Beyond the Bots: From A Natural Skater to Natural Language

Published on
May 26, 2022
Tessa McDaniel
Marketing Team Lead

From figure skating to test automation, this is a story you’ll want to read.

If you’ve been following any of our social media, you’ll have seen that we’ve been hosting lots of Webinars and Webinettes, running targeting campaigns, and we’ve even got a podcast up and running now. Somehow he still finds time to write blog posts in between coming up with new ideas for the website. There’s a man behind all of these things, and he does so much more. Ladies and gentlemen; the man, the myth, the legend: Ryan Thornton. 

Ryan definitely had an interesting journey getting to test automation. He graduated with a BA in History with plans to get a graduate job in London, but he wasn’t ready to give up figure skating. He sent out some calls, looking for a ski resort where he could set up a school for teaching, and ended up in Austria! There, he taught children how to skate. He even put on a skating show for Christmas based on the Grinch story, and that’s where he encountered his first marketing challenge. One of his shoes had a hole that desperately needed patching, but instead of buying new shoes, Ryan spent all his money on flyers for the show. He plugged the hole with cardboard, distributed flyers for as long as he could take it, headed home to warm up and replace the cardboard, then went out again. It should come as no surprise that the show was a success. (Rumor has it that he also played a role in a soap opera, but we haven’t been able to weasel any more out of him on that topic)

He then moved to the second-largest city in Austria where he secured a job as a figure-skating coach. Then for a while, it was the age-old story: he met a woman, fell in love, got married, and then they all moved back to the UK where he was a stay-at-home dad to two boys. At this point in time, he worked in marketing for an online platform, but when he moved back to Austria, that’s when he got into test automation. And it was all because of figure skating! He was live-streaming and narrating figure skating competitions, so Ryan started out by expanding on the company’s video capabilities in English, but as he started reading everything about test automation he could get his hands on and talking to as many people who would answer him, he became more and more interested in the product/development side of test automation. 

One fateful day, he got a message from Virtuoso’s HR asking him to consider a job in completely codeless test automation. Ryan is a pretty “see it to believe it” kind of person, so he was skeptical about whether Virtuoso could actually deliver what it promised. One demo later and he realized that Virtuoso really does what it says on the tin! It didn’t take him long to embark on his Virtuoso journey, and he’s been able to experience first-hand how the market has changed to be more curious about codeless test automation. It was pretty hard to get him to choose a favorite part about the job, but one is that he loves talking about Virtuoso at webinars, demos, or conferences and seeing how ears prick up meerkat-like to hear more about what the big deal is with Virtuoso. This rolls into another favorite part, which is explaining Virtuoso. Ryan is always the first to step up to a challenge, and it’s certainly tricky to describe Virtuoso as complex without making it sound complicated and simple without dumbing it down. 

And to help explain that, we come to Ryan’s absolute favorite part: building things. Whether it’s writing blogs, organizing new website pages, or hosting Webinars, Ryan loves to build things no matter the medium. That includes building tests with Virtuoso. He has, pardon our French, bastardized Virtuoso to perform tasks it wasn’t meant to perform. Ryan is very knowledgeable about the platform from all the time he spends on it, making him the perfect person to drive marketing from a product perspective. Most of all, he finds that helping change people’s perspective on codeless testing exceedingly rewarding. And folks, he does all this and more. If you book a demo with us, you might be lucky enough to have Ryan sit in on your call! Trust us, you’ll be hardpressed to find someone more eager to talk your ear off about codeless test automation.


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