All Change Again Part 2 – Goodbye ThoughtWorks, Hello Finetix

As I mentioned in part 1 on my ‘life’ blog, today I’m moving from London to New York City.

For a number of reasons, I’ve decided to combine this move with a change of employer, and from Monday I’ll be working for Finetix.

Before I talk about the ‘new guys’, just a few words about ThoughtWorks. I worked for TW for nearly 4 years, and it was a brilliant experience and outstanding learning opportunity. I was able to work with some amazing people, who were not just amazing because they are some of the best technologists to work in the same part of the IT industry as myself, but also because they are great individuals. Over the 4 years I made a number of friends in ThoughtWorks, many of whom I will be making a real effort to keep in touch with, not simply because of a ‘networking opportunity’ but because my life is better having them as part of it.

ThoughtWorks continues to grow – I was the 11th hire in the UK office which is now more than 150 strong, with more than 700 people globally – and as it does so experiences the challenges of a growing organisation. I truely hope it can reconcile these challenges with the vision and energy that its people encompass, for the benefit not just of those people, but also for the clients it works with.

Right, enough gushing about TW – on to the future!

Finetix are like ThoughtWorks in that they are primarily a software development consultancy, but Finetix are a much more concentrated firm than ThoughtWorks. Their Manhattan office is their primary one, and has less than 100 people. This is the first thing that interests me – as I said in part 1 of this blog entry, I’m a bit of a ‘people person’, and I like to know to some level most of people that work in the same organisation as me.

Secondly, Finetix concentrate their client space – they work pretty much solely for ‘Capital Markets’ firms – investment banks, hedge funds, etc. ThoughtWorks gave me the opportunity for a broad experience, but part of what Finetix offers me is the ability to hone my skills into a particular ‘vertical’ and so become (at least for a while in my career) a ‘master of one trade’ rather than a jack of all.

This concentration of work not only allows Finetix consultants to build up a good background ‘domain knowledge’ of the finance industry, but also allows them to specialise their technology skills into a particular problem space. The problems that Finetix consultants face are tricky ones too – the success or otherwise of an investment bank partly depends on their technology, and their systems often include the very latest hardware and software techniques to allow them to beat their competitors sometimes in the region of milliseconds. I’m very much looking forward to improving my knowledge and experience in this area.

Finetix put ‘agile’ development forward as their preferred methodology. I’ve been practicing eXtreme Programming (XP) oriented agile development for all my time at ThoughtWorks, and I look forward to any opportunities that arise within Finetix and their clients to use some of this experience.

Finally, 2 of the 3 guys that run Finetix are ex-pats so I’m hoping that when England win the football (OK, soccer for you americans! 😉 ) world cup this summer I’ll be watching them do so with a few colleagues. 🙂

Joining a new company is always something of a gamble, especially when you leave a company with happy memories. I’m excited to take the opportunity of being part of Finetix, with the hope of gaining new knowledge, experience and friends.

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All Change Again Part 1 – Goodbye London, Hello New York City

A year has passed since I moved back from New Zealand which can only mean one thing – its time for me to leave London again! Today I return to the USA, after living there 2 1/2 years ago. Back then I wrote I definitely hope to live in NYC for some period of my life and that is exactly what I’m doing.

Last summer I was thinking very strongly of moving back to the ‘States, but the events of July 7th were, unsurprisingly, quite hard so I decided I probably needed somewhere comfortable to live with a bunch of friends around me. In fact, I have enjoyed London over the last year probably more than I’ve ever done, and so its nice to leave on a high.

Last November I visited New York to catch up with my friend Tatiana from Boston, and it was while there I remembered how much the city excited me. Over the last few years I’ve realised one of the things I enjoy most about life is observing and interracting with people, and for sheer variety and openness I don’t know of a predominantly English speaking-city in the world better to do that in than New York. That and the energy, culture, and awesome food (yes, I do think with my belly!) makes the opportunity to move there as part of a possibly longer stint of living in the USA one I am thrilled to have.

Initially I’m going to be staying in a friend’s spare room in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but I hope not to over stay my welcome and move out fairly soon. My plan at the moment is to find my own place somewhere south of midtown Manhattan – the east village or thereabouts – but that depends whether I can find something I like in my budget. I’ll try to post updates here on how that goes so if you want to come visit me when I’m moved in keep your eyes peeled.

Work-wise, I’ve left ThoughtWorks to make this move, and have joined the NYC-based firm Finetix, but you can read more about that over in my tech blog here.

Here’s to an awesome summer!