Name: Anna Peña Martinez
Position: Former Project Manager
With Rockflower: October 2012 – January 2014.
Tell us about yourself.
I currently live north of London, but I have lived in other European cities and I’ve been lucky enough to travel and live abroad since I was a baby. I’ve visited many fascinating cities and countries, although I still have some destinations in my list that I would love to visit soon (Japan, I’m looking at you!).
My background is Physics and Electronic Engineering and many of my friends were in Computer Science, so I loved building things and learning about new technologies. I co-founded my first (and only to date) start-up, GeoRemindMe, in 2010 and Rockflower was the second start-up I was involved with. I love having fingers in every pie, from design to building, testing and documenting, and at Rockflower I was able to do just that. When I joined Rockflower the unit had been stored for a long time in France, and I was hired to act as a liaison between the start-up in London and the engineers in France.
I worked intensely with the engineers to complete the mechanical aspects of the unit, as well as the vending software, and attended events and meetings to find the right POS technology for Rockflower, possible landlords and business collaborations, and merchandise suppliers. During that first year, I was the only employee at Rockflower. Once the technology was finished and the unit installed at Blackfriars, I moved on to the company that makes the technology inside Rockflower and I’ve been happily with them since.
Describe a typical day in your life.
I like waking up early, around 7 most days, and go out for a walk or the gym depending on how much time I have. I currently work from home, so if I don’t have any external meetings with customers, I’m usually at my desk at 8 to start the day with conference calls and a cup of tea. A typical day would have conference calls with customers, documentation writing, requirements gathering, mock-ups and diagram doodling and many, many discussions with the developers and other team members. Communication is key for building software! The work day usually finishes with conference calls with customers in the US or Canada.
I keep a very busy schedule, but when time permits I like to wind down with some Netflix. There are so many good shows to see these days! I also like all things crafty, from knitting to baking to watercolour painting to fixing things around the house.
How do you relax at weekends?
I love baking fresh bread, and if I’m going to be around on a weekend day, I will get a loaf started the night before. Yeast takes its time to work its magic and doesn’t care about your deadlines; I find the thought oddly soothing.
I like a good hike, and England is perfect for it: all nice rolling hills and beautiful little places to visit. If there is no excursion planned, to get my walking fix I like to download the latest of my favourite podcasts (usually something about science and technology) and go for a long stroll at any nearby park.
Since I moved to London merely a few years ago, there are still many restaurants on my bucket list, and there is always some new pop-up diner to try out. I love to eat out, and the UK capital has me spoiled for choice.
What is the best thing about Rockflower?
The team that makes this brilliant idea come true to bring fresh bouquets and plants to Londoners. Go Rockflower team!
What is your favourite flower/bouquet?
I would have to say the ranunculus, to me they are a happy flower! They grow in a dazzling variety of colours: yellows, dark reds or soft pinks. The stems are a bit delicate as they are hollow so they are not frequently found in bouquets, but I find them absolutely beautiful even on their own.
Why are flowers so special to you?
I lived in a desert area for a while and one of the big cacti in the backyard decided to splurge its resources despite the heat and scarce water and produce 3 huge blooms. The flowers were going to be open for a merely 24 hours, so I was keeping a vigilant eye on them. I was able to capture two of them fully open, and they were all the more ravishing for being short-lived. Flowers are a gentle reminder that nothing lasts, but also that there is still so much beauty to be enjoyed at any given moment.
Best Rockflower story?
The Rockflower was finally installed at Blackfriars in January 2014. The installation was done overnight, and there was an incredible amount of effort and planning that crystallized that night when the unit was brought inside the station, bolted together and powered up. What a joy to finally check all the systems and make sure that the unit was communicating and ready to receive the fresh bouquets soon! I have many photos from that night and, despite being too exhausted to fully appreciate it at the moment, that was the night when Rockflower finally… bloomed. I hope we soon start seeing more all over London and, why not, the world!