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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. The value of money. What it’s like to work (actually

    work). Office jobs are great. Sacrifice.
  2. Aged 15–17. After-school job. Wanted to be an architect at

    the time. Retail and eventually ‘design’.
  3. 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…
  4. Aged 17–18. Tiny agency. All other dev work outsourced. Local

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

    professional. Parents told me not to leave…
  6. Time management. Accountability. How to deal with clients. The single

    biggest change in my life. Parents told me not to leave…
  7. Gave me a lot of free time. Provided a substantial

    payrise. Company got wound down. Parents stopped trying to offer advice.
  8. Go freelance! A lot of people suggested I go it

    alone. I was at a point where I safely could have…
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. “ ! ! ! ! …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
  12. “ ! ! ! ! ! ! …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
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Deciding to go it alone 24 July, 2013. A very,

    very well-considered decision. Did not want to rush a thing.
  16. Employee Reasonable job security. A good work–life balance. Provides stability.

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

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

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

    travel. Very high pressure. Few and far between.
  20. Work somewhere most people don’t Expose yourself to new things.

    Gain a competitive advantage over your peers.
  21. Capitalise on everything Work for a household name? Shout about

    it. Know something most people don’t? Charge for it.
  22. 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.
  23. Will you ever work
 for someone else? Never say never.

    There are a lot of years left ahead of us.
  24. ?

  25. 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.