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 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)

Kinsale

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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February 1, 2014 0

What are you passionate about?

Avdi wrote an excellent rant about the use of the word ‘passionate’. Go read it, it’s brilliant. I was at WebSummit in 2012 and I’d just walked around the floor for the first time. I was already shell-shocked by the gazillion social media startups and other assorted companies with impossible revenue models. And then, when […]

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February 1, 2014 0

The Engineering Spectrum

Example Engineers

There are lots of ways to characterise and evaluate engineers but I like to think of us along a single spectrum. At one end is electronics, binary code, assembler, registers and interrupts. At the other end of the spectrum is graphic design, art, photoshop, user experience, etc. Ok, you’re quickly going to point out that […]

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January 29, 2014 0

Implementing User Settings with Rails 3.2, Postgres and Apartment

ok, so I’ll actually be talking about Company settings, not User settings. You get the idea. I needed to start storing some per-company configuration settings in a client app. I could obviously start adding columns to the Company table but these settings will: a) change over time; b) only apply to a few companies (the […]

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