Photo credit: Cathal Noonan

I'm a software developer from Cork, Ireland. I run Subwoofr, a music startup; and Array, a product and software development consultancy business. I live in Cork, Ireland with my wife, 2 kids and our dog, Toby.

I've been interested in computers since I was five years old. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC6128 which was remarkable because it featured a floppy disk drive instead of a tape deck. I have vague memories of typing up the source code in the back of the manual trying to build my own tennis and basketball games, only for them to not work.

My career to date

I studied the B.Sc. Business Information Systems degree program at University College Cork. One of my fondest memories from this time of my life was the six months I spent in Boston, MA on an internship with Fidelity Investments. We were massively overpaid for the work we did, partied hard and enjoyed every minute.

After graduating, I joined Core HR - an enterprise HR and payroll software company - as a software developer. At the time, the company had about 70 staff and the vast majority of their software was built in Oracle Forms and PL/SQL. Fortunately, I was part of the team tasked with the company's Web products, so spent most of my time working with JavaScript, HTML, CSS - albeit served from an Oracle database via PL/SQL stored procedures (yes, really). In 2009, I proposed to management that we build a new product targeting smartphones, as mobile was changing the way the world uses technology. So I became the Product Manager of Core Mobile. 18 months later, the company was now primarily focused on building software on the Web (and mobile), and I was tasked with leading this new era and promoted to Head of Technology. When I left the company, they had over 250 staff across four offices.

After almost seven years at the company, I decided to leave Core HR in 2014. It was always my ambition to start my own business, and I felt that I needed to expand my experience somewhat before I'd be ready to do so. I joined Vearsa, an eBook distribution and analytics provider, as their Chief Technology Officer in April 2014. I loved my time at Vearsa, spending my days bouncing between planning the product roadmap, expanding our team and managing a large infrastructure migration from a managed solutions provider to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Although Vearsa's head office is in Cork, most of our customers were based in New York - and I loved visiting our office there, meeting with customers and sales prospects and attending conferences like Digital Book World.

In August 2015, I left Vearsa to start Subwoofr, a music startup. I worked full-time on Subwoofr for a year, doing everything from launching the product, selling to dozens of customers, raising angel investment and hiring a team of five people. After a year, it became clear that Subwoofr was not going to be the huge venture-backed startup opportunity I thought it was at the start. So I scaled it back to just me, reduced my costs to almost zero and now it's a profitable side business that brings in some passive income.

Right now, my time is divided between working as a freelance consultant on a wide range of projects and working on some products of my own. This year I made a promise to myself that I would ship at least one project a month. It's not so easy, but so far in 2017 I've shipped:

  • January: clob - an open source blog platform
  • February: Programming Podcasts - A directory of software development podcasts

In March, I'll release version 0.2 of clob and a new project named Receipt Robot. More on that in a future blog post.

Writing and speaking

I love writing about technology, typically translating my own learnings about a specific tool or framework into an article or tutorial. I've written over two dozen tutorials for IBM developerWorks. My work there has been viewed by millions of people across the World and translated into ten languages. In 2009, I wrote Beginning CouchDB, published by Apress. In 2014, I co-authored HTML5 in Action, published by Manning. I've flirted with the idea of another book many times - if I ever do get around to it, it'll probably be self-published.

I also love to talk about technology. I've spoken at many events on topics from launching a startup through to full on technical talks on AWS Lambda. While at Core HR, I was the keynote speaker at their customer conference each year. I am also a lecturer on the Irish Management Institute's Diploma in Digital Business programme.

Get in touch

If you want to get in touch with me, you can find out how to reach me on the Contact page.