Chris Lowis by Chris Lowis

Week 533

Howdy! We’re still “between clients” right now so we spent the week on business development (talking to people and applying for things), work on Mission Patch and our other side projects, and a little scheduled (and unscheduled) downtime.

On Monday and Tuesday Ben was struck down with a lurgy while James had a more pleasant time walking on the South Downs.

Chris and I spent the first part of the week emailing and meeting with potential clients. Towards the end of the week our good friends and CoTech comrades Outlandish got in touch to see if we’d like to work together on one of their projects for a couple of weeks. We’ve been looking for a way of working together for a long time, so we were delighted to say yes! We’re hoping to kick off the work next week.

In general though, it’s felt quite tough to find work recently. I think that’s due to a number of factors - we have a preference for working as a complete team, but taking on 4 people is quite a big commitment for a lot of the smaller companies we speak to.

Within the public sector, a 4-person development team means a reasonable sized project, and therefore usually one that has to go through public procurement (for example under the Digital Outcomes framework). The number of GFR-sized outcomes that are listed under the framework seems to have reduced in the last year or so, and applying for the larger projects requires more time and usually a consortium of partners. We’re currently working on a bid. It’s taking quite a lot of time and has an uncertain chance of success, but the potential for a considerably sized project makes the effort worthwhile.

It’s possible that economic uncertainty and/or financial year-end are playing a part. We’re also well-known for being experienced Ruby developers, and although we have a lot of experience with front-end technologies such as Elm and React, back-end frameworks in other languages, devops, data science and other things we’ve probably not done a great job of marketing ourselves as experts in those areas. We still passionately believe that technology choices come a distant second to getting shit done (or pragmatic, delivery-focussed and agile ways of working if you prefer) and I think we probably need to do a better job of marketing ourselves more widely.

Anyhoo, that’s a somewhat long-winded way of saying get in touch if you’d like to work with us. We’re nice and we like helping great teams make cool things.

In other news, we continued work on marketing and feature development for Mission Patch. We added back the “classic” rocket icon that we’d temporarily lost while working out how to add a large set of Emoji icons. To help support customers we added an Intercom widget which integrates with our Slack channel. We also created some discount codes and offered them to the attendees at a couple of conferences. We’re still looking at other ways of sponsoring events, ideally by including some examples of our patches in the conference swag.

Some lovely people at ITV made a cake:

And Ben launched a live-coding YouTube channel with a 4-part series implementing a classic 80s computer game in Elm:

Have a great weekend!

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