Simon Walker is Managing Director of Parajet, the world’s largest manufacturer of paramotors – backpack aircraft that fit in your car, require minimal training and no licence to fly. His career has spanned professional yacht racing, tech start ups and ‘future of work’ consulting. Here, he picks the five things he couldn’t do his job without
I love the flexibility of Trello as it can be a Kanban, a project plan, an ideas board or just a simple set of lists. Working with many tech businesses and projects, I find it particularly good at tracking complex, agile projects collaboratively and very visually. I often drive to work early, which is great thinking time. Using an IFTTT integration to link Trello to Google Assistant voice control means all those great ideas are captured and easily sorted when I get to my desk.
2 -3D printers
As a high-tech engineering business, we are constantly wanting to test ideas. I love the fact that we can quickly CAD these up (we use SolidWorks) and within a few hours have a 3D-printed prototype in our hands. There is something magic about having a physical object in your hands and being able to offer it up to other components. It certainly helps make the creativity and problem-solving juices flow. We also have a full spec CNC unit with 5 axis milling machines running at £100,000 plus each, so we can get the final pieces machined and in production quickly too.
3 A standing desk
I haven’t sat down at work for almost a decade – I’m absolutely certain it keeps me fitter, sharper and more productive. It certainly encourages me to move around more, helping with energy levels and better posture.
Interestingly, it’s also contagious. When I started at Parajet I was the only one standing. Now, I’d say 80% of the team are at standing desks and they love it too. We have the type that can be lowered if need be, but most people opt to keep them raised.
4 Parajet Maverick Paramotor
A bit like a company car scheme, we really do have a fly-to-work scheme at Parajet. Here, staff can buy discounted gear, paid for monthly via salary sacrifice. Over half our team are on the scheme. For me it’s actually faster to fly to work from a field near my home than to drive, and in the summer months there is no better way to put a grin on one’s face at the start of the day.
When I was a professional yacht skipper, I realised that constant briefings were essential to get everyone on the same page. Now, with a worldwide dealer and supply network, the ability to record asynchronous presentations, sharing data and pictures, but with the human touch of the team actually seeing me is a real boon. Loom makes this easy and quick.
To find out more about Parajet and learning to paramotor, visit: