Squirrel photo

Douglas Squirrel

Growing Productive Software Teams Since 2004

I am the Chief Technology Officer at rapidly expanding e-commerce firm Secretsales. My role includes helping the development team become more effective - for instance by making it possible to release new features several times a day - as well as introducing ideas and processes that remove waste and improve service levels in the production and retail sides of the business. These improvements have helped Secretsales set sales records in 2013 and join the Future Fifty UK government programme for high-growth firms.

Previously, I was CTO of financial software firm TIM Group, using agile methods to build web applications for the world's largest investment banks and hedge funds. I have thirteen years of inspirational management experience, including building a technology organisation from nothing to 49 people while retaining unusually high levels of quality and resilience.

You can see the details in my curriculum vitae (CV in PDF format). I enjoy discussing all aspects of software development, so please email me to discuss further.

Mentoring Startups

I enjoy providing informal advice and help to startups of all kinds, in industries from energy trading to dog grooming. Email me if you would like to come to Notting Hill for coffee and a brainstorm about your startup. If you are not able to meet up with me, you might be interested in these notes on startups who get advice from me and how that advice works out for them.

I have had the privilege of working more formally with emerging-markets search startup Arachnys. I began working with Arachnys during their tenure at the Springboard accelerator and helped them convert their very innovative product into a regular income stream. I have since become a small investor in the company and joined the advisory board. The company is thriving and my main role at present is to coach and assist the founders in finding, hiring, and retaining great technical talent.

Through Springboard's successor TechStars, I have recently begun mentoring another very interesting startup that promises to make big changes in how young people use financial services. I hope to be able to say more about this soon!

More Effective Software Development

I speak and consult regularly on various software-development topics. For example, last year I gave a talk at Hacker News London on "Why your startup needs tests" - watch it below if you are interested (or download and watch the video if it doesn't display below).

I use Root Cause Analysis regularly and have developed principles and methods for conducting these analyses. As an example, you may enjoy a video of me giving a root-cause analysis talk, which includes a cameo by Wallace and Gromit! You can also download the slides for the RCA talk (PDF).

Inspired by Benjamin Mitchell, I'm interested in how the management theories of Chris Argyris can be applied to the problems faced by development teams. I meet regularly with a group of others interested in these ideas and strive to apply the principles of the Model 2 theory in my daily work:

Computer Science Research

I get few opportunities to write code in my current job, so I try to keep my skills up by working on one or two programming projects in my spare time. These have included:

Mathematics Research

In the 1990s I studied mathematics as a student at Reed College and the University of California at Berkeley. During that time I:

Personal Matters

I live in the hamlet of Frogholt, near Folkestone, in a 600-year-old cottage. You can see pictures of the cottage if you are interested.

Possession of the Doyle Owl is the pinnacle of achievement for all honourable Reed College students. I have a collection of Doyle Owl photos and documents accumulated when I was part of a team of students in possession of the fabled Owl.