THINKING ENERGY
Former Google tech leader, Sam Thorogood, joins Gridcognition as Chief Technology Officer

Written by Fabian Le Gay Brereton

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder BSc Computer Science (Hons) University of Western Australia

February 23, 2022

Gridcognition welcomes Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Sam Thorogood, to the leadership team. After more than a decade at Google Australia, Sam will manage the engineering team and set the technical direction for Gridcognition’s innovative software platform.

CEO Fabian Le Gay Brereton says “the energy transition is a global challenge and a massive opportunity, and we are building what will be a large and enduring business to take on this challenge. Sam brings the technical experience that will enable us to scale our technology platform and expand internationally.”

“Sam’s joining as CTO isn’t just great for our product, it’s great for our team. There’s never been a more competitive time to retain and hire tech talent. We’re able to offer the best of both worlds, big tech experience and knowledge with all the advantages and opportunities of a smaller business.”

Technical excellence isn’t the only thing Sam brings to Gridcognition, he’s also passionate about accelerating the energy transition, saying that tech has a responsibility to play a role in ending the climate crisis. 

“The planet has the technology, now it’s time for us to get it right-sized and installed. The faster we accelerate the world’s transition to renewable and distributed energy the better, and that aligns with what I want at this point in my life and my career.”

 

Have you Met… Sam Thorogood

What got you interested in the energy space?

I came to the realization that I couldn’t just keep doing the things the way I was doing them. For example, the first thing I did when I bought my house was install solar panels on the roof. And while important, it’s tiny compared to what I could be doing to make a difference. The world is experiencing a climate crisis, and tech has a responsibility to play. As I was interviewing for Gridcognition, my old manager at Google announced that he was also leaving to work on climate, which was even more confirmation that I was doing the right thing. 

What attracted you to work with Gridcognition?

I actually found the job through random LinkedIn searches! If I was going to do something different, I wanted it to be quite different and I thought it would be interesting to come to a company that’s so new, that has a core vision I really believed in. A lot of the big players are environmentally minded: for example, Google’s data centers are carbon neutral, but these are often invisible choices to the general public. At Gridcognition, we’re creating something completely new that wouldn’t have otherwise been built or available to the energy sector.

What’s your favorite feature you have worked on so far?

A lot of what I’m working on day-to-day is infrastructure and system design. I’m learning about the energy space, but in the end we have the same challenges a lot of small SaaS companies have: we’re scaling, dealing with complex data sets, while staying reliable for our users. But my favorite feature? I’ve been working on better analysis of our codebase through static type checking and testing.

This might sound mundane, but it’s actually really important—we’re a data-driven company and our users use us to create complex digital models of their planned systems, so I’m actually quite proud of the changes we’re making here because they’ll let us go upward and onwards with more confidence in our code. 📈

Who (outside of Gridcognition) inspires you from a work perspective?
The open source maintainers of the world inspire me—they keep the internet going! In our industry, we use a lot of different tools especially around data ingestion and formats that people are giving to us for free because they love it and they’ve built something they found useful and want to share it with everyone else. 

We hope to open source some libraries by Gridcognition so other orgs can benefit from our technology and create positive climate impact.

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