The Journey of Mikado Software
The journey to freedom
I was made redundant in 2008, from a nice CTO job in London's City, at the height of the financial crisis.
Now, I have worked in the "Internet Industry" since 1995. Yes I am that old. And I have done most jobs, from CTO to consultant, Developer to DBA. I ran some of the UK's first ADSL trials back when 14.4 modem was a big deal, have written software for the FTSE100 and the footie club. And so I decided not to take it lying down.
Two weeks later, I walked into a new contracting job, and I hustled, and hunted, worked my way up the salary ladder, started my own consultancy and landed the big gig.
It was the worst move I ever made.
I sat in a car for between 2 and 4 hours a day (and I never knew how long the trip would be). And I was not curing cancer so I could hardly claim my work was worth the sacrifice.
I saw my children only when they were asleep, or at weekends, when I was exhausted. My wife saw me for about ten minutes before we climbed into bed and slept shattered. It put strains on my marriage and our kids.
And I put on nearly two stone.
So, as that contract ended, I swore to stop. I did not need to actually be in an office, watched to see if I was slacking off. I could work remotely, from anywhere, for anyone.
And things turned a corner. I was able to walk into work, able to make breakfast for my kids, let my wife have a lie in and a cuppa.[#]_
It is not heaven, bills still need to be paid, relationships repaired, the office is tiny.
But like nearly 3 out of 4 workers, my job does not need to involve me travelling to the same office as everyone else. Nearly 75% of us could do the same job from anywhere. And we could do it minutes from our families, our lives.
The more of us who make that break, who escape, the more our societies will shift. Till raising a family stops being a struggle that tears us from being productive in work.
The journey for freedom
One of the defining characteristics of the next decade of the Internet is the vast, vast amount of data that will be available, and the new insights that data will afford us. But it is too much data for any one company to own it and use it. All the pharamceutical companies will need to share their results to find the next break throughs, all the financial companies will need to share their trades to avoid the next crash.
Data will have to be open to be big and with that will come the open software to handle the data, and the open forms of working (like above) that will be used to write the software.
And this is my second journey - I am a passionate believer in the role of open source in public sector software. Mikado Software is driven to put high quality, open software into government and public sector hands. We are not a lone voice, the new NHS Spine2 will be built on the open source Python language (a speciality of Mikado) and the Government Digital Service is not just revamping websites, but pushing the very defintion of Open and Agile into the heart of UK government.
I care passionately about my family, which makes me not unique. I also care passionately that governments, councils and citizens all have the right to read the software that more and more runs our lives. The right to read it, critique it, and one day remove the offending code. Just as we do with our written laws today.
Software matters now, and will matter more in the future. It need to be kept free and open so the laws that run our lives are as accessible as the laws that govern us.
Mikado Software is the end of two journeys, a company that treats work that can be done anywhere as an opportunity to work anywhere, and a company that creates the future of public services.
|||(I am pretty sure I am supposed to get the occassional lie-in too, but she says it's in the marriage contract. Subsection B, paragraph ii. I'm scared to look just in case.)|