughter says, "daddy does 'putering".
- If you have 30 minutes of free time, what would you do with it?
- [laughs] As the father of a newborn, if I had 30 minutes to myself, I'd probably take a nap.
- What's something new you've learned recently?
- How to renovate a bathroom. It's something that I've spent far too much time thinking about recently.🚽
- Best concert ever?
- Red Hot Chili Peppers. Christchurch doesn't get a lot of big name concerts, but I really loved seeing them.
- If you are making dinner for your family, what are you making?
- Lasagne 100%
- Do you have a nickname?
- What does Tao mean?
- In Māori it means a long wooden spear but that's just a coincidence because it's actually just an amalgamation of family members' names.
- What is something that has made you smile recently?
- As I mentioned, I have a newborn daughter so she's providing lots of reasons to smile lately. I've also really enjoyed seeing how well my older daughter has taken to her baby sister.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Tao as much as I did. If you would like to get Tao's lasagne recipe or discuss supply chain optimisation protocols, you can connect with him on LinkedIn.
About the interviewer
Tami Pizani is a member of the Polymathian marketing team and has made it her mission to shine a spotlight on the employees behind Polymathian's success. Tami loves a great underdog story, discovering commonalities when meeting someone new, and a healthy debate over the use of the Oxford comma. You can connect with Tami on LinkedIn