Arrrr – Thar Be Treasure in Cambridge!

Reading time ~ 2 minutes

I’ve been quiet on the writing front for a couple of weeks as I get up to speed with my new job. In the meantime, I wanted to share one of my leaving presents from my former crew and some software community highlights from this fantastic city.

In order to protect the innocent, I’ve had to do some minor editing to anonymize some of the content however my 2 favourite landmarks are still nice & clear as is some of the entertaining corporate commentary.

Credit to Stoots The Quartermaster and Squelch the Ship’s Artist/Brawler for this gem!

The Captain's Treasure Map

Treasure! – click for a full-size version

For anyone thinking of joining the local treasure quest, there’s a fantasic, forward-thinking software scene in Cambridge (UK). I’ve been up here for 7 years now and I’m still having a blast.

The team at Software East are busy putting on fantastic events and following the huge success last year, the second “Agile Cambridge” conference is happening in September with keynotes from David Anderson & Jurgen Appelo.

For those considering a career here; whilst not exhaustive, the Cambridge Network is a great place to start looking, and for an example of the kind of companies that make working in Cambridge special, take a look at these guys.

Meanwhile you can often find a large contingent of my former crew at The Portland Arms on a Friday Lunchtime. Every other Monday a few of us head down to The Old Spring for the now regular “Agile Cambridge Monday Meetup” and once a year the Cambridge Beer Festival becomes a regular lunchtime and evening haunt (and a recruiting/networking hub) for much of the city.

Of course there’s all the usual culture, architecture, students, music and everything else here but you can read about all that from the usual tourist guides.


Nobody Thanks the Drummer

Reading time ~ < 1 minutes

A couple of weeks ago I went out to see The Wonder Stuff and The Levellers at a gig in Cambridge.

Yes I do still dwell circa 1992 – You should see my car!

On the way out I recognised The Wonder Stuff’s new drummer – Fuzz Townshend (formerly of Pop Will Eat Itself). This guy has been a key contributor to some of my favourite music for over 20 years so I stepped up to congratulate him on a fantastic gig.

He seemed geninely shocked (and pleased) to be both recognized and thanked for his performance and took the time to discuss his thoughts on the likelihood of a PWEI reformation and on the whereabouts of their unreleased final album of material and was – like most mature rock stars – well worth taking the step to talk to.

It made me realize. Whilst most of the crowd had been stopping to have their photos taken with the guitarist, the recognition for the rhythm section that binds a band together is rarely the same.

On software development teams (and companies in general) this same pattern applies. How often have you seen someone tirelessly working behind the scenes, a complete hidden hero – perhaps only recognized by their own team – get passed by when the awards and recognition are handed out.

Take some time out this week to recognize your rhythm section.