Meet the Turboteers: Dinotash

What makes OpenCorporates strong is the community of talented and committed botwriters and data hunter who volunteer their time to contribute open data. Our bot writers or as we call them, Turboteers, work in their free time, to understand complex data sources, solving problems and writing scrapers to extract it. This is crucial to our mission of making company data transparent. In the Meet the Turboteers series, you’ll get a chance to meet them.

dinotash Hello! I’m Tom and I work in London as a forensic accountant. That means I investigate cases of fraud and misconduct, as well as helping to work out what caused complex accounting problems. I’ve also helped analyse corporate structures to identify who has control, and helped to advise on financial aspects in high court litigation. Before all that, I lived in Edinburgh and studied philosophy.
I’ve written 14 bots for OpenCorporates since January, scraping information on financial licences from regulators’ websites – most recently, for Afghanistan. I can’t remember how I found the OpenCorporates missions page, but I thought it was something I could contribute to. I just wish I had picked an easier challenge to start with – my first bot was the hardest I’ve done!
I first started coding at a young age. My dad was a computing teacher and started me on BASIC on an Amiga 600 when I was around five. I’m not sure I really understood what I was doing, and didn’t really keep it up, but something seems to have stuck. As a teenager I picked up some basic PHP and SQL to make websites, and then picked up javascript and python during and after uni. I’ve found writing bots to be an excellent way to brush up and extend my skills.
And when I’m not doing all of that, I’m currently learning to drive, like making jam, can speak passable Swedish, and have just had a lovely holiday in Portugal.
Say hello if you see me on Slack (@dinotash)!