Moving on…

A little over three years ago, I co-founded a company called SocialOptic. It’s a fantastic company, with some great products, but I’ve decided the time is right to move on.

Throughout my career I have always worked on project-based things – things with a start and an end – from building news production software at the BBC to creating a new project services team in an Oil & Gas company – from rescuing failing projects to writing business cases for future technology investments. It’s always been about starting from a concept; being creative; defining the why, who, what, when and how much; getting people on side and finances approved; managing a team building something new and then handing that on to an operations team to run with.

About three and a half years ago I started mulling over some ideas I’d had for a Project Management software product. I knew that it would be a useful tool, and could also see that no-one had built it yet… So I left my job (at the time I was contracting as a Projects and Programme Manager), rented a house in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern Spain, and went on an extended family holiday. In between family stuff and walks in the mountains, I taught myself to write code. It was quite a challenge, but by the end of our three months in Spain a very basic version of the product was ready and soon it was up and running and available to use on the web. I called it Milestone Planner and started to watch the sign up stats with interest.

My original plan had been to go back to contracting when we returned, but while we were away the economy tanked and pretty much every company I’d worked with before had put all new projects on hold. No new projects, no need for Project Managers. In the meantime I had met Benjamin (my soon-to-be business partner) and together we plotted and worked out how we might turn Milestone Planner from a prototype product into a fully fledged business.

We took the plunge and incorporated SocialOptic Ltd… and what a ride it’s been.

Over the last three years we have built two products from the ground up. We’ve had the satisfaction of seeing users become customers and watching them put our software right at the centre of their own project processes. I’m fantastically proud of Milestone Planner and what we have achieved. As the number of customers increases, the business is moving into a new phase, one where the key activities need to be focussed on operational and support matters rather than building *new stuff* . I’m not an operations person and never will be, so have decided it’s the right time for me to move on. It’s tough when a co-founder leaves a business, but we’ve been able to structure things so that Benjamin can continue to run the ship, and steer SocialOptic towards the solid operational success that I’m confident it will become.

So… if you know anyone who’s looking for a creative professional, who can speak business and code and has a track record of getting things off the ground… I’m available (here’s my linkedin profile for a potted career history)

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4 comments until now

  1. All the best Jim, it must have been a very hard decision as I know what it’s like to leave your baby behind.

    I wish you all the best although I really don’t think it’ll take you long to find some new feet :-)

  2. Jim, I wish you well on this next step in your journey. I have enjoyed meeting with you and Benjamin and our various conversations around MilestonePlanner and PM matters generally.
    Richard

  3. Very best wishes Jim, I’m sure you’ll pick up something good when you are ready. If I can help in any way please let me know.

    Cheers, Mark

  4. Andy Piper @ 2012-07-15 07:23

    Wow – good luck, and exciting to read about your decision. You’ve every reason to be proud of Milestone Planner – what a great app. I’ve no doubt you’ll find further success in the future! :-)

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