Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Dillon Van Auken (Vegas Project Lead & Remote COps Team Lead)

Note : All Monzo Q&As to date can be found here :grinning:


Forum family, what the heck is up? I request the highest of fives! :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:t3:

Another week has passed in Earth Time. Here on this planet, that means 7 days. Since all of us here are native to this planet, with the notable exception of @TheWatcher, we felt it was appropriate to use that system. Still - for extra growth we’d be open to supporting different planets with Monzo, as and when that time comes :wink:

To the stars!


Still, as much as we’d like to expand across the universe, it’s important to first take baby steps as per the needs of the business and what-not. All that funk and all that jazz.

And take steps we have. You all found out last week that we’ve opened our Vegas office!


And, we’re super amped about the progress. It’s been a wild ride. Back in April, a small group of us flew out to Sin City to turn an empty office space into a happy, vibrant, Hot Coral space for our first group of American Monzonauts. But, NONE of this would have been possible without our very FIRST American Monzonaut.

The man. The legend. In the Hot Coral Hot Seat™️ this week, I am super proud to present… Dillon Van Auken!


Here’s a sneaky one I took in the Vegas Office. Yes! Your first look at the Vegas office, although in the background… Maybe if you ask nicely, Dillon will share some more :wink:


Before we get into it, catch up on all the previous Q&A’s here!

Click here to see all previous Q&As

Week 1 : Chris MacLean, Customer Operations & Vulnerable Customers :santa:t2:

Week 2 : James Nicholson, iOS Engineer :green_apple:

Week 3 : Tara Mansfield, People Operations Manager :woman_technologist:t5::man_technologist:t3:

Week 4 : James Routley, Backend Engineer :hammer_and_wrench:

Week 5 : Hugh Wells, Customer Operations :policeman:t3:‍♂

Week 6 : Naz Malik, Technical Specialist :computer:

Week 7 : Fred Morgan, COps Squad Captain (Calls & Social Media) :telephone_receiver:

Week 8 : Emma Northcott, COps Scaling Team :balance_scale:

Week 9 : Jarno Wolf, COps Financial Crime Specialist & Squad Captain :wolf:

Week 10 : Maria Campbell, Head of People :woman_office_worker:t2::man_office_worker:t4:

Week 11 : Jim Amey, Night COps Captain :bat: :crescent_moon:

Week 12 : Richard Cook, Online Community Manager :man_cook:

Week 13 : Beatrice Borbon, Content & Press Manager :newspaper:

Week 14 : Tom Blomfield, CEO :crown:

Week 15 : Ella Johanny, COps/Hiring :handshake:

Week 16 : Harry Ashbridge, Writer :writing_hand:t3:

Week 17 : Beth Scott, Overnight COps :cat2:

Week 18 : Georgie Parmenter, Executive Assistant to the Founders :blonde_woman:

Week 19 : Vulnerable Customers Team :sunflower:

Week 20 : Leah Templeman, Interim VP People :sun_with_face:

Week 21 : Daniel Chatfield, Backend Engineer, Fincrime & Security :closed_lock_with_key:

Week 22 : Valerio Magliulo, Product Manager - Revenue Team :money_with_wings:

Week 23 : Sam Watkin, Operations Analyst :thinking:

Week 24 : Kieran McHugh, Backend Engineer :desktop_computer:

Week 25 : Jonas Huckestein, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer :computer_mouse:

Week 26 : Annual Report Edition with Tristan Thomas and Julie Oey :calendar:

Week 27 : Zander Brade, Lead Product Designer :pencil2:

Week 28 : Richard Dingwall, Payments Engineer :moneybag: :wrench:

Week 29 : Oliver Beattie, Head of Engineering (Reliability Report Special) :watch:

Week 30 : Bruno Vaz Moço, Product Manager (Scalers Team) :balance_scale:

All done? Sorted!

So, let me tell you a lil bit about Dillon.

