Where I've been, part one
It's about 18 months since Blether was last updated with any regularity, and I thought that an absence of that length deserved some explanation.
Just over two years ago I walked away from my safe, comfortable, gainful employment at Clackmannanshire Council to concentrate on my own business, Champion IS. It's been a big success, and I've been extremely fortunate to work on some fantastically interesting projects with a group of dedicated and talented individuals and companies.
Looking back I wish I'd made the time and found the energy to document that period of my life - I've learned more than I ever expected to, have been to some amazing places, and together with the teams I've worked with produced some quality work. The main reason I didn't post here was a lack of energy - over the past two years I've worked harder and longer hours than ever before, and coupled with an often stupid travel schedule (Johannesburg for the day being the stupidest) it left little for much else than family and sleep.
[As an aside and a preview of some future posts I've got lined up, here's my number one tip for anyone thinking of going freelance: the one thing you need that will earn you more money than anything else is enough sleep. The difference in your productivity between fully charged and dog-tired is exponential.]
My work through Champion IS has been diverse. Most people will know me from my web work in local government at Clacks, through speaking at Public Sector Forums and other events and the occasional bit of writing, and a good deal of my work over the past two years has been in the public sector:
- As a consultant for London Councils during their redevelopment project, helping them develop their vision for their site, produce specifications and procure the most suitable CMS
- As a strategist, most memorably with West Sussex County Council where we did some ground-breaking customer insights work as well.
- As a developer, producing among other things the London Councils Grant Directory and Waterwatch Scotland's new website
- A a trainer with lots of local authorities, most often covering accessibility, the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and producing accessible PDFs
- As an auditor, producing reports for bodies such as the Care Commission on their use of the web and plans for improvements
There will be case studies of some of these on the Champion IS site in the near future, once I get around to revamping it. We've got a fair bit of new public sector work on the horizon, and one particularly exciting new service in development, more of which anon.
One of the most fortunate and enjoyable working relationships I've developed has been with Landmark Consulting, in particular with the founder Alan Meekings. With Alan I've been fortunate enough to be involved in the birth of a new charity, to brainstorm in the South African bush, and to work with companies like Orange and Money Supermarket. I've also been lucky enough to work with and learn from top-notch web development companies like Reading Room and Clickthinking.
Business continues to be good, I'm having a ball and there's more to tell - in part two I'll talk about how Mooch Marketing came about.