Bad Decisions

For some reason, my quality control this year on the jobs I’ve taken on has been very flawed.

Admittedly, with the current one I had my reservations from before I started – but what I’d been told about the product itself was sufficiently of interest to make me still want to work there for a while. Mind you, I hadn’t actually seen the product at that point – and it turns out that it’s not a fun product, and isn’t actually doing what I thought it was (or what was described to me pre-start)

Before that was the Cambridge contract, which was dire – but at least I stuck it out for the three month duration. Very much Not My Thing.

The previous bad one (also in Cambridge) was actually last year now, so I suppose it could’ve been worse, and at least I’ve been doing some fun stuff in between.

Usually it’s the case that the really bad ones lead to me looking around and being available for something really cool, so I’m vaguely optimistic about whatever’s coming next.

I just hope that’s the case this time. I’ve had enough of soul-destroying roles for the moment…


The current place has just launched a new product for their customers. They’re proud of it, and they’re flogging it now.

It’s been called “Alternative Reporting System for Executive Decisions”.

No-one – not one of ’em, not marketing, not the board, no-one – has realised what the acronym for this product is. And they’re launching it.

I could tell them. I can’t be arsed.

[I so wish I was making this up. But I’m not]

Minimum Viable Product

One of the buzzwords in the current (but please God, not much longer) workplace is “Minimum Viable Product“. It basically means “The customer gets what they’ve asked for, and nothing more”.  In other words, “Yeah, fuck it, that’ll do”.

It’s a good concept when a business is starting, when you’re writing the first versions, where it’s a product idea and you don’t know if it’ll work, and/or what’s going to be the popular or desired features. So you write the minimum to launch it, make things work without bells and whistles, and find out what people want. It stops you from diving down the wrong path (and yes, mixed metaphors, live with it) and wasting time that’s valuable, that could be better spent on creating the things people do want.

It’s great for a startup, for a new product.

It’s NOT great in any other eventuality, and particularly not for an established product with customers paying shedloads. It leads to inconsistencies, weird functionality, and general oddities. Buttons disappear, sections are different, and it’s all a bit amateur.  And that’s exactly what we’ve got.

But can you persuade them? Nope. It’s the buzzword, it’s How Things Must Be.

Which just isn’t healthy.

All Change (again)

Today is the last day of my current contract. It’s been a hectic (but pretty productive) month, and has given me some further pointers for where I want things to go in the longer-term for my own development projects and ideas.

In the meantime though, a change.

I’ve been offered a full-time permanent role with a tech company in Milton Keynes. It sits on a par with a lot of my longer-term ideas too, and should give me a decent grounding in some bits that have been missing from my recent CV. So it’s got its bonuses.

I have my reservations this time – about the company itself, rather than the work. The work doesn’t really concern me at all. The company does.

Since being put forward for the role, they’ve been – pushy, I think is the best way to describe it.

I did the phone interview on short notice – it’s fine, I’m used to that.

Then the interview request came through, for tomorrow. OK, I can move things around, arrange things for that to happen.  Then on the day they tell me “Oh, it’s likely to be two to three hours“.  Nice to be pre-warned, and lucky I hadn’t just said I’d do the interview in my lunch-hour…

That all went ok, and the offer was pretty much there. But they wanted to talk to me the next day, to have a final phone conversation. Again, it had to be Today. It had to be ASAP.  Pushy.

They know I’m working my ass off this week, closing the current contract. And still they’ve been pushing every damn day, “Have you done the paperwork” “Will you be starting“.

The paperwork didn’t even arrive ’til yesterday. I’ve said I want to read through the contract, make sure I know the deal and what’s on offer before I sign to start.  And I’m working. So I got the paperwork at 12, in the end. By 3pm they were calling again, “We want to confirm you’ll be starting on Monday“.

I’ll start with them. But if they keep up this kind of bullshit pushy “We’re important” attitude, they’ll be told to fuck off before very long at all.

