I've relapsed. I swore I'd never do it again, but I have. I've accepted a full time job.
I've been running happtic for just over 2 years now, and it's been quite lucrative. I've managed to get a small, but reliable base of repeat/ongoing direct clients, and developed some applications that have done very well. I've only taken on 2 non-direct contracts in that period, so am happy with how that's worked out. Overall, I'd say the business has been successful in terms of providing my family with a relatively good income. Sure, having a stable income, holidays, superannuation etc will be great, but that's not why I've taken the job.
The main issue I've been struggling with in running happtic is growth. I wanted to turn happtic into a larger business, providing technical consulting and development service with a team of 10 or so. I haven't been able to get enough volume of projects/clients to warrant taking on any extra staff (apart from that time I hired a graduate/entry level developer, and he called in sick on his first day and never got in touch with me again).
I've learnt that there are things I'm good at, and things I'm not good at. I'm great at systems architecture, technical strategy, software design, and development. What I'm not good at is cold business development. Once someone is at the door, the conversion rate is high, but getting them to the door is hard for me to orchestrate.
Joining a larger organisation, with a pre-existing client base and sales team helps me meet my goals of leading a technology team, in a position of influence in an organisation. One key thing that I remember from a corporate management training course many years ago is that in companies (and in real life), the path to achieving a desired outcome may not be the path you expect. If you can recognize that the outcome is what you are after, there are many paths that can take you there, so you shouldn't be precious about how you get the outcome, as long as you get that outcome. The outcome I'm after is to lead a technology focussed team of people, providing development, consulting, and technical strategy services, and that's what this job is.
I'll be working as "Director of Mobile" for Simple Machines. The job will involve setting up and leading a mobile development team, as well as an office, here in Melbourne.
One particularly exciting thing about the job is the split between client and product work. Simple Machines have clients, as well as their (our!) own products and investments in startups, so there will be varied work which is great. I find working on a single product can feel a bit stale after a while, so having a mix of client and product work will definitely help with that, but also provide the satisifaction you get from growing and evolving a system over time.
If you're looking for any mobile app development (iOS, Android, WP, any platform) or development of complex, high performance, scalable applications, get in touch [email protected]