3 min read

The last two years

The last two years

I'm leaving Bristol and Sparkol. The last two years have been such an incredibly blessing and journey. I've met many great people, grown personally, and learned so much about my craft.

I've been struggling to write about this for a while. My first attempt was a huge chronological look at events, the second was to split that into a short series, and the third just isn't worth mentioning. Instead, I think a couple short lists might be a more refined way of presenting what I've learned and experienced over the last two years.

All of this is just my opinions and feelings, tweet me if you want to disagree and we can talk!

Things I've learned

  • I know so little about anything and everything. This isn't really a revelation but it's something that keeps coming up.
  • University won't prepare you for anything until you've been in the industry for a little while. Only then do you gain the lens to see what you should be learning. At that point you get to look back and see the real lessons that you wish you'd identified earlier.
  • Products should always focus on the customer, otherwise they will suck.
  • Business lead engineering can only work when the business treats the engineers like any other professional.
  • Engineering lead businesses generally produce far better products.
  • Teaching is a great experience, but doing it well is really hard.
  • Developers should be able to design to a reasonable extent.
  • Designers should be able to develop to a reasonable extent.
  • Watching people grow and building them up is really exciting.
  • Engineers are responsible for the code, no one else.
  • "Business people" know more than developers give them credit for.
  • You will suffocate good people if you don't give them trust, ownership, and freedom to work.
  • Praising through the bad situations is a command, not a request. It's hard but it also helps keep proper perspective on the situation.
  • Healthy conflict can brew and refine some of the best ideas, concepts, and views on any topic.
  • Some people thrive in a startup, others thrive in larger organisations.
  • Marketing and PR is really really hard.
  • Over thinking situations is one of the worst traps to fall into. But it's actually very easy to put an end to it, but it does take courage.
  • I suck at writing, but the only way to get better is to keep doing it.

Things I've loved

This is the bit where I get to say all the wonderful things I've experienced this year and have enjoyed!

  • Connecting with my new church family at Severn Vineyard! I'm going to miss them all so much, the student group in particular.
  • Meeting and growing with my small group, TPR. You won't get rid of me that easily though, I'm sure I'll be back to visit when I can. You're all very honestly some of the greatest people I've met and I can't wait to see where your journey takes you next.
  • Learning from some very talented developers, designers, and business folk.
  • Registering a company with my new business partner Ry Stevenson.
  • Building products and talking to customers to solve real problems.
  • My exploration into web tech, I'm a bit of a convert.
  • While it's not finished yet, The Bristol Ball has been one of the most enjoyable projects I've worked on over the past two years. I'm totally convinced that's because of a passionate, talented, and loving team. Expect a post with more details on this pretty soon.

People I'm thankful for

I'd like to thank especially these people, in no particular order, for everything!

  • Ry Stevenson - I feel obligated to thank the best friend for listening to my drivel.
  • Dan Bendell - A stellar housemate and my Sparkol partner in crime.
  • Severn Vineyard - For cultivating a community that I can call my family.
  • TPR Small Group - For both support and prayer through some tough times, as well as some great laughs.
  • My parents and brother- For unending support.
  • The Bristol Ball team - For being a well oiled, yet messy, machine.
  • Chris Heseltine - For conducting and partaking in the most gruelling peer reviews of my life.
  • Sparkol - For the chance to learn and prove myself.
  • Jon Air - For taking a chance on me back in 2013.
  • Extended family - For support and prayer with everything I've attempted.
  • Tom Haigh, Peter Bridger, and Ben Paul - For showing me what real software engineers look like.