James Jefferies and ShedCode Ltd

The world of James and ShedCode

Week 10 - the End of the Happenstance

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At our Open House yesterday we had an ‘In conversation’ kind of thing with our mentor James Boardwell and what we thought would be a chat for 30 minutes or so, ended up being nearer to 2 hours! I knew we could talk about the last 10 weeks of Happenstance, that we had ideas and theories about what happened and why, but I hadn’t anticipated there being so much to talk about… in front of an audience!

When I went freelance last summer and set up my company, ShedCode, I was planning on doing some client work and in between, hopefully working on some of my own ideas to see what would happen. In the end I did 99% client work and was planning, at some point, to pause and work on my stuff.

That’s when Happenstance came along and it is fair to say that I thought at the beginning that Happenstance may have been a pleasant and interesting detour for my career as a Software Engineer/Developer and Techie. Instead of returning back to the path I was treading before Happenstance, I’ve finished the project on what feels like a completely different path, going who knows where!

Helping an arts organisation learn new things, to be inspiring and to fix stuff is what I thought would happen. We did some of that, but also I learnt what a Technologist could be, that we could make things, real things with lives of their own which will live on after the project has finished. I’ve met new people, made friends and found out about interesting things. An interest in electronics has been rekindled, thanks to arduinos and I’ve started to pick up some Ruby and a bit of Rails. Speaking at Future Everything, TedX Sheffield and at the Open Houses has given me some confidence in public speaking.

People have been so encouraging! Thanks to all who have had kind words to say, shared their knowledge, wisdom, contacts, experience, advice, tea and biscuits. Thanks too to those at Site who have been incredibly open, helpful and friendly during the project, I’ve really appreciated it. Special thanks of course go to my co-resident, Leila, who has put up with some of my more, er, random ideas, given me confidence to do stuff, been a great sounding board, co-speaker and partner in crime. She’s been so generous to me and I think we’ve been a great team (even if I say so myself!). I hope we can work together on more stuff soon!

I wrote a couple of blog posts about what to do next, both for me in general and technically and really it’s a work in progress. We’ve got debrief next week, then I’m on holiday for a couple of weeks. I think I really need a break, but I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve built up during Happenstance. So, those who’ve become my friends over the last 10 weeks and those who’ve known me for ages, don’t let me slip in to old habits and ways & please bear with me as I bounce ideas around like fleas on space hoppers. I hope that life post-Happenstance is going to get even more interesting!

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