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Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner?

Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner?

Don’t You Wish You’d Done It Sooner? at DotYork, York. May 2014.

The theme of the day at DotYork was a ‘Leap of Faith’. As such, this is my first non-technical talk I’ve ever given, and it deals with my recent move toward—and the decisions behind—going it alone as a consultant.

Harry Roberts

May 01, 2014
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  1. Don’t You Wish
    You’d Done It Sooner?
    DotYork: May, 2014

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  2. Harry Roberts
    Consultant Front-end Architect

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  3. A Leap of Faith

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  4. About me
    Front-end Architect.
    Self-employed.
    Consultant (not freelance).

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  5. This isn’t about me

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  6. The story so far

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  7. Aged 12–15.
    Parents’ company.
    Manual, exhausting labour.
    During the school holidays.
    Long days for low pay.

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  8. The value of money.
    What it’s like to work (actually work).
    Office jobs are great.
    Sacrifice.

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  9. Aged 15–17.
    After-school job.
    Wanted to be an architect at the time.
    Retail and eventually ‘design’.

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  10. How to deal with people.
    The public suck.
    Learned what I wanted to be.
    How to be the Tea Boy…
    …and how to work your way up.
    Parents told me not to leave…

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  11. Aged 17–18.
    Tiny agency.
    All other dev work outsourced.
    Local clients (who I never spoke to).
    £5.60/hr.

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  12. How to work in a team.
    How to be a professional.
    Parents told me not to leave…

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  13. Aged 18–19.
    First full-time job.
    Great clients.
    Lots of fun.
    Amazing people.

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  14. Time management.
    Accountability.
    How to deal with clients.
    The single biggest change in my life.
    Parents told me not to leave…

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  15. Aged 19–20.
    Real-life Dragons’ Den.
    Bizarre.

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  16. Gave me a lot of free time.
    Provided a substantial payrise.
    Company got wound down.
    Parents stopped trying to offer advice.

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  17. Now what?
    I had Twitter followers.
    I was writing articles.
    I was getting ‘known’.

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  18. Go freelance!

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  19. Go freelance!
    A lot of people suggested I go it alone.
    I was at a point where I safely could have…

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  20. Go freelance!
    …but I didn’t.

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  21. Aged 20–23.
    Product.
    Big teams.
    Culture shock.

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  22. Git.
    Process.
    Business-critical applications.
    Ops.
    Architecture.

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  23. I learned more about my
    career at Sky than I did
    anywhere else…

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  24. …and I almost
    never went.

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  25. Things I learned
    The problems large companies face.
    The technical issues large products encounter.
    How to build and maintain products.
    How to be a better developer.

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  26. I could never have gone
    consultancy without Sky.

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  27. Now I know…
    Things that a lot of companies don’t.
    Where a lot of companies are heading.
    How to prioritise and deal with business decisions.
    How to write more scalable code.
    I can sell all of this knowledge to other people.

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  28. It taught me
    how little I know

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  29. Dunning–Kruger Effect

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  30. !
    !
    !
    !
    …the miscalibration of the incompetent stems
    from an error about the self, whereas the
    miscalibration of the highly competent stems
    from an error about others.”

    — David Dunning & Justin Kruger

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  31. !
    !
    !
    !
    !
    !
    …there are known knowns; there are things
    that we know that we know. We also know
    there are known unknowns; that is to say we
    know there are some things we do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns, the
    ones we don't know we don't know.”
    !
    — Donald Rumsfeld

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  32. Stay Aware Of
    How Little You Know

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  33. Every time I learn something new, I make a
    mental note of that fact. It reminds me that
    I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

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  34. It all adds up

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  35. It all adds up
    Labourer for no money in the p*ssing rain
    Tea Boy and retail worker
    Junior Designer at a husband–wife company
    Agency Developer at a well-respected agency
    Bored Developer at a bizarre VC firm
    Senior Developer at BSkyB
    Consultant for whoever needs me

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  36. Even sh*t jobs are
    pretty good for you

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  37. Deciding to go it alone

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  38. Deciding to go it alone
    24 July, 2013.
    A very, very well-considered decision.
    Did not want to rush a thing.

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  39. A Leap of Faith

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  40. A Leap of Faith

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  41. A Carefully Considered and
    Well Thought out
    Transition of Faith…

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  42. Aged 23+.
    Heavily specialised.
    Amazing clients.

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  43. The hardest work I’ve ever done.
    Stressful beyond measure.
    Exhausting but rewarding.
    Lucrative but risky.

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  44. Know what you
    want to be

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  45. Employee
    vs.

    Freelancer

    vs.

    Contractor

    vs.

    Consultant

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  46. I chose consultant

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  47. Employee
    Reasonable job security.
    A good work–life balance.
    Provides stability.
    Most companies offer decent benefits.
    Can get repetitive.
    Can be limiting.

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  48. Freelancer
    Plenty of variety.
    Lots of freedom.
    Get to pick your own clients.
    Have to find your own work.

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  49. Contractor
    More security than a freelancer.
    Better paid than a full time employee.
    A large commitment.
    Often seen as hired help.

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  50. Consultant
    Potentially very lucrative.
    Can be very varied.
    Get to travel.
    Very high pressure.
    Few and far between.

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  51. Work somewhere
    most people don’t

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  52. Work somewhere
    most people don’t
    Expose yourself to new things.
    Gain a competitive advantage over your peers.

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  53. Capitalise on everything

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  54. Capitalise on everything
    Work for a household name? Shout about it.
    Know something most people don’t? Charge for it.

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  55. Take advantage of
    someone else’s time…

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  56. …and money.

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  57. Take advantage of
    someone else’s time
    The right company will invest in its employees…
    …take advantage of that!
    Learn from colleagues while they’re there.
    Companies want to develop and train their staff…
    …clients want to hire people who are already trained.

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  58. Will you ever work

    for someone else?

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  59. Will you ever work

    for someone else?
    Never say never.
    There are a lot of years left ahead of us.

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  60. The lessons?
    There is no rush.
    Take advantage of where you are right now.
    Be aware of your limits…
    …and then fill those gaps in.
    Always be open to the idea that you do not know everything.
    Remain prudent.
    Capitalise on everything.

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  61. Don’t You Wish
    You’d Done It Sooner?

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  62. Definitely not.

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  63. Thank you
    Harry Roberts
    csswizardry.com
    @csswizardry

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