Rockall Design Enters 10th Year

Rockall Design was 9 years old yesterday. It's become customary on this day that I post a chart of growth (income vs years running).

So, here it is:


As you can see this last year has been something of a bumper year.

The secret to this past year's success? Long hours and "hard" work.

But mainly luck!

Well, I say luck, but again, as with 99.5% of my work, it's down to being the owner of this site and having put in endless hours in to its running. Without the site the luck wouldn't happen. But it's luck in the sense that I've done nothing to promote the business or try and build revenue other than running this site.

Lessons learnt this last year: doubling turnover doesn't necessarily make you twice as well off. Also, while I agree that money can't buy happiness, it can help prevent misery, brought on by the stress of not knowing where the next month's grocery money is going to come from.

Perhaps the reason I don't feel twice as "rich" is that the frugality that came about in Rockall's annus horribilis has stuck with us. We continue to watch what we spend, collect money off coupons, dig out bargains etc. As a bonus we're now debt free and I've even put aside all my tax this year and even saved some money that we hope to use to put towards a Buy To Let property. Times are good right now.

Doing well is a nice feeling. I can't imagine the growth pattern continuing, but even if it just stayed steady I'd be very happy less miserable for sure.

Please don't hate me for talking about being "well off" in the open. It's just what I've come to do each year and it happens this year was a good one. No numbers are mentioned. How well off I am is all relative to what I'm used to and what our outgoings / living costs are. I'm not bragging. Just being