Introducing Taher Deria, Director of Quill’s Global Creator Network

We’re delighted to announce that Taher Deria has recently joined Quill as Director of our Global Creator Network. After beginning his career in political research, Taher joined revolutionary food delivery company Deliveroo in its early stages as an operations recruitment associate. Over his time at Deliveroo, he filled five different roles across operations, marketing and engagement, helping to grow the Deliveroo rider fleet from hundreds in London to 25,000 across the UK.

We sat down with Taher to discuss his background, his plans for Quill, and his outlook on the future of the on-demand workforce.

 

Tell us a bit about your background

After university, I did a brief stint in research for a polling company during the run-up to the 2015 general election. After that, I stumbled upon a role at a (then) little-known startup called Deliveroo, as part of an early, scrappy operations division led by Sebastian Gilbert.

Working at Deliveroo was like working in a new business every week. We grew by 600% in 2016 and became Europe’s fastest growing startup. In 2017, this growth reached over 100,000% within a four-year period. Operations in particular was always a high-pressure area of the business: over two years, we had to expand the fleet from the hundreds in London to over 25,000 across 100 key locations in the UK, and then replicate that playbook across 12 markets internationally.

For all its challenges, the experience was phenomenal. I learned exactly what it takes to deliver results in a challenging and dynamic hyper-growth environment.

What drew you to Quill?

Leadership is a hugely important personal factor for me. Our CEO, Ed, is exactly the kind of passionate and transparent founder you want to work for. Ed is completely uncompromising about having the right people on the team; he still interviews every new joiner at Quill. As a result, the HQ team consists of a diverse, talented and dedicated team with a shared and collaborative vision of success – we are proactive and not afraid to challenge the status quo in the content production industry.

Furthermore, I report in to our COO, Nathalie du Preez, who is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur in her own right. During the intensive interview process for Quill, I very quickly came to the conclusion that Nathalie was someone I could learn a great deal from, and I also recognised that she would support me in championing progressive change initiatives within the Quill Network.

What are your plans for Quill?

Our overall mission, within the Network team, is to position Quill as the leader for content creators in the freelance economy space. Priorities include growing the size and range of talent within our network, as well as boosting engagement with our existing content creators.

The first order of business for me was to grow the internal Network team, with the aim of improving our practices around freelancer acquisition and engagement. Thankfully, we’ve found two world-class candidates – Amy Duxbury and Aisling Cahill, our new Head of Global Acquisition and Head of Global Engagement, respectively – within just one month!

In the medium term, I’m looking forward to working with some exciting partners on our creator perks and partnerships offering. We also plan on launching a Quill creator hub, which will serve as both an online community and knowledge base for our network of writers, translators and editors.

Finally, I’m very excited about bringing in AI and machine learning to complement our in-house operations in acquisition and creator support, as well as developing our 2019 tech roadmap alongside the engineering team.

What are the unique challenges of working with creatives as opposed to delivery riders?

In a rider fleet like Deliveroo’s, there are few variables – mostly vehicle type and location. In the Quill Network, the variables include over 51 language pairings, a broad range of content types and varying screening processes depending on skillset and language pairing. As a result, improving the application, screening and onboarding process of thousands of remote content creators with different skills and knowledge areas – as well as forecasting supply – was one of the first things I wanted to tackle.

We’re now in the process of introducing a new applicant tracking system, which will allow us to screen, onboard and train our freelance talent in a much more streamlined way, with a view to eventually automating large portions of this process through machine learning. 

How do you see the on-demand workforce trend developing over the next five to 10 years?

Both businesses and freelance workers are increasingly recognising the opportunities created by flexible work. Many of these opportunities didn’t exist a few years ago: they allow students to fund their higher education, part-time workers to supplement their existing income and travellers to earn a living anywhere in the world.

Over the next five to 10 years, I expect these remote opportunities to increase, with more work being offered on a flexible basis. This should have a largely positive impact, offering people the chance to make an income where traditional full-time employment is problematic. In the context of Quill, we will continue to offer creatives a global platform through which to provide market-leading content to the world’s biggest brands.

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