I style myself a pirate, not because I steal anything, but because life is better with a little fun in it.
I am looking for work. Shopify development, Node.js development, website development, product management, presentation critique, salesforce development, systems analysis, etc.
Let me know if you think this might be you.
The Full Story
On piracy
Welcome, this is the domain of pirate-matt. Since, you’ve wandered over here, you’re probably wondering what the **** is a pirate-matt? Well I am a pirate-matt. My name is Matt (shocker I know), and this is my journey at a software industry professional.
See I was sailing around on this typical merchant ship. You know, the type of job a mother can be proud of. Marching right along with my supposed-to-dos. Go to school and get good grades, so you can go to college. Go to college, and get good grades, so you can get a good job. Get a good job, so you can save for retirement. Great, now just keep marching in that line for 3-4 times your current lifespan...I was getting along quite nicely with my supposed-to-be’s, doing all my supposed-to-do’s. When I realized something important. I didn’t like it. The supposed-to-do’s and supposed-to-be’s left me decidedly unhappy.
Now I feel the need to be crystal clear here. I am not an entitled, malcontent millennial. You can take your use of that stupid piece of marketing elsewhere. I reference the ancient understanding of happy, a concept more akin to thriving. I want my work, my career to be a place I can invest myself in, but not in a way that forces me to abandon everything else: family, friends, love, hobbies, etc. A safe place to invest some hopes, dreams, and personhood. A place I can thrive.
I recognize that many, many very successful people, and even our system of economics seems to indicate that this is impossible. Business is about profit, not worrying about feelings. You can’t have a business that actually cares, and occasionally sacrifices monetary gain for a more sustainable life. Well, I’m sick of the supposed-to-be’s. So I’m deciding to do something different. I’m deciding to be a pirate. I mean come on, doesn’t that appeal to your inner child!
No, I am not an actual pirate. I do not raid upon the high seas, nor am I a source of technological thievery. I just became enamored with the concept while I was sneaking off my merchant ship at night to help some self-styled pirates get their business off the ground. Now of course they are not actual pirates either. They are the lovely people over at Habitry, and they are straight up knowledgeable. At the time I was contracting with them, I was inundated with a lot of pirate imagery, because they were running their ship quite differently, and could demonstrate effectiveness with an evidence based approach. It was so enjoyable to be working with them, I went straight ahead and wholeheartedly stole the idea… hmmm maybe I am a pirate after all.

I know, I know, your em wall of text warning bells are ringing and I can feel you starting to lose focus. Bear with me a bit longer, and I’ll tell you the story of why and how.

On Career Goals
Permit me to set the scene. I have a 4 year Computer Science/Systems degree, and was working for a software company as a business analyst. Although to be honest, I did everything from developing custom internal tools in the Salesforce ecosystem, to hacking together the CSS for a marketing page at 4am the day before it went live, and later redefining the way the software team kept documentation (and rewriting quite a bit of outdated information). So it never really did feel like I did much traditional analysis of the business. The mindset certainly permeated everything I did, but that I feel is more a facet of my character than my title.
When I finally accepted that I was unhappy and struggling to thrive, I didn’t just jump ship immediately. I believe sometimes life is hard, and we need to put on our helmets and keep going. So that’s what I did. I continued to work, and spent some serious time coming up with some career goals. Really hashing out where I wanted to go. I knew that I had to identify the non-trivial issues. If I couldn’t articulate why I felt I wasn’t going where I wanted to go, I really would be a whiney, entitled, malcontent of a millennial. So I had to ask myself, what do I want to strive for? In the end, my ambitions could be reduced to 2 main drives:
  1. To be a product leader/manager, and
  2. To build systems of software in a modern and powerful modern framework/language/environment
Product Management. I had a bit of a revelation: I could be the world’s best software developer, and still the code I developed could fail simply because I was not building the right thing. This bothers me. I like understanding things, knowing what to do next, and why. These are the essence of product management. Fundamentally it’s all about knowing choosing what to build and why. I am very grateful to my former employer (the merchant ship, from which I jumped). They worked with me to try and find a place where I could really dig into this profession and stay aboard the ship, but in the end it didn’t work out. So I decided to jump ship, become a pirate, so as to learn by doing.
