Hi! My name is Dave, and I've been building and marketing websites since before Netscape Navigator was a thing.
If you're interested in seeing what I'm up to now, check out my now page.
By day, I run Added Bytes, a product development company based in Brighton UK. We make unique tools for creative people, including:
- Readable.com, for taking control of your content
- ApolloPad, for authors
- Cheatography, for making and sharing cheat sheets
- CrosswordCheats, for cheating at crosswords
- Mathaversaries, for tracking interesting periods of time
A Potted History
In the beginning I was a hobbyist. I would make sites for all sorts of things that interested me. I wasn't aiming to do anything other than experience the rush that came when other people from entirely different continents were able to access my work, and even comment on it and email me back.
In the 1990s, that was quite something. Up until then, if I wanted to exchange pleasantries with someone over the other side of an ocean, I'd be waiting days, maybe even weeks, for a letter to make its way to them and a reply to wing its way back. With the internet, I could talk to them in nearly real time.
I was hooked. Publishing content on this amazing new medium became my hobby, and before long became my work as well. I started building websites for money, for friends and family and then for local companies. Over the following twenty-something years, I've built, managed and marketed websites for record labels, restaurants, national retailers, educators and lawyers. I've even spent some time consulting on online marketing for a few FTSE 100 companies.
And in all that time, and through all those projects, my enthusiasm for the web hasn't diminished in the slightest. I still think the web will be recognised in time as one of the most important and influential inventions of man. And I'm still so glad that something I would continue to do as a hobby has provided me an interesting and challenging career.
Web Development as a Hobby
I've always built websites as a hobby alongside my work, from a simple crossword solver to my own sudoku variant, from online novel-writing software to a calculator of your age in Jupiter years.
Those sites have, until recently, been built as a fun project first. Any income was always a nice-to-have afterthought, almost an inconvenience. I'd typically throw some AdSense ads up on a project and call it a day. They were rarely the focus of my work, and even if they were it was not for long before the next project called me.
The Next Steps
And that brings me to now. In 2012 I quit my dead-end and fairly miserable job with a local web development agency and struck out on my own. I built up a solid client base and eked out time to develop those fun side-projects into something more to see what stuck.
By 2016, I had no time left for client work as Readable.com was taking so much attention. Added Bytes was no longer a web development agency, it was now a product development company. It's been a lot of fun getting to this point, and I hope it stays that way.
What's "Alone On A Hill"
It's from the timeless Beatles song The Fool On the Hill. It was an image that stuck with me, and the idea of the wise fool is something I try to keep in mind; always try to make the best decision you can, even if other people think you're crazy.