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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March 24, 2014 0

The perfect in-app help system… doesn’t exist. Yet.

I’ve been looking for a solution that would allow our support team to screen-share with customers when providing support. When you have non-technical users, there’s no point in asking for a screenshot, or technical specs, or asking them to walk you through the problem. You just need to see it. An ideal system would work […]

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March 20, 2014 0

Avoiding the Metrics Blackhole

I’ve been looking lots of various analytics services recently, particularly those for SaaS businesses that will calculate metrics, track events, and segment users. It’s a burgeoning industry. But there’s a problem: these services are all POST, POST, POST and no GET, GET, GET. Why is this a problem? I hate to break it to you […]

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March 19, 2014 0

Why I swam 2 miles this morning — the power of habits

Swimming a mile is as easy as packing a bag

Because I like it. True, although the first 1000m are pretty much torture and I can’t skip them. I have to swim the hardest lengths every single time. 30-60 minutes listening to the sounds of lapping water can be quite meditative and/or a bit like sensory deprivation depending on your point of view. In the […]

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March 6, 2014 0

A quick privacy audit of common web services

The issue of data protection and privacy was brought up recently so I’ve done a quick audit of our services to see which are compliant with the EU Safe Harbor standards. I’ve thought about this before but mostly at the superficial level (i.e., is the server hosting Safe Harbor compliant and/or hosted in the EU?) […]

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March 5, 2014 0

Mental and Physical Awareness for Programmers

Keyboard and Trackball

I was working a new office today which made me acutely aware of a few things going wrong. It’s taken years, fuck it, decades to get this awareness. Previously I’d have suffered along and only noticed weeks later when I had crippling pain. Distractions kill Flow I’m now working in a large open plan office […]

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March 5, 2014 0

The Questions to be Answered (by metrics)


I was listening to a great podcast on the Jobs to be Done Radio with Des Traynor when they started talking about web analytics (from 14min onwards). Consumption Analytics I’ve been looking at analytic tools a lot recently because I have a ton of questions. Who’s using the product? Which company has engaged with the […]

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February 24, 2014 3

Using Guard and Vagrant for Rails development

Background I do all my development in a Vagrant VM and it’s mostly a seamless experience — except when using I was using guard. guard listens to file changes and runs the matching specs — it’s invaluable when doing any test-driven development. But when guard was running inside Vagrant it wouldn’t receive the filesystem events […]

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February 24, 2014 0

No, but…

If you’re a consultant, freelancer, CTO, product manager, then your default answer to all requests should be: “No, but…” That sounds negative and obstreperous doesn’t it? I’ll explain (though rest assured, phrasing also matters — see later). If you’re a consultant, then you clients will often come to you with solutions: “The buttons need to […]

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February 13, 2014 1

Let’s be clear: Maximising time-in-app is hostile to users

They're not "slipping away", they're working

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can measure the value of a service to its users recently. This has led me to look at some ‘engagement’ metrics which often boil down to “how much time does the user spend on the site / in the app?”. The goal, apparently, is to get your […]

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February 1, 2014 0

Unhinged Founders are the best VC fodder

Seriously though, /I’ve/ never made money investing in steady, reasonable, well-adjusted founders. — says Chris Sacca Never make the mistake that a win for a VC is a net-win for the founders.

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