Building a new business

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A few weeks ago, i finished watching the 3rd season of Black Sails. Initially, i hesitated to watch the series, since i find it corny, looking at pirates with fashionable clothes and clean hair cuts. Plus, i find it hard to imagine, pirates being very well-versed with society and politics. But, i persevered, and slowly learned to like it.

One impression i gained from the story, is how similar starting a pirate crew, to starting a startup. It has the same ingredients, an opportunity to plunder, a visionary leader, a charismatic quartermaster, and a bunch of willing souls, who will follow to the ends of earth. Or so I thought, since in the movie, and as in the life of a startup, a lot of things can change, with members changing allegiance, and leaders changing crew.

I found myself in a similar situation, where i have this personal urge to build something new. I liken myself as someone looking to start a new crew, or join an existing one.

By the end of this month, we are making an official announcement, of me stepping away from my roles at Caresharing, to focus on a new venture i’m starting. It’s not a complete disengagement, since i will continue to contribute in the company, but in a limited capacity as a software engineer, working in the area of software delivery and frameworks.

Obviously, the intention here is to have a smooth transition, and for me to have a base income, while i discover new things to do. This arrangement helps minimize the risks, and at the same time leave some room for growing a new source of income. Unlike 10 years ago, when i had little overhead for living, now with older kids, a lot of things need to be paid for.

Yes, i have worked with the CS crew for at least 10 years now. It has been a long journey. Definitely, a life changing one. Perhaps, something to write about when the time is ready. For now, let’s talk about this new crew i’m building.

Technically, it’s not a new crew yet, since there’s only me. And my new pirate ship is called, Next Level. The opportunities i’m looking at, is a bit unsure, but plausible. The idea, is i will provide services, to help companies deliver high quality and better software.

It’s vague, since it can be many things. It can be writing code. It can also be, consulting on strategy, architecture, and engineering process. It can also be coaching the team in their improvement journey. What is clear though, is i will be working as an outsider, coming in to help. This is a big departure from being the technical co-founder, where i am responsible for a lot of things.

A few assumptions behind this new direction, that i am excited about. Core to this, is the fact that software is becoming a common strategy in many businesses. And the art of building software, has improved a lot with tools readily available.

However, the road in taking advantage of these advancements, has been plagued with perils. Teams have tried to learn and adopt them, but are pushed back by lack of experience and depth in knowledge. Leaving teams and businesses, unable to fully achieve their full potential.

So herein lies my opportunity. I’m particularly keen to help startups, or companies with less than 100 staff. Or, teams that are starting to improve their current process or architecture, in response to a growing demand for their business.

For now, the plan is to do it by myself. I made a point, not to do any hiring yet. Nor, build a team reporting to me. At least, not in the near future. This to give myself some breathing space, and not have to worry about impacting people. This time, i’ll only worry about my family and myself.

Though i have a feeling, it won’t be long. Knowing myself, i find a high sense of purpose, if i build something that impacts other people. Specially, if what i built, helps and contributes in their growth. For me, no amount of financial incentive can replace that. So i am being flexible, and should there be a good opportunity, then i will give it some thought and revisit the idea of building a team.

There you have it, i’m building a new “pirate ship”, with a mission to help others build and operate software. And i am making myself available for hire. Please let me know if i can help.