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Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner?

Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner?

Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner? at DotYork, York. May 2014.

The theme of the day at DotYork was a ‘Leap of Faith’. As such, this is my first non-technical talk I’ve ever given, and it deals with my recent move toward—and the decisions behind—going it alone as a consultant.


Harry Roberts

May 01, 2014

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  1. Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner? DotYork: May, 2014

  2. Harry Roberts Consultant Front-end Architect

  3. A Leap of Faith

  4. About me Front-end Architect. Self-employed. Consultant (not freelance).

  5. This isn’t about me

  6. The story so far

  7. None
  8. None
  9. None
  10. None
  11. Aged 12–15. Parents’ company. Manual, exhausting labour. During the school

    holidays. Long days for low pay.
  12. The value of money. What it’s like to work (actually

    work). Office jobs are great. Sacrifice.
  13. None
  14. Aged 15–17. After-school job. Wanted to be an architect at

    the time. Retail and eventually ‘design’.
  15. How to deal with people. The public suck. Learned what

    I wanted to be. How to be the Tea Boy… …and how to work your way up. Parents told me not to leave…
  16. None
  17. Aged 17–18. Tiny agency. All other dev work outsourced. Local

    clients (who I never spoke to). £5.60/hr.
  18. How to work in a team. How to be a

    professional. Parents told me not to leave…
  19. None
  20. Aged 18–19. First full-time job. Great clients. Lots of fun.

    Amazing people.
  21. Time management. Accountability. How to deal with clients. The single

    biggest change in my life. Parents told me not to leave…
  22. None
  23. Aged 19–20. Real-life Dragons’ Den. Bizarre.

  24. Gave me a lot of free time. Provided a substantial

    payrise. Company got wound down. Parents stopped trying to offer advice.
  25. Now what?

  26. None
  27. Now what? I had Twitter followers. I was writing articles.

    I was getting ‘known’.
  28. Go freelance!

  29. Go freelance! A lot of people suggested I go it

    alone. I was at a point where I safely could have…
  30. Go freelance! …but I didn’t.

  31. None
  32. Aged 20–23. Product. Big teams. Culture shock.

  33. Git. Process. Business-critical applications. Ops. Architecture.

  34. I learned more about my career at Sky than I

    did anywhere else…
  35. …and I almost never went.

  36. Things I learned The problems large companies face. The technical

    issues large products encounter. How to build and maintain products. How to be a better developer.
  37. I could never have gone consultancy without Sky.

  38. Now I know… Things that a lot of companies don’t.

    Where a lot of companies are heading. How to prioritise and deal with business decisions. How to write more scalable code. I can sell all of this knowledge to other people.
  39. It taught me how little I know

  40. Dunning–Kruger Effect

  41. “ ! ! ! ! …the miscalibration of the incompetent

    stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”
 — David Dunning & Justin Kruger
  42. “ ! ! ! ! ! ! …there are known

    knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know.” ! — Donald Rumsfeld
  43. Stay Aware Of How Little You Know

  44. Every time I learn something new, I make a mental

    note of that fact. It reminds me that I’m not as smart as I thought I was.
  45. It all adds up

  46. It all adds up Labourer for no money in the

    p*ssing rain Tea Boy and retail worker Junior Designer at a husband–wife company Agency Developer at a well-respected agency Bored Developer at a bizarre VC firm Senior Developer at BSkyB Consultant for whoever needs me
  47. Even sh*t jobs are pretty good for you

  48. Deciding to go it alone

  49. Deciding to go it alone 24 July, 2013. A very,

    very well-considered decision. Did not want to rush a thing.
  50. None
  51. None
  52. A Leap of Faith

  53. A Leap of Faith

  54. A Carefully Considered and Well Thought out Transition of Faith…

  55. None
  56. Aged 23+. Heavily specialised. Amazing clients.

  57. None
  58. The hardest work I’ve ever done. Stressful beyond measure. Exhausting

    but rewarding. Lucrative but risky.
  59. Know what you want to be

  60. Employee vs.

  61. I chose consultant

  62. Employee Reasonable job security. A good work–life balance. Provides stability.

    Most companies offer decent benefits. Can get repetitive. Can be limiting.
  63. Freelancer Plenty of variety. Lots of freedom. Get to pick

    your own clients. Have to find your own work.
  64. Contractor More security than a freelancer. Better paid than a

    full time employee. A large commitment. Often seen as hired help.
  65. Consultant Potentially very lucrative. Can be very varied. Get to

    travel. Very high pressure. Few and far between.
  66. Work somewhere most people don’t

  67. Work somewhere most people don’t Expose yourself to new things.

    Gain a competitive advantage over your peers.
  68. Capitalise on everything

  69. Capitalise on everything Work for a household name? Shout about

    it. Know something most people don’t? Charge for it.
  70. Take advantage of someone else’s time…

  71. …and money.

  72. Take advantage of someone else’s time The right company will

    invest in its employees… …take advantage of that! Learn from colleagues while they’re there. Companies want to develop and train their staff… …clients want to hire people who are already trained.
  73. Will you ever work
 for someone else?

  74. Probably

  75. Will you ever work
 for someone else? Never say never.

    There are a lot of years left ahead of us.
  76. ?

  77. The lessons? There is no rush. Take advantage of where

    you are right now. Be aware of your limits… …and then fill those gaps in. Always be open to the idea that you do not know everything. Remain prudent. Capitalise on everything.
  78. Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner?

  79. Definitely not.

  80. Thank you Harry Roberts csswizardry.com @csswizardry