Tomorrow, 5th of January 2015, I’m starting a new job – not for a client, but an actual new job. The place is called dRofus. I’m very excited about starting. It marks the end of my now soon 7 year career as a consultant and means I’m moving back to product development, which has been what I’ve done for the most of my career from 1994 till 2008. This gets me truly excited. I’m so much more a product developer than a consultant. I quite enjoy maintaining things over a long period. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing new things, but the idea of improving something over time is something I love.
Back in 1997 I started a company called Dolittle – basically as a freelance thing, something I did on my sparetime, developing products for different companies. Meanwhile working for different companies at day time, I kept this company dormant and activated it when I got opportunities I felt I had the time to do. In 2010 I took the final step; I swapped out my daytime job with the sparetime and really took the plunge and got long term contracts with clients leading me all the way to today. During this, Dolittle became 3 guys. The three of us hit it off on a project and decided to see what we could do together.
2014 has been a very hectic year, its the year I didn’t really have time to blog – even though it marked the 10th anniversary since I started my blog. The first half of 2014 was pretty much dedicated to getting a product for a client out the door and on its way to the users. Seeing that the contract for the 3 of us was coming to an end, we started looking around for new things to do. Our goal was a long term project that the 3 of us could be on together. While looking, I got a 6 month extension to the contract and we got a request for one of the others for a long term contract. On top of this we had a project we were all doing bits and pieces on for a client every so often. We had enough work, but still wanted to get the three of us onto the same project. At NDC in June we all went to try to create a bit of a buzz, got a few leads from it; but nothing concrete. The summer went and we started broadening our search, creating more material to show what we had done and what we represented. Still, projects we came over were for one person. In fact, the third of us picked up one of these ensuring. During our expansion, we started looking outside our geographical area; Vestfold – Norway. We knew that it was a tough market in that area, but we wanted to try it out first before expanding. The minute we expanded after the summer, it started picking up. After a few meetings we got great feedback from a few clients impressed with what we had achieved. During this, we were headhunted individually by different companies looking for resources. This completely threw us off. We knew we weren’t really the perfect fit for being consultants, as our focus has always been on the product in a longer perspective than consultants normally get to do. All of a sudden we found ourselves doing interviews and at a couple of places we were doing interviews all together, as they wanted the entire crew. Long story short, we got opportunities we could not say no to. Two of us (myself and Michael Smith) ended up accepting an offer from dRofus. Our third chap; Pavneet Singh Saund accepted an offer at a more local client, which makes totally sense for his situation.
What about Dolittle? Well, it will have to back into a dorment state. I’m not a person to give up, and I don’t see this move as giving up. It was just not meant to be right now. But who knows, that could change in the future. However, I hope if it changes that it changes to be a product and not back to being consultants.
In many ways, I think for my own sake that moving into a regular job right now is a really good move. I get to focus more on my kids than I have had for the last couple of years. I also get to focus more on other things I love, such as blogging, local dev-community work, writing books and more. I will also try to be more visible on stage and talk about topics I feel passionate about.
Bifrost and other projects
So, what happens with the open-source projects I’m involved in. Well, having clients that push the development forward has been a luxury for the projects we maintain. It really has had an excellent velocity due to this. That being said, I’ve already mentioned for my new employer that I’m part of a couple of projects and that I would be surprised if they wouldn’t fit in their products as well. My employer has said we will need to look into it in more depth. But it is most likely the most perfect timing to introduce Bifrost as they are looking at rewriting a lot of the product.
However, I am expecting to have a lot more time on my hand to maintain these projects now. They are projects that has been with me for quite some years now and I’m not about to give up on them. We’ve been very clear that we were never going to develop on the projects without a real business need and these would come from real projects. We do however know a lot more now than when we started and I’m expecting to go back and refactor things, make a few things more focused and also modernize a few things as well. In addition, there are needs we know about that we found on real projects that we have yet to implement – so these will be put in as well. But the overall vision will be maintained; don’t make things in the projects without a really well founded argument.
Wish me luck..