When I started Rooster Park in 2008, I was just planning a one-person shop – basically a legal entity around my plans to act as an interim VP of Engineering for companies that needed short-term help. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with this business, or if consulting was just a way station until I found the next thing to do. I certainly didn’t know that it would like the company it is today, and I often tell candidates that I accidentally fell into this business.
As I did some initial staffing for Virtuoso‘s technology department (now 23TouchPoints), I realized that I needed a website to look vaguely credible. So with one shot of caffeine and the YUI Grid, I “designed” and wrote the entire site in about three hours. (I’ve never mentioned this to him, but I sort of loved Kushal’s simple site, and modeled some of my thinking around it.) Here’s what the site looked like until today:
I regularly got great feedback on the site: one new client came to me after saying that my site showed them that I could solve their hard problem, I’d get occasional inbound calls, and most usefully, engineers seemed to really like it – the lack of flash (or Flash) showed that I was serious and engineer-y. There is, of course, the dog that didn’t bark, and I don’t know how many visitors were visiting and not calling. (Well, I did have Google Analytics, so I know the answer was “not very many.”)
I wasn’t happy with the site, though. There were some alignment issues that annoyed me with their lack of polish, but that I couldn’t be bothered to fix; the content wasn’t really reflecting what I did any longer; many potential clients looked at it and thought Rooster Park was just a one-person shop. I didn’t want to look bigger than we were, but we weren’t just me and my Macbook, and I needed to change that.
I wasn’t really sure what I wanted, though. I spent hours looking at WordPress templates, and never found anything that I liked; I talked to some designers, who were good at what they did but didn’t really get my business; and I just kept bouncing around ideas in my head. Then earlier this year, I brought on Nick Cox to help us with a range of custom development projects, and when he had some between-projects downtime, I asked him to design a new site. He’s done a great job, both with design and much of the writing: anything you like is his, and if something looks off-kilter, I probably asked him to do that. He met my goals of remaining minimalist but adding professionalism and style, making it easy for people to understand what we actually do, and avoiding crappy stock photos and overused galleries. He really looks that hip, too, and really rocks a sweater vest. If you want his skills applied to your projects, by all means, contact us.
And what is it we do? We do two things: find great software development professionals for contract and FT work at some of Seattle’s best companies, and build custom software products for clients of all sizes and businesses. But I’ll talk more about that, and what I plan for this blog to cover (oh, the hubris), in future posts.
Thanks for reading, and welcome to Rooster Park 2011!