• Traction: If you build it they will come

    Photo of Traction book in a corn field

    Kevin Costner’s film ‘Field of Dreams’ is responsible for more startup failures than any other Holywood film ever created. In this film Ray Kinsella, a farmer played by Kevin Costner has a vision (AKA great idea), digs up his crop of corn and builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere on the promise that ‘if he builds it, he will come’. Low and behold after some tense moments a famous dead baseball player turns up and eventually car loads of people turn up to watch baseball. So, it turns out, that if you build it, they will come. What the film fails to show (at least to my recollection), …

  • The Side Project Startup reading list

    This is the reading list for my talk, 'The Side Project Startup. I last gave this talk at DDD North 2 and it's slowly evolving every time I give it. If you're interested in side projects and starting your own small software business then this reading list is for you.


    The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

    If you've not heard of the Lean Startup or you're not convinced, then you should read this book. If you are convinced, then the next two books on this list actually go into detail you can start using today.

    Start small stay small – Rob Walling


    Sofware by Rob - Author of 'Start small …

  • Bridge statistics, manga and SQL

    I didn't enjoy stats at school very much. It seemed a very dry subject that involved a lot of tedious calculations and I didn't really see the point. Perhaps if we'd been encouraged to use computers to do the tedious stuff and been given data sets that were more interesting I'd have realised that actually stats can be a very interesting subject.

    After reviewing and enjoying The Manga Guide to Relativity, I was excited to be sent a copy of The Manga Guide to Statistics to review. It inspired me to look at statistics again. Perhaps they do have a point, perhaps with some interesting data and a …

  • The Manga Guide to Relativity

    I knew I had a sort of idea what relativity was, but I also knew I didn't actually understand it. I thought it was probably one of the things that I would never get round to understanding. Then I was presented with The Manga Guide to Relativity, and I knew that if anything could explain it, then this book would be that thing.

    The guide starts in manga form and tells the story of Student Body President Ruka Minagi who is challenged by Headmaster Iyagi to write a report on relativity over the summer vacation. The beautiful physics teacher Alisa Uraga steps in to teach Minagi all he needs to …

  • The book every programmer should read

    Code Complete is a book that talks you through how to construct computer programs. It doesn't look at any specific language and the things covered apply equally to web applications and pacemaker software.

    It talks about the process and really makes you think about the way you do things and the best way to do things. Every chapter has really made me think and hopefully I'll be a better programmer for it. It's the sort of stuff I wasn't taught at university, but think I should have been.

    It's been like having a wise programmer share with me a wealth of experience and knowledge. It's made me …

  • Reviewing The Mythical Man Month

    In my first job out of university my assigned mentor Alex always had a copy of The Mythical Man Month on his desk. He urged me to read it and said that the world would be a better place if everyone in charge of projects had read it.

    That was almost six years ago, and I've just got round to it. I went through a period after uni where I'd had enough of reading text books. I've recently felt quite a strong urge to learn more, and this book seemed like a good place to start.

    The author Frederick Brooks talks from his experience of working for IBM in the 1960s. In some ways this book is timeless. …