Last updated September 2013 (in other words, quite a bit out of date!)
I’m English and grew up in the leafy countryside of Buckinghamshire about halfway between London and Oxford. I didn’t travel far for university, taking the short trip up the M40 to Oxford. Oxford inhabits it’s own unique place in the world though and I very much enjoyed my 3 years there before returning briefly home.
I moved to London in 2000 and over time grew very fond of living there. I took two 6-month breaks away, first in Boston in 2003 and then Auckland, New Zealand in 04/05.
For a long time I’d wanted to live for an extended period in the USA. My 6 months in Boston had wet my appetite for the States and my time living in London had got me used to living in big cities. In Spring 2006 I packed up my life for the 5th international move in 3 years and headed to New York City.
I’ve been in New York for over 7 years now and am very happy to call it home. 2 years into my New York experiment I met my now wife – we live in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn with our plants and board game collection.
Tech / work
Since the age of 7 I’ve been very interested in computer technology, especially computer programming. My first program was written in Logo and moved a robotic turtle around the classroom floor. Most of my childhood coding was in BASIC (BBC, GW, Quick and Visual varieties.)
By the time I left high school I’d had my first payed job as a part-time network administrator of a local primary school (yay Novell Netware!) and had entered the world of ‘enterprise’ software by creating a database-backed end-to-end application.
My university studies were somewhat formal, but I was lucky to be in the vicinity of some outstanding minds, especially my tutor Carroll Morgan. I was lectured by Tony Hoare once but unfortunately was far too ignorant (or possibly hungover) to understand his lectures. The more practical elements of my studies included a course on a crossover between software and hardware design (somewhat based on Occam and the Transputer) which landed me my first ‘hardware compilation’ job at Altera.
That role didn’t quite turn out how I’d hoped though so I took a 6 month Sys Admin position before leaving Altera and moving to DigitalRum (now defunct), a startup firm which developed and hosted mobile commerce web sites. This was my first ‘real’ software job and taught me plenty of how (and how not) to design good software and run a software team.
I left DigitalRum after 18 months to join ThoughtWorks. My 4 years there were a fantastic experience and learning opportunity. I got to travel, work on some great projects, learn new technologies and methodologies, and meet some people that became amazing friends. While at ThoughtWorks I also managed to start writing a little, presented at some conferences, and also co-ran the CruiseControl.NET and Tree Surgeon open source projects, which at the time at least came to be used by thousands of teams across the world.
On moving to New York I joined another software consultancy, Finetix (since acquired by Sungard), where I had my first experience working directly with financial traders.
I left Finetix after less than a year after being offered the opportunity to manage a software development team at the New York Stock Exchange. This was a big change for me since my role was no longer technical, and I now had around 15 people to manage. I stayed there for a year and a half but decided the ‘post technical’ life was not one for me, at least not at that time of my career.
In October 2008 I took the opportunity to lead a small team at DRW Trading‘s New York office. I was once again working very closely with financial traders, and while I had a few people to manage most of my work was technical. This was a great chance to really take all the lessons I’d learned throughout my career and apply them without the constraints found in most consulting engagements or politically ravaged corporations.