in startup

does your employer suck?

So you slog your guts out each day programming away, typing faster and faster, writing tests and more test, refactor after refactor, then after five years you think to yourself: “Screw this! I’m doing all this work for Mr Somebody and I’m getting jack shit in return”. Then before you know it you’ve said those inimitable words “I’m going to start my own business”.

Yeah yeah, we’ve all heard it before. The very next day you go back to typing, you end up getting married, you have kids, and you die.

If my business model was that I got a £1 (or $1 – I’m not fussy) for every developer I’ve heard say this then I’d currently be sitting in my winter home in Sydney Australia – rather than cycling my ass down to work every day in sub-zero temperatures. In fact, I’d have contributed much of my wealth from my own contributions.

So why do we do this? I mean, for sure, we developers certainly think we can run a business better than our employers – remember how you tell yourself that every day – so why do so few developers start their own?

To be honest, this is maybe not so much the case in the USA, or in Silicon Valley at least. The Valley seems to bring out the spirit in people to follow through with these ventures, so why can we not harness the same spirit here in the UK?

Over here people frequently talk about it but never do it, and yes I’m one of those people. We need more people doing it here in the UK. It can work as well. Check out Redgate Software, they not only create great products, but they also help other startups. It’s almost like Silicon Valley in Cambridge – OK, I took that one a little too far.

Realistically, to give our economy a brighter future, we need to improve things. I know everyone can’t do it, but everyone wants to work in a cool place that treats their staff well, right? So those who think they have got it stand-up. I’m sure their must be plenty of you?

So the next time you are moaning about your job, spend the time thinking about a product or a service that would be great, get some balls and create your own “thing”. I know I’m going to – well I just made myself look like a fool with this rant if I don’t try and it’s kind of why I done it.

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  1. I know how much you love microsoft, but I thought it was worth mentioning there BizSpark and WebSpark programs. Essentially you get 3 years free access to a lot of stuff that microsoft put out for developers plus you get teamed with another company who can help with everything from hosting projects to business advice etc.

    Not a bad deal if you ask me.

  2. Hi Colin,

    Yeah I had looked at the BizSpark thing in the past. It is a very good deal. My only concern with it is that overheads with SQL Server when the grace period comes to an end. I’ve been working with Ruby and Mysql quite a bit recently in work and I’m (gradually) thinking it’s a pretty cool combination. That said, I’m thinking about doing stuff with the matching algorithms, and when it comes to things like that it’s more in the field of C#. Or maybe even a little Scala – just can’t bare to go down the Java route.