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Rules are not a Substitute for Thinking
Mind the Gap
by Mark Williamson
July 23, 2003
In which I consider the changing of my employment situtation


Between my last log and this one there have been some dramatic upheavals in my work situation. I no longer work for Appropria. Sadly the old financial situation got the better of them and they where forced to lay off their development staff.

I now work for a company called Vamosa . My role here is as part of the team turning the software they have into a full blown product.

The difference of approach in the two companies couldn’t be more different. Appropria was created in the heady days that turned out to be the end of the dot com bubble. Large quantities of money where procured and a grand plan was devised to spend two years building a product prior to attempting to sell it. Unbeknownst to those that devised those plans the second round of funding would be impossible to obtain and for 3 years we struggled on unable to sell a great product because we didn’t have the right people in place with the skills of get and close contracts.

Vamosa on the other hand, I am told, where talking to their first customer within days of the nascent concept coming into this world. Today most of the company is working with customers and the software as you might imagine already bears the battle scars of this type of working. My job together with my team is to bring order and calm to the development process in an environment that is primarily service oriented and customer facing. Its going to be a fascinating challenge and I shall be reporting here on my progress.

Between the two jobs I spent an unfortunate week unemployed. In today’s economic climate this was quite an unpleasant business. Recruitment agents, a necessary evil at the best of times are just soul destroying at times like this:

Agent: “so tell me about your skills”
Me: “I have experience in building enterprise scale distributed systems using web technologies”
Agent “so shall I put XML or J2EE?.....what was that noise?”
Me: “The sound of me loosing the will to live..”
Agent “Have you considered financial institutions?”

That is only a very slight distortion of a conversation that I actually had.

On a more serious note. Appropria are still soldiering on albeit without much in the way of a development team. We built a great product over the last three years and I hope they do manage to turn things around. There is nothing better than knowing that software you have worked on being used by the people it was intended to be used by.

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About the Blogger

Mark Williamson has been a software developer since the late 80's. He is currently working as Development Manager for Vamosa managing the team building their product Vamosa Content Migrator which is a powerful application for migrating unstructured content into CMS's. He has worked on a wide variety of projects over the years including AI based education tools for the Electric Brain Company and real time telemetery for the Williams Formula 1 team.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2003 Mark Williamson. All rights reserved.

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