So yeah, I’ve got some reservations. The pros (currently) outweigh the cons, but it’s not by much. We’ll see.

Year End

Here we are, at the end of 2013. It’s been an eventful old year, what with one thing and another.

In no particular order – and probably leaving out a load of lesser stuff – my 2013 has consisted of…

  • Having Mondeo kill itself in the outside lane of the M1 – always an interesting experience
  • Renting a Renault Megane for two weeks – the shittest car it’s ever been my displeasure to drive
  • Buying the Saab as a replacement for Mondeo, and it’s done well so far.  Handing back the Megane was also an absolute joy
  • Countless meetings all over the country
  • Completing my bankruptcy period – it stays on the record for four more years, but it’s discharged now
  • Being made redundant from the job I started the year with
  • Going back to contracting and
    • getting the first job I applied for – indeed, they offered it to me at the interview, and wanted me to start immediately
    • And the second – although it turned out to be shit
    • And indeed the third – on that one they offered after phone interview, without even meeting me
  • Forming my new company, which will start trading from mid-January
  • Sorting out an ISA savings account – which actually has some money in it!
  • Continued writing, and getting some ideas out onto keyboard/paper – time will tell how successful that stays
  • Been able to purchase some stuff I didn’t have in the new house – like a proper bed-frame, etc.
  • Caught up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in far too long
  • Attended two weddings – and another one’s already booked for 2014

All told, it’s been pretty busy, somewhat hectic, highly changeable, and not a bad year at all. Sure, things could have been better/smoother, but when all things are considered, I’d say it’s been a positive year.

2013 : Final Third

So here we are, the start of September. Which means we’re two-thirds of the way through the year. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

For me, the first two thirds of the year have been more about staying stable, getting stuff done, getting things in place and ready for whatever comes next. It’s been pretty successful: I’ve got through the bankruptcy period,, I’m pretty settled on location and house for the moment, and  I’ve changed jobs, with all the fun that entails. (Oh, and got some pretty good contacts and future opportunities from people within ex-employer)  It’s looking pretty positive.

But now it’s time to step things up a bit. There are things I want to do, or at least want to start, and see how they work out. The plans and ideas are there, but now it’s implementation time.  (Yeah, I know, heard it all before)  I’m not saying they’ll all work, I’m not even saying they’ll all get out of the starting gate – but I want to at least try.

For this next period there’s really three main projects going on, alongside the general gradual development/sorting of finances, which is now just an ongoing process. The other three are :

  1. Health / Fitness
  2. Project Development
  3. Writing

Pretty self-explanatory, I think. But a bit more detail…

Health / Fitness

One of the goals for 2013 has been to improve fitness, improve health, and lose weight. So far it’s kind-of happened, but not properly. I’ve been going to the gym, but it’s not really working for me – and even less so when it’s now in the exactly opposite direction to where I’m going for work…  So it’s time to rethink (again) and get back into doing something. I’m not yet sure what it’ll be, we’ll see. There’s a couple of ideas, anyway.

Project Development

As always, I’ve got some ideas for some web-based businesses. I think I’ve now got the overall plan, so it’s time to see how things work out. The primary ideas are all based round a particular theme this time, so who knows, it might actually work out. I’m aiming to get the main sections for the first significant project written by the end of the year. Maybe more, with a bit of luck, but I’d like to be ready to get it launched in early 2014 and see where things go from there.


Similar to the above, I’ve got two ideas that I want to get into some kind of shape over the next four months. I think that’s a reasonable timescale. We’ll see.

So yeah, the next four months ’til the end of the year should be quite interesting. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway…





OK, it’s only a (very) short-term thing – ten days all told – but it’ll pay the bills for another couple of months, so I’m happy.

Basically, the interview was arranged yesterday for 12 noon today. I got there, we talked, and they decided on the spot to take me on.  Even better, for most of it I can work from home, which makes things even more acceptable.

And I’m also lined up for second interview next week on one I phone-interviewed for this week.

Yes indeed, things are looking peachy right now.