Modern & Powerful, Languages & Frameworks. One thing technology is consistently really good at doing, is changing. The software world, in particular, is full of people smarter than me who create things that allow me to build and do more with less. It really never ceases to amaze me, and as a software professional, I feel it is crucial for me to be versed in, well what are essentially improvements to the way the industry does things. Without the ability to navigate these components, I fear I will be marooned on a “career” island. I am a pirate, not merely some X developer, or the guy chasing the next level of a management certification. It is important for me to be working with and in these technologies. I by no means need to be on bleeding edge, nor get caught up in fads, but neither do I want to be so far back, that all of my work is consumed by upgrading to new versions of languages because the security flaws in the old versions have finally gotten so bad, browsers, phones, servers, etc. no longer support them.
On Modus Operandi (How I Choose To Conduct Business)
I don’t like sales. It is certainly a necessary part of business, but I never want to sell you something that I don’t actually think will benefit you (or your business). I only want to make money from you, if I can help you succeed. I find the best way to do this is to start with a conversation. If I am convinced you know what you need, I’ll build what you ask happily. If not, I may suggest that we work together to gain a greater understanding of the problems and elicit some stronger requirements. If I don’t think I can actually help, I will turn you down (or hopefully point you to someone I think can actually help).
Open and honest conversations about pricing/cost are much better for everyone. Undoubtedly, transparency in these situations is significantly more difficult, but has the end result with everyone feeling more confident about the agreement and the services rendered. If we work together, you should feel confident about the amount of compensation I earn. It is worth noting that discussions and negotiations are similar but not the same. I of course always want to get paid more, and you of course always want to pay less, but I need to eat, pay the rent, and visit my mother every now and again. So, inevitably at some point the discussion will turn to negotiation over the dollar amount or hourly rate. This is okay, and I will do my best to be honest about my perspective, and not sweat the small stuff.
Knowing what actually works, is the hardest problem facing most businesses today. You may know your customers or users problems, but then find out they won’t use the solution you’ve so lovely crafted for them. As such I recommend the following approach: Build the smallest viable chunk. Use it. Improve it. If you want to work with me, and are not using this approach, chances are I will suggest it.
On What I Can Do
I’ve had my hand in a wide variety of both software development projects, and business projects. So much variety, in fact, that I’ve become somewhat adept at going from 0 knowledge to MVP rather quickly. If you are unsure if I can help you, just ask! Go to /hire and leave me some basic information, or some potential meeting times, and I’ll see what I can for you.
To see more on my skill set, be sure to head over to /software!
On Friends
I like both beer and coffee. If you have a business question you want to run by me, or think perhaps we could work together, or just in general want to expand your network. I’d love to sit down and grab a beer, or a cup of coffee!
On the Possibility of Failure
I want to do things differently. So I am. Plus playing pirates as a kid was always a boat load of fun. Who says I can’t do it as an adult? You? Oh well, I’ll get along just fine without your help. You know, or not. I could always fail. And if I do I hope you don’t triumph on my grave, but mourn with me the loss of a dream. Because life is a shared endeavour and we have enough horribly nasty people already, you don’t need to join them.
Am I terrified this play will fail? Abso-freaking-lutley (no seriously I’m freaking out). I am terrified this is the stupidest thing I’ve done. I am terrified that I am not skilled enough to succeed on my own. I am terrified that without your (yes you reading this) specific help, everything I’m trying to accomplish will fail outright, and the world will end.
Perhaps oddly enough, I find that this terror is appropriate. I am right to be scared. But I’ve always found that courage is not the absence of fear, but the perseverance in spite of it. And, I am also tremendously excited. There is a lot of potential here. A lot of really neat and satisfying things to accomplish. I’m telling you, it’s exciting.
I’ve taken a few steps to try and reduce the risk of failing. I write about the things I’m doing and learning, so the next time I want to get a job aboard a ship, I have a slew of things I can show to prove to them I’m a good sailor. I consult, and take up freelance work to keep the rent paid and enough food on my table, which I will continue to do until I have a software product producing sustainable revenues. I work hard, and I never give up. Somethings are not worth doing, but it’s always worth doing something.