He was our first ever remote worker, joining in May 2016 to lead a team of mostly UK based Remote Workers (including me - for my first 18 months or so at Monzo, I worked 7pm-4am). We were a small but very effective team. As we grew, we hired lots more night workers, and so we separated into several Night Squads! Each squad has it’s own Squad Captain who look after the people in it, and then Dillon became the Squad Captain Manager - so he looks after the Squad Captains and therefore has a huge responsibility over the Night team overall.

As if that wasn’t enough work on it’s own, back in 2017 we began to discuss the idea of opening a US office for operations. We found that we struggled to hire for Night hours compared to Day - quite a few of our night team hires ended up moving to earlier shifts, as it’s not easy to maintain for many folks. Having an operational office 8 hours behind the UK would solve that problem, and so at the beginning of this year we ramped up the speed and moved forward with Project Elvis, as it was then known! Dillon was the obvious person to lead this project from the start since he’s based in LA, only a few hours drive away.

It’s no exaggeration to say the project couldn’t have happened without him. The amount of work it takes to lead a team to start a new project in a country that you’ve never operated in before is absolutely insane. And he’s done a truly stellar job!

Fun Fact About Dillon :

“I played drums on stage with Green Day in front of 20,000 people when I was 12”

His fave thing about working at Monzo?

“The people - an amazing mix of brilliance and compassion”

You know the score!

Get your questions in and Dillon will be here later in the week to answer them (and maybe share some more pics of the Vegas office) :wink: :grinning:


How did a US Native start working for a UK challenger bank?


Have you seen any surprises in the way we do our banking over here compared to the US?

Any thoughts on pineapple :pizza:?


What song did you do when you were on stage with Green Day? :star_struck:


Have any customers picked up on/ commented on any “Americanisms” from you/ the team?

Are there any concepts or processes in UK banking that proved challenging/ elusive for the US team to understand during your experience in training (eg maybe because it’s totally unheard of, it is done in an entirely different way, etc)?


Is the Monzo word starting to spread at all in the US, are there people that know what they are doing here in the UK?

Do you think there’s a US company that could compete with Monzo?

What do you feel the American banking system does better over the U.K. system?


Cats or dogs? (Added pressure as you’re setting our perception of everyone in America here :wink:)


Beer or wine? :joy: Both as an answer doesn’t count. You must like one more than the other! :joy:

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Colour or color?

Why aluminum?!

Do you find yourself using British terms when you do your own banking?


Do you think the US banking system is ready for a bank as slick as Monzo, or do you think it might need some modernisation? I remember when I lived there and tried to make an internet payment, the Citi website sent them a cheque! Also the US seems to have gone from swipe and PIN, back to signatures, and is now starting to get back to swipe and PIN again! They do seem to rely a lot more on cheques generally too…

Oh and I’ve just received my shiny new UK-based Citi corporate card. It’s not contactless…


Do you count Wales as abroad?


OK another one…Who is the partner you use for setting up new centres? How much do they do compared to what is left to you?

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What challenges do you think Monzo will face coming to the US?

Depending how much time you have to answer… Could you explain a bit about how the US system works in comparison? What are the main features, do they have their own version of Faster Payments, BACS to pay salary in or Direct debits? I hear you have something called wire transfers and that the system is rather fragmented compared to the U.K. :man_shrugging:t3:


Received my new Corporate Citi card yesterday and it is contactless. I had given up hope they would ever be!

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Oh cool! Maybe I’ll order a new one…

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Do you and the rest of the team find anything perticularly challenging because of your location (miles away from Monzo in London)?

How quickly do you envisage the team expanding?

How do you all feel about the fact you can’t officially use the product you support?

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Do you tell people in US that UK has a better bank than all of US banks.

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What’s the one thing that you’d do differently if we were setting up Vegas right now, but with all the knowledge we’ve gained from actually doing it? :grinning:

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Would I be able to tell the difference if I am chatting to a person in US COps team? Are they fully up to date with British English and grammar :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


How easy is it to be motivated by working on a product/service you may never (at the moment) see in use in your daily life?