Jamie's Weblog

Lessons of a startup CTO — and other things

Here I am!

Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence

I help non-technical founders start their business, build their product, get their first customers, and grow their technical team. I'm a generalist software engineer and I've worked with many different languages over the past 15 years but my current tool of choice is Ruby on Rails. I'm also an enthusiastic photographer and a novice archer

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April 8, 2015 0

Zapier Marketing Automation for Consultants

Final System

I’m rebuilding my consulting site as part of a wider process of marketing my services. One crucial part is how people contact me: I like to have a form because the typical emails I get are usually pretty vague, leading to even more vague and confusing initial conversations. From: bill-the-guy@gmail.com Hi, I’m building a startup […]

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April 7, 2015 0

Rebuilding my Consulting Site — from scratch

Ideas Asylum

I’ve tried themes. Lots of themes. I always start with a theme and often customise it until it’s barely recognisable. I was on my third theme for my consulting site and it really wasn’t speaking to me. It was busy. It used all the modern things like large hero images with coloured/blurred overlays, feature blocks, […]

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February 3, 2015 0

SSL the easy way


A long time ago I wrote up how to setup SSL with Rails 3.2, nginx and NameCheap. That will forever be known as “the hard way”. I still need to do things the hard way with my current project but for all new projects I’m going to take one of the easier paths. Note, I […]

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January 23, 2015 1

Default has_one instances in Rails without the performance hit

2015-01-23 at 22.07

My first ill-fated attempt A while ago, I added an optional profile object for our users. I thought, in my haste, that the easiest way to provide an default profile instance would be like this: class User < ActiveRecord::Base has_one :profile after_initialize :default_profile def default_profile self.build_profile unless self.profile end end This would build a new […]

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November 23, 2014 0

Schema vs Query-based Multitenancy

2014-11-23 at 23.17

Most SaaS application are “multi-tenancy” to some extent (i.e., host more than one customer on the same system) but typically the term is reserved for apps that have company accounts, each with multiple users, authorisations etc. These companies would like to believe that company.mywebapp.com is their instance of MyWebApp and that you’ve lovingly prepared and […]

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November 13, 2014 0

When you hire them, their problems are your problems

2014-11-13 at 22.08

As a young corporal in the Air Training Corps, one of the most valuable lessons I learnt was: You can delegate responsibilty but you cannot delegate accountability What does that mean? It means that when you delegate a task to a subordinate, you give them the responsiblity and the authority to get it done. When […]

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November 2, 2014 2

Can your entrepreneurial need be satisfied working for someone else?


I was listening to a recent episode of the Fizzle show where they announced the departure of one of their team. Caleb was a founding member of Fizzle but is leaving to start his own business, and it prompted them to ask: Can you be satisfied, entrepreneurially, in a company, if you’re not in charge? […]

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October 23, 2014 0

The Ruby in Rails

2014-10-20 at 17.04

Back in August I did a short talk at Corkdev about the features of Ruby that make Rails so easy to work with. The aim was to show off Rails to a general tech audience but without being all preachy about it. So instead I flew through the actual Rails stuff and then looked at […]

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October 20, 2014 2

Generating a hierarchical graph with Rails & Javascript

2014-10-20 at 21.50

At WorkCompass, we can import a .csv file of employees from a customer but, as anyone who’s done anything with CSV files knows, you need a lot of validation to make sure the data is clean. Among the automated checks are some manual things like “these are the email domains used, are you sure they’re […]

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