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Published November 7th 2014

Inside Brandwatch: Meeting the People Behind the Product

We’re a nosy bunch at Brandwatch – we like to find out as much as we can about the people we work with.

After the content team did some investigating, we found out that quite a few Brandwatchers have had pretty interesting career paths – stand-up comedians, working for Google, magicians, betting shop managers – and we thought you might like to hear a bit more about the faces behind the company, and how they ended up here with us. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing the stories of some of our colleagues.

First up, I spoke to Global Recruitment Manager Terry Swann about how he nearly became a football star, worked for Google, and what he thinks the future holds for him here at Brandwatch.

Balancing school and sports

When I was little, I wanted to be a professional footballer. I played in the Brighton youth team with Gareth Barry and was doing pretty well, but didn’t quite make the cut. Gareth Barry ended up…well, being Gareth Barry.

I also trained with Norwich City while at Uni, but they opted to sign a player from AC Milan instead of me.

At school, I was definitely the sporty one in class. I wasn’t a rebel, I worked fairly hard. The thing was, I missed half the class time playing sports – cross country athletics, cricket, football, you name it.

I probably missed 50% of my lessons playing sports and got lower grades as a result, but I had a good time.


Seeing the world

I always thought I’d be happy. I always see the glass half full. In my early ’20s I did chase the money, but I’m a bit different now. I’ve mellowed out and can see the bigger picture.

The most important thing to me when I left school was to see the world.  My Dad always travelled and I wanted to get out London. There’s a life outside the M25!

“I wanted to broaden my horizons and go and see and experience different cultures and perspectives, and really see how the world worked.”

I’ve lived in both Germany and Switzerland – straight out of Uni I moved to Switzerland and until I moved back this year, I hadn’t lived in the UK for 10 years. I have no idea whats going on in this country most of the time!

At Uni, I partied a lot. I made loads of friends, most of whom I’m still friends with, and they’ve all travelled and moved all over the world too; Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, New York. There aren’t many left in the UK, really.


My first job was terrible. During the Easter holidays, I had a job that was solely filling radiators with water and then screwing caps on.

I did that for a week – 40 hours of it. Awful. Doing jobs like that really motivated me to do something different with my life.

Switzerland, Google and Brandwatch

I graduated and moved straight to Switzerland. I started working for recruitment company in Zurich, placing IT contractors and the like. I did that for a while but became disillusioned and quit that for moral reasons. I saw some bad stuff.

I planned to move back to England, but then Google called me. We met for lunch and they offered me a job on a contract basis. I thought, “yeah, why not?” and went for it, and ended being a permanent member of staff, recruiting for roles all over the globe.


I really enjoyed my time there – I Iiked the culture, how innovative the people there are. I throughly enjoyed the relationships I forged with people, I got to travel all over the world.

I would say that’s the appeal of Brandwatch, too.

All the freebies and perks are nice, but not essential. Getting to do cool stuff and helping people progress in the company is what drives me. I get more satisfaction from that than free sushi (although that is great!). I get real pride from my colleagues progressing and doing great things.

“I ended up at Brandwatch because I wanted to join an innovative startup.”

Having worked in a large multinational where I’d seen a company grow, I wanted to take some of the things I’ve learnt and bring them to a smaller company.

I was planning to do something else when I came back to England, but I was drawn here – the people I’ve met are very smart individuals and have the right belief system.


“The most important part of my job to me is simple. Hiring the right talent for Brandwatch to take us to the next level.”

My future? I hate being stagnant. I don’t tend to plan too much – I certainly foresee growth for myself and Brandwatch, different languages, cultures, employment laws, growth, colleagues in different timezones.

Dealing with all of this will be interesting. I want staff here to have fun and enjoy coming in, and most of all not dread work on a Sunday evening.

But on a personal level, I’ve just come back to England. I’m not sure where my home is. I’m just happy to learn and enjoy what’s coming next. It’s exciting.

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