Monday 16 May 2011

Say hello to a hatchling: Seaturtle Software Ltd is born

Baby Sea TurtleTwo months ago I handed in my notice. One month later, Seaturtle Software Ltd was hatched. I shepherded its dash to the ocean. And now I hold the reigns as it begins a journey in the vast ocean that is the international software industry.

To put it another way, I now own a software start-up.

And what a surprise that is. Three years ago I was in negotiations with my boss looking for a way to escape the slippery slide into management. Today I’m a business owner.

What changed?

Recession, and a radical restructuring changed the landscape at the company where I worked. Of all the former employees, I was the only one remaining. I stayed to make a last-ditch attempt to launch the product we’d been working on for two years. But it was not to be.

The directors and I explored several avenues for re-building the business. Eight happy and fulfilling years I’d worked for them, starting two weeks after I completed my Degree (my honeymoon occupied the interval). In that time they’ve given me fantastic opportunities to grow as a person and a software developer. I was hesitant to move on from a relationship that has blessed me so well for so long. But in the last couple of months I’ve come to realise that I have the skills to go it alone. And I’ve discovered that my taste in challenges has diversified beyond the merely technical.

Most importantly, I learned that starting and running a business is not as scary as you might think. Creating a company is just a legal formality (you can do it online for much less than £100). There are clever websites backed by smart accountants who will handle your book-keeping and tax returns for a very reasonable fee. The wonders of cloud computing provide infrastructure on demand.

All I need is a quiet room, a desk, a PC – and some bright ideas.

So Seaturtle Software is open for business.

Consulting will be my initial line of work, specialising in the things you know me for here on Functional Fun. So if you have a knotty WPF problem to solve, a tricky algorithm to implement, or simply want a leg-up with your UI Automation testing strategy, get in touch.

Thursday 12 May 2011

Congratulations to the Winners of the WP7 Competition

So after a delay of more than a month, and some speculation that the judges might have taken the 3 x $10,000 kitty and done a runner, Red Gate have finally announced the winners of the Windows Phone 7 App Competition.

Sadly, Simon Squared, my little puzzle game wasn’t amongst the finalists.

But congratulations to Richard Fennell, Simon McKenzie, and Mark Rendle who scooped a prize each.

I was particular impressed with Mark Rendle’s app, Pocket C# which lets you write code on your phone (syntax highlighting and all), then uses a Windows Azure back-end to compile and run it. Perfect for racking up your StackOverflow rep on the move.