“Shipping first time code is like going into debt. A little debt speeds development so long as it is paid back promptly with a rewrite… The danger occurs when the debt is not repaid. Every minute spent on not-quite-right code counts as interest on that debt.” Ward Cunningham
‘Technical debt’ is a concept that is well understood in software engineering circles (if not always by management!) but what has become clear to me in recent months is that a lot of that thinking makes sense for a start-up brand as well. You need something to launch with so you move a little quicker than is probably perfect with the very best intentions of getting back to it and making some changes…but you don’t pay that debt. You get busy. Other work takes priority (not least billable work – that is what we do after all) but that debt grows every day you don’t address it.
That is where we found ourselves recently. With a brand and proposition that had some bright spots but really just didn’t quite work and the longer we ignored it – or worse the more we tried to hack it into shape – the further from our vision it got.
So you are reading this on the new Notbinary website. Our aim is pretty simple – to explain what we do, who we are and who we have worked with in the past. Nothing controversial there I would think. Unfortunately in the past our website and other channels haven’t really met those aims.
We are trying to avoid too many buzz words or anything too ‘consultancy-ie’ – in person we are a plain spoken bunch for the most part and we are keen that the site reflects that (albeit with some personality and a little flair.)
At our core we are a technology services company. We specialise in working with clients who have to deal with that technical (organisational) debt – those ‘legacy’ systems of legend.
Increasingly we talk about working with ‘institutions’ – this is because while we have traditionally worked mainly with Government and Not for Profit organisations we see every day that similar challenges are being faced across the economy in financial services, retail and industry – the need to be internet-era ready is urgent everywhere and we believe we can help with that.
This isn’t all we do or all we can do – we have worked with start-ups in entertainment and fintech and done our share of Discovery and Alpha work – but we believe this is where we stand out.
As well as restructuring our website we are also quietly and carefully restructuring the company. James and Sacha, our founders, are taking more significant roles at The Panoply Group of which we are a part. In light of this myself (Jukesie) and Jon Holt will be taking over as Co-CEOs of Notbinary. This doesn’t really change anything for anybody outside of Notbinary and James and Sacha aren’t exactly going far but hopefully Jon and I can grasp this great opportunity to build on their work and continue to grow this company and help many more institutions make sense of the internet-era.
Impact beyond Alpha
4-8 weeks of a Discovery or Alpha project is a fleeting time for us to accomplish our mission: to help institutions embrace the opportunities of the internet era. What can we try to extend our impact beyond the confines of the project.
Personal principles for product in a crisis
Building at pace for BEIS
Our Notbinary squad has been working with BEIS to build public services to meet the requirements of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.