About

Personal Stuff

This is my web site. There aren’t any like it because this one is mine.

Mike is not keen on people talking about themselves in the third person so I won’t. I’m a good old Northern lad, born and raised in Manchester (the original one in the UK, not one of your fancy shmancy pretenders to the throne) although I’ve lived and worked in various places in the UK, Europe and the US.

I’m enough years old and long-term happily married to Kay, who’s a top-notch headteacher and awesome singer. We have a teenage daughter, Ellen, who’s self educated (home educated with far too much “Leave me to it Dad, I know what I’m doing.” for my liking) and is currently working towards her GCSEs with aspirations of becoming a doctor.

I love the hills and did a four year volunteer stint with Mountain Rescue as an emergency response driver and medic. I’ve recently taken up archery and am rapidly progressing towards mediocrity. I’m often found blaming said performance on inadequate equipment.

Professional History

Despite an aberrant three years at university studying aerospace engineering, IT has always been my big thing and I’ve been working in the industry for over twenty years now. I’ve been involved in projects ranging from communications software protocols for the International Space Station through corrosion monitoring systems for metal roofs on historic English royal palaces to managing large teams on multi-million pound defence contracts, both domestic and foreign.

Freelancing

These days I prefer the flexibility and freedom of working for myself and web design gives me the chance to run the entire project from start to finish as well as tremendous variety in terms of the clients I work with and the technologies I get to use. Web design and development is a rapidly changing field and it’s just beginning to mature to a stage where the job can be done sensibly with decent tools and standards; the days of brilliantly esoteric yet depressingly ugly hacks are coming to an end.

When it comes to procuring a web site, I see far too many startups and small businesses stuck between a rock and a hard place though. The temptation to knock something together using cheaply hosted drag and drop applications is compelling, partly due to price but mainly due to the chance to avoid dealing with large and, to the layman at least, cryptic design shops. It seems to me that there’s room for a freelancer to provide a professional yet friendly and intimate one-stop-shop for those who recognise the need for expert assistance but don’t want to spend a fortune in terms of both hard cash and valuable time.

It’s a tall order though. Such a freelancer needs a wide variety of skills, honed to a high degree. On top of the obvious design chops there’s a need for great coding skills, an ability to keep up to date in a rapidly moving technological space, top notch project management skills and an ability to analyse a business’s needs from inside the client’s head. All that needs to be coupled with just the right amount of ego; the client needs an expert to take the lead and say no to bad ideas, but he also needs somebody who’s willing to acknowledge his deep and intimate understanding of his business.

I believe I possess all these skills and I’m looking to build the kind of long term relationships that generate mutual trust and repeat business. I’m not looking to be a strategic business partner aiming to shape client businesses but I do want to drive your internet presence to boost your business bottom line. I do that by executing small projects exceptionally well and I do that through close collaboration.

“I have used Mike repeatedly over almost a decade. He produces high quality, creative work at great value and has produced clear, user-friendly websites for every business venture that I have been involved in. He works quickly and the only time he doesn’t do what you ask is when he comes up with a better idea than yours! I can wholeheartedly recommend Mike’s work.” — Mike Rigby (The Original Carbon Company)