The pinnacle of my career – so far – is the creation of Visual LANSA Web.

It’s a high speed development tool, or software for making more software as I refer to it.

It was my youthful dream to simplify software development, and I actually did just that.

It’s used around the world by governments and businesses including Proctor and Gamble and Kawasaki.

With most of my 30+ years in IT in commercial software some might call me an expert, though it’s a term I eschew.

Having written “Doing IT For Money“, I prefer to say I’m an authority.

I guess I’ll be more of one when I finish my second, “Kick Some SaaS”.

As I’ve built my second career helping SaaS businesses get the biggest bang for their buck, I’ve found I do my best work at the intersection of technology and humanity.

It’s in our nature to make tools.

Early man used flint and wood to cut and dig.

Today we use software to solve millions of our problems.

Given a clean start, I’d make a far superior LANSA, and perhaps I will if I ever find an investor.

Until then, I’ll use my lifetime of experience to help others solve the problems of their target market.

I’ll help them realise their software dreams.

Someone will benefit from all I’ve learned.

Get in touch if you’d like it to be you.


You’re in the poop if you’re making software.

SaaS is the modern gold rush and there are more way more projects than skilled developers.

LinkedIn lists 19,000 full stack developers in Australia.

Seek shows ~1,900 jobs looking for the same.

A CEO I spoke to recently needs a development lead and can’t find a single person.

All those he approached are happy where they are.

Trouble is, software is increasingly complex, and while developers may know PhP, C, C#, HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc., very few are architects or master craftsmen.

They can follow instructions and update existing products, but they lack the experience and insight to lead an R&D team.

If you’re looking to attract top talent, you’re in for a very tough time.

So what can you do?

Here are my 3 tips

1 – Stop looking for unicorns

Trying to find one person to solve all your problems is almost impossible.

2 – Top developers are worth every cent

Stop being a cheapskate and meet the market.

3 – It’s a buyer’s market

If you’re going to entice them in, you need to offer so much more than a programming job.

And here’s an extra tip.

Recruiters are really good at finding people for boxes, but few R&D projects are lead by those who fit in one.

Perhaps then, it’s time to think outside- the box.


Commonwealth bank, Telstra and more seem to be using Covid as an excuse to slash services.

Bank branches are indefinitely mothballed.

Perhaps closures coming soon.

ATMs are regularly out of service.

Wait times on the phone are farcical.

And anecdotally, even online offerings have become worse.

Telstra’s customer portal is just plain crap.

And it’s the poor paying punters who have to suck it up.

But hey, they’re the big guys.

More often than not, they get away with treating us poorly.

That said, all hail Aussie Broadband for bucking the trend and looking after their people.

Long may it last!

But young SaaS businesses don’t have this luxury.

They’re in highly competitive markets.

If their service wavers, customers will vote with their feet because they can.

Many cut prices, but the right people will gladly pay more for a decent service standard.

And note, they’re not looking for perfection.

They don’t expect you to go above and beyond.

They just want the kind of friendly, helpful service we get in most stores.

If there’s a problem, they just want someone to talk to.

Maybe not at first, but if they can’t when they do, it looks like you don’t give a damn.

So don’t be like the big guys,

Treat your people the way they’d like to be treated.


Hiring a consultant can be scary, but those who hire this one have good reason to.

✖ They’re struggling to make sense of their technology and strategy.

✖ Prospects and customers are demanding more service at a lower price.

✖ They have development delays, massive budget overruns and cash flow problems.

When I’m done –

✅ They’re on top of their tech and they know where they’re heading.

✅ The right prospects are paying properly for the quality being delivered.

✅ Their development and costs are under control.

Those are the sorts of outcomes you can have when you get 30 years of commercial software experience on your team.

But they don’t come easy and there’s never a quick fix.

And if you’re looking for a silver bullet or a guarantee of success, you’re going to be disappointed.

Success in SaaS is all about playing the long game.

The choices you make today will reward and haunt you for years to come.

And your customers feel the same, because no one wants a problem that keeps coming back.

They just want to solve it today so they can move forward and be ready for their next challenge.

