Simon Elliston Ball


Oct 2014 - Present: Hortonworks: Solutions Engineer → Product Solutions Architect → Principal Solutions Engineer → Director, Product Management

Twice won International SE of the Quarter for bringing in the record number of new customers for any individual pre-sales engineer. I was the international go-to consultant for data science on Spark and led initial stages of major projects at global banking clients.

Moved to product specialist role focusing on emerging innovative products like NiFi, Metron and Streaming products. The use cases we worked with customer ranged from cloud data migration to complex distributed IoT data collection, cyber security, and machine learning on big data sources.

Ran numerous well received international workshops, and supported other SEs in creating new business. HCC Guru level on community support site. Contributed code to core products through open source.

Came in from the field, returning to Product Management, taking a floundering product to a successful launch and revenue in under a year working closely with engineering, data scientists, and most of all customers.

Managed product development in a globally distributed engineering team, along with numerous customer and partner service delivery and engineering teams. Also interfaced with the full range of corporate functions from marketing to legal at the operational and senior executive level.

Ran commercial and technical enablement programmes, briefed analysts at Gartner, Forrester, IDC and 451, and determined go-to-market strategy and market positioning. Established thought leadership programme through speaking, blogging and press.

Aug 2012 - Oct 2014: Red Gate: Product Manager, Fledgling Markets and Head of Big Data

Charged with creating innovative new development tooling projects, and ultimately pitched and created a new mega-trend play in Big Data technology, running an integrated full stack team which developed and launched products into a new market.

Used pragmatic marketing, Jobs To Be Done and Design Thinking frameworks alongside formal Agile product development processes. Applied management techniques such as SLII.

May 2008 - Aug 2012: Metage Capital: Head of IT, London Hedge Fund Manager

Responsible for all infrastructure, managed process and contracts for multiple successful office relocations and drive towards cloud based computing services and VDI. Produced and maintained risk reporting, data management and accounting tools. Negotiated and managed service and vendor contracts with data providers, service, infrastructure and software vendors.

Mar 2005 - Apr 2008: Cromwell Business Systems: Infrastructure Manager

Architecture and management for web development team running multiple nation-wide e-commerce sites for end customers. Built out a platform for immutable server deployment, continuous delivery, and introduced standard testing practices. Designed and led implementation of resilient multi data centre architecture with automated failover with network and server orchestration.


  • Horton Hero: Innovation, Aug 2017 Hortonworks, Company wide peer nominated and executive awarded recognition for innovation
  • Presidents Club, Jan 2016 Hortonworks, recognition for highest number of global new logo sales in the year
  • International SE of the Quarter, Jun 2015, Hortonworks
  • International SE of the Quarter, Mar 2015, Hortonworks
  • Certified Spark Developer, Dec 2014, DataBricks and O’Reilly


  • London Big Data Week 2017
  • Mcubed London 2017
  • Hadoop and DataWorks Summit (Dublin 2016, San Jose 2016, Munich 2017, San Jose 2017, Sydney 2017)
  • O’Reilly Strata and Hadoop World (London 2015 and London 2016)
  • JavaOne - San Francisco 2014
  • …many many smaller conferences and meetups


  • 1998-2001: Cambridge University MA Hons
  • 1991–1998: Haileybury: A-level Maths (A), English (A), French (A), History (B), General Studies (A)

Other interests

I do a lot of open source development in my spare time, and enjoy tinkering with Raspberry Pis (, computer vision, home automation, D3 and visualisation.


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