Prehistory, South Africa, immigration, etc

tags:
2008-01-05

Some time after I came to London in 2004, I worked for Man Bytes Dog. My boss, Jonathan Young, was a righteous dude, and a great boss. He’s now a Brit expat in South Africa (good move!). Work incudes building marketing database systems for the private healthcare group Cambian, re-jigging the website for the UCEA, and helping support our in-house cloud management platform VITAL, which has since been bought, renamed, sliced and diced.

Shortly after that, I had a go at freelancing, but my work turned out to be a major exercise in free unpaid work and mostly skilling up. Work done during this period includes J2ME games development, and supporting the IT for a small private bank.

Prior to all of this, I was in South Africa, where my career kickstarted. Just before leaving for London, my employer was a pool of contractors, called Business Edge Systems. I was stationed at Investec most of the time, working on archiving and document management. Other work done for Business Edge includes financial software suites and lease management software. Exciting stuff.

Prior to Business Edge, my first ever taxes-paying job (not the ones where you get paid cash-in-hand as a school boy) was with one of South Africa’s first ever Internet advertising brokers. The work I did for them… hell — I did everything: The ad engine, the control panel, the data transformations, the APIs, the ads (DHTML, JavaScript, VBScript, Flash, Photoshop), the relations (with www.doubleclick.com and www.checkm8.com), the ops of multiple mission-critical Linux servers, the newsletters, the metrics, the analytics, and everything else. Every second night I wouldn’t go home. I’d just work. I might go home for a shower. But I FRIGGIN LOVED IT. It was 2002, and one of the best years of my career.

It was the first startup vibe I’ve ever experienced. It set the scene for what I would want in all my future jobs: small teams, quick iterations, cross-functional techies, deploy-to-live type responsibility and loads of hacking.

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