It’s why they invest in your solution, and of course it’s why you should consider investing in me.

I make your problems go away.


Time keeps ticking away.

It’s why so many SaaS platforms fail post MVP.

During development, they’re head down bum up creating their technical marvel, developers and go to market strategies consuming precious resources.

But the clock keeps on ticking, and as I always remind software wannabes, your MVP is “The least that works and delivers value”.

That means going to market is the tip of the iceberg.

It’s just a beginning.

The moment you’re live, demands increase massively.

Your minimum needs to grow, and quickly.

There’s more work for your expensive developers.

Complexity increases and the clock just keeps on ticking.

So the cost of ownership just grows and grows.

This is why the development decisions you make post MVP are critical to survival.

You can only spend your resources once, and you need to do it wisely.

So how do you decide what to do next?

Remember the MVP?

“…and delivers value”

Focus on that!


Because that’s what your prospects want.

It’s what your customers want.

It’s what your marketing should be talking about.

Technology exists to help humans be better at whatever it is they do.

That’s where the value lies, and that’s what your product should deliver.

But the path forward isn’t always clear.

Who’s helping you make the right choices?


“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde.

Sage advice indeed and something SaaS leaders should think very hard about.

The trouble is, few do, and especially here in Australia.

I talk to leaders about my services and they ask if what I’ve done works here.

They want to know if others have had success.

In effect, they’re asking how they can copy others.

How they can be just another face amongst the many.

But with 10 out of 11 failing within 3 years, why would you follow the crowd?

You’re just setting yourself up for failure.

You’re just going to make the same mistakes as the rest and fall in to the same traps.

How awfully mediocre.

If you want to be part of that, be my guest, but personally, I don’t have time for it.

I’m looking for the exceptional.

I’m looking for the truly entrepreneurial.

I’m looking for those prepared to try new things.

Those prepared to make new mistakes.

Those who know they can’t solve everything themselves.

Those who know collaboration is key.

Those prepared to back themselves and swap their IP for investment.

Those in it for the long haul.

Those who are taking their software seriously.

Those who have a vision of a long and lustrous tomorrow.

If that’s you, we should talk about your future.


No man is an island.

We need the help and support of others.

It’s why the 4th P of my “Kick Some #SaaS” system is partners.

They help you scale and spread your costs and let you focus on building great software.

No platform should be an island either.

If it’s to thrive, it must work well with others.


Because customers don’t want silos.

They need software solutions that solve their problem without creating a new one!

And no, an “Export as CSV” won’t cut it, although it should probably be an option.

In today’s hyperconnected and increasingly automated world, APIs and connectors are all but mandatory.

Without them, manual processing is required.

A guarantee of human error and wasted time.

An expensive interruption that increases cost of ownership making your product far less attractive and costing you revenue.

A lose lose.

But if you play well with others, sharing data and events, you can easily collaborate to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

Complementary solutions delivering the maximum value, with some of the capabilities of complex enterprise systems for a fraction of the price.

It’s a win win.

Effective integration is all about facilitation, and the easier your platform is to use, the more likely your customers will want to stay.


I led the development of LANSA‘s flagship product Visual LANSA.

Myself and a team of brilliant developers created something quite extraordinary.

We stood on the shoulders of all those who went before, and reached for the stars.

Shortly after I left, the business was sold, and the money men arrived.

A different business model where cutting costs was the name of the game.

Some of my colleagues were let go immediately, and within a few months the development team was gutted.

Years of experience and knowledge replaced by cheaper offshore people with similar skills, but none of the experience and wisdom.

It’s effects are plain to see in the product today.

New features have been created that would never have passed muster, and expected functionality is missing.

They’re not show stoppers, but they speak of a fundamental truth of software ownership.

The code your developers write is part of something far bigger.

A software world populated by people, and it’s their rituals and practices that ensure your SAAS is ready to go to market.

Lose the people and you lose the knowledge.

If it isn’t written down, it’s gone for good, and you’ll pay the price.

Perhaps not straightaway, but one day you will.

And you’ll be acutely aware of it when the time comes.

So, is the software you’re making today, ready for the trials of tomorrow?