Cleveratom reaching a critical mass?

After just four months work, building up a new company, we find that we are already at the point of discussing whether or not to take on a new member of staff. This is actually a big decision to make, and quite a step forward for the company – how best to go about it, who to look for, how to pay the person appointed, how to ensure some kind of security…

We will be thinking about this a lot more before we post an advert anywhere, but essentially we will very soon need a competent PHP coder who has a passion for getting things right, wants to add their own ideas and be part of a dynamic and young company. The right person will work closely with our director of technology, Alex Blanc, to fulfil some of the many projects we are generating with a growing number of clients. Ideally, the right person will have a lot of ideas to throw into the mix, be passionate about what they do, be prepared to work hugely long hours and hit deadlines when they are needed. An eye for design, an eye for accuracy and a desire to improve what you just created will be ideal!

In return they will become part of a fast growing and dynamic group involved in some highly innovative projects. As for salary – it depends on your experience, and what other skills you bring to the post besides those we set out… we want the right person when the time comes, and want them to feel as much a part of the company as anyone else. We don’t do elitism, massive hierarchy or power trips. We don’t want someone who doesn’t want to be fully involved.

So where do we find a person like that, a team player willing to commit to a new company based in the Chelmsford area of Essex? Do you know someone we should talk to?? Let me know! In the next month to six weeks we will have made our appointment, I hope.

Downloadable Software

Have you ever wanted a piece of software and looked for it online only to find it is much more expensive than you thought, or a massive download that you haven’t got time for? Well, imagine finding a place that offers you near instant availability at a stupidly low price!

That’s what you get when you go to sites where you can search for major applications including Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Quark, Cakewalk and Symantec. So what’s the catch?

Well, if you read through the FAQ on the site quickly it appears too good to be true – and that’s when your suspicions should be aroused. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is… so be very very careful. For example, look at what you don’t get – the manual, the packaging, the license and other things that make up the bulk cost of the package.

Let’s go through that again… the packaging, the manual and the license.

Yep – you don’t actually get a license with this stuff! So in effect you are getting a backup copy of software only… you can install it, but you can’t actually then activate it or use it. Which means that you can get hold of software that is readily available for free on some of the more torrent orientated sites, but actually part with real money in the process.

Why, oh why, oh why?

Three months later…

We started Cleveratom in January 2007, and we planned what we would do for it in December 2006. Matt did the review for the end of week Seven, so I am looking at what we have achieved at Cleveratom at the end of week fourteen!

This all started when I looked back in the archives to find a post in September 2004 called ‘Is there a future in it?’. At that time Ultralab had just received a visit from the Pro Vice Chanceller at Anglia Ruskin University, a man called Peter Creamer. He claimed that he was ‘not here to shut you down’, and ‘I’ve never shut a business down in my life…’. Big words, little truth.

But as a direct result of that meeting nearly two and a half years ago, Cleveratom was formed and we are now busier than ever! Having started modestly with a reasonable project based in Southend, we have taken on more and more work. To keep on top of it all we have started a project board – basically a noticeboard with bits of paper pinned to it in different categories. This was one of Matt’s ideas, and how well it is proving to work!

Right now we are engaged in an evaluation of learning platforms for Yorks and Humber Grid for Learning, working with Becta on design quality indicators for ICT, building websites for smaller clients, working with Stephen Heppell on a number of things, working with BBC Blast on the tour for the truck this year, working with Apple and a number of partners on the Digital Teacher Network… In addition, I am finding that people want me to present at conferences around the country – the last was in Kent for BSF, the next will be in London at the Institute of Education, and after that in Oxford. This is excellent work – I am delighted to be asked to talk, and I am thrilled that Cleveratom is doing so well so soon.
There are quite a few other projects we are hoping to do which are either in the planning phase or that we are waiting to hear back about, and of course there is still the never-ending stream of great, crazy and plain silly ideas which typifies the creative approach to what we do!

So thanks to Peter Creamer for his ‘vote of confidence in 2004’, without it we probably wouldn’t have found all of the brilliant things we are doing now 🙂

Of course, pride comes before a fall so very often, and whilst we are optimistic, we realise that there is a long, long way to go. The thing is, we are all ‘up for it’ and chasing things to make it happen. Long may it last!