I’ve just had a spring cleaning moment, since it is meant to be spring – it has just begun to warm up outside (much to my relief, I hate the cold). I have physically cleaned up our little office, as well as cleaning up the contents of my computer and deleting or archiving a lot of things I don’t need any more. The thing that has struck me with both of these activities is just how many different and varied projects we have been involved in since the last time I had a chance to tidy up! (Yes it was a mess – I’ve never been a tidy person ) That’s what I love about this job, we get to be involved with a lot of different companies and have a chance to see how they work. I love meeting people and having a chance to make a difference to their business, from simple websites for local people, to the great new software system Malcolm is currently putting together for a building firm that are based in Ireland. He enjoyed the chance to get out of the office last month and go and meet the people that will be using the system every day. It has enabled him to understand their needs, so that he can tailor their system properly for them. The project is nearly complete, and it is looking fantastic!
I was vegging out in front of the TV the other evening when an interesting programme came on about how businesses perform, and how the mix of genders they employ can make a difference to their profitability. They showed that all men in a workplace do not tend to get the best results as they spend too much time competing to be the man in charge. All women didn’t turn out too well either as they talked over each other and didn’t listen to good ideas properly, meaning the best ideas were lost. The group which was a 50/50 split of men and women performed the best, as they co-operated with each other and were more focused on the task in hand. I’m glad about this, as our company is a 50/50 split, but what we’ll do if we ever need to recruit anyone I don’t know Maybe we’ll have to be like Noah and people will have to come on board ‘two by two’! Luckily we’re happy as we are at the moment, with just the right amount of work to keep us busy.
Ta dah! Unveiling our lovely new website. I’m quite pleased with the way it’s turned out, even if it has taken me a long time to produce. I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of another year, and we have projects that will take us into next year Our oldest son, Michael, is now learning how to write code at school, as he has seen how busy things are and would like to help. I think he’s also decided that some extra pocket money wouldn’t go amiss (and our business is just the same as any other – if you want money you have to earn it, even if the bosses are your parents!). I’m glad to see him taking a responsible attitude towards business, and I’m sure that it will help to develop our business in the future to have a younger person on board. We might need some more help before he’s finished school (and university…), so it’s lucky that we have several innovative coders that are friends and are happy to do contract work for us. Our business continues to go from strength to strength
Did you see Felix Baumgartner’s sky dive from space at the weekend? It was truly an amazing leap of faith. True, the people behind the space suit and parachute that he used have put as much work and time into this amazing achievement as Felix has, but even if you know the equipment you are using is state of the art it still takes a lot of guts to go up that high and allow yourself to free fall. I wouldn’t feel happy doing a normal skydive or even a bungee jump, and hundreds of people have tested these out before me. You really have to believe in the technology to put on a space suit and go that high, let alone allow yourself to fall. We all take our own leaps of faith in our life, and listening to the politicians at the moment, just having our own business feels a bit like a leap of faith, lucky we’re not in free fall, and still seem to be on the way up
We decided to spruce up our garden last spring, and the children even made me some lovely planters (with a bit of help from their Dad). I dutifully sowed some seeds for salad, and strawberry plants and petunias were planted as well. Everything has grown really well (despite the weird weather we’ve had this year) apart from my cucumber plant. It started well, but then it became obvious that something was munching it, so I put down some ‘hedgehog friendly’ slug pellets (as I don’t want to hurt Mrs Tiggywinkle, just rid the garden of slugs.) Well it did no good, my cucumbers were still disappearing at an alarming rate. I was blaming the slug pellets for not being up to the task when Malcolm called me to look out of the window one morning. There sat right in the middle of the planter where the cucumbers had been was the fattest squirrel I’ve ever seen. I had no idea squirrels eat cucumbers (maybe they don’t, and we’re unlucky enough to have the world’s first squirrel that doesn’t like nuts!). We had a good laugh, and at least it was obvious now why the slug pellets weren’t helping. In this life (that includes business too) you really do have to expect the unexpected sometimes, and if one solution isn’t working it helps to try something new….It’s too late to save the cucumbers this year, but by next spring I’ll have invented a squirrel scarer ready and waiting!
I was just looking over my last entry on the blog and a thought occurred to me, the marriage contract is the only contract where you don’t have to squint at the small print and wonder if it will cause you trouble later on. In fact all of the words of the contract are spoken and repeated, this makes it simple. I think most people confuse simple at this point with easy….I could never be without my husband, but even he would agree that putting up with me is not exactly easy There are a lot of occasions where people tend to get simple and easy confused. Malcolm is in the middle of writing a new system for one of our clients. It looked very easy at the beginning, just update the design and keep the database and code from the old system. Easy. Unfortunately, as with so much in life this was not as straight forward as it first appeared. The front did need updating, that was simple, but several things meant this was far from easy to achieve. First the data stored was not consistent, and the code was poor, so it could not be re-used and he started to re-write things. Once you start re-writing the client thinks ‘this is great, can you make it do this now…’ and before you know where you are you’re designing a whole new system. This has made us miss the deadline, but what has been achieved is truly remarkable, as the system is easy to use now, even if it wasn’t easy to create!
I hope you all had a good bank holiday weekend, despite the weather. We were asking for all of this rain really…putting posters up about the ‘drought’ and having two bank holidays next to each other was just tempting fate too much We were lucky enough to be invited to two weddings over the bank holiday weekend, and as lovely as both occasions were, I have come to the conclusion that there is one thing wrong with a wedding in England. No, it’s not the weather (for once!), it might sound grumpy, but the thing that is lacking is a nice cup of tea (with biscuits). We are a tea drinking nation, but when we get together to celebrate we bring out nasty fizzy wine, fruit punch and other drinks we wouldn’t normally ask for at four in the afternoon. All I really wanted was a comfy chair, a cuppa and something to dunk I think we’d all smile a bit more naturally in the photos if we knew a nice cup of tea was just around the corner. I think what I will take away from that is stick to what you’re good at…..Brits are happy with a cup of tea in the afternoon, just as Malcolm is happy writing great code for our happy customers.
So Code Genie has been trading for a whole year And I’ve just had my birthday (30 something…) so I was thinking, another year older but am I any wiser? Probably not! A lot of people told us it was the worst time to start a new business with the economic climate the way it is (and we would hate working together – shows what they know )..but not only have we survived, we seem to be doing well, and enjoying ourselves. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write a proper website for us (ironic since I’ve been updating other peoples websites). The website is like the shop window of a company, and ours is dusty to say the least, but if we got even more business through the web we wouldn’t be able to deliver the quality and service that is important to us. I’d say I’ve learnt a lot, but there’s always more to learn, and I will enjoy the challenges the next year throws at us.
Congratulations! We made it to 2012! So we’ve reached the time of the year when everyone is on a diet or going to the gym. I have to say I’ve never done either of those things, and luckily, I’m always around the same weight (I’ll never be skinny ). I think it’s possible that if you worry about things it makes them worse, so it’s interesting to hear on the radio this morning they are discussing whether dieting is ‘toxic’ for your body. I have never bothered, as I know it would make me miserable, and life is just too short to waste any time feeling sad and hungry. We are lucky to have enough to eat, why should we make ourselves hungry? That doesn’t mean if I suddenly found I was a size 20 I wouldn’t do anything about it, I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t run around, cycle to work or do any of the other daily activities that make life fun. I think a lot of people spend a bit too much time looking inward, worrying about the fact we’re not perfect, and not enough time feeling glad we’re alive and enjoying what we have. At work we have been so busy, as we took some time off over Christmas (which was great fun, but not a lot of work got done) and everything has been piling up a bit. Now we’re just getting things in order I think it’s time to smile, as it’s good to be busy (it keeps us out of mischief and keeps the bank manager happy), and at least we can enjoy a nice bun or doughnut with our morning coffee!
You know what it’s like – you have days where nothing much is happening, then everything happens at once. We have a lot of big projects at the moment, and yesterday we were having one of those days. Everything needs to be finished NOW, and nothing we were doing seemed to be working. The stress levels were rising and Malcolm was chain drinking coffee! Then the phone rang, and I got to it first. I was a bit stunned to hear the voice at the other end tell me she was phoning from the coroners office, and was ringing about a recent death here. It took a second to work out she had the wrong number (our number is very similar to a local doctors, and she wanted them). Once I’d politely sent her on her way I put the phone down. Malcolm asked who was on the phone, so I said ‘The coroner, are you dead??’ He laughed and said no, and that I looked a bit lively to interest them. It broke the stress and made us both laugh, sometimes we need to be reminded life’s not that bad really, and that did it properly. A little bit Monty Python, I would break into song with ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, but I don’t think your ears could take it! On the way home on my bike I saw the white van man that had tried to kill me on the way to work being told off by the traffic cops. The cherry on the icing on the cake to return me to my normal smiley self