Well I’ve kept this relatively quiet long enough, but since Jon Galloway spilled the beans, I might as well mention it. I am no longer an independent consultant.

Yep, I am rejoining the corporate rat race as an employee complete with W2…but with a twist. I have accepted a position as Chief Technology Officer of VelocIT (pronounced the same as “Velocity”). The twist is that I am also a co-founder and part owner of VelocIT, so it makes the idea of being an employee again much more palatable. ;)

I was hoping to save the announcement till we had a real website, but that could take a long time with the sheer amount of work we have already. So until then, I’ll just make my blog the unofficial de facto VelocIT website.

This has been a dream of mine for a long time now. It’s a chance to conduct a grand experiment in how my business partner Micah and I think a company should be run. For example, I am a big fan of transparency and open book accounting. I just don’t see how restricting the information your employees have access to helps them perform better.

I am also a big fan of the ideas in Growing a Business by Paul Hawken.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. One of his main points is that simply following a standard generic business model does nothing to distinguish a business from the hundreds of other carbon copies. Instead, a good business should reflect the values and personality of its founders. It should be as individual as you are. Think Ben & Jerrys and you start to get the picture.

He also talks a lot about trusting your employees. For a long time I have seen many companies make the mistake of not trusting and empowering their employees to make decisions. Now I have a chance to really put my money where my mouth is and attempt to push responsibility and trust down and see what happens. Obviously this requires that we make a great effort to hire people deserving of trust and capable of handling responsibility.

We have already identified one of those people in Jon Galloway who will be working with us as a contractor and who we hope to eventually hire on as an employee. I’ve read his blog for a while and he is obviously a top-notch developer and a pretty decent fella as well.

VelocIT is at its core, a consulting shop, but we are focusing on being Solution Architects. When I described VelocIT to my former CEO (and current client), he remarked, “Oh. So you’re like a portable CTO.” That hit it right on the mark. Although we can handle any point in the technology project lifecycle, our strong point is partnering as a portable CTO. As such, we constantly seek the most cost effective solution for our clients. Custom software development will usually be the option of last resort, and usually only to tie together and integrate various systems. If custom development is needed, well you found the right people.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of open source software. I am a firm believer that there are viable business models with open source software. Just take a look at chapter 1 of this pdf book, Open Source Development with CVS to get some ideas.

In the short term, my involvement with such OS projects as RSS Bandit and Subtext will suffer a bit (But don’t worry Dare and Torsten, I’ll get that Help thing done soon). But in the long term since we plan to leverage open source software such as Subtext, DotNetNuke, Blue Whale CRM, etc… in projects where they provide the most value to our clients, I foresee making more contributions to them in the future. We just need to staff up and free me up to remain more high level than the day to day coding I am doing now. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing code, but I prefer writing open source code.

So in the meanwhile, wish us luck and send me an email if you need our services haacked at gmail dot com.