The Old Fire Station, Shoreditch. When I was the CEO of a UK technology startup we had our offices in the right turret of the building.

It was a serious business, with serious credentials – all of the engineers held PhDs, and had impressive research visibility. The brain power on display was exceptional.

We built security tools for mission critical industries, using rigorous and cutting-edge scientific principles. The primary tool, Infer, was the first commercial product to successfully reason about data-structures in computer programs.

We never took outside investment, and under my leadership the company was profitable. It is hard to organize a functional company, but to build one that actually earns money, at the intersection of academic research and industrial objectives? Rare doesn’t even cover it.

In my part of the tech industry people are working on deep complex problems, and they do not waste time on self-promotion. We’re solving crises most people have never even heard of, and that takes a rigorous attention to detail that does not leave a lot of room for splashy media campaigns. And our customers are camera shy: if they really need the tools they are not going to advertise the fact.

But that in turn means that our achievements, though important, are obscure. There are very few people who know what was accomplished in that round room.

When I walk by our old offices I am always surprised by the visual reminder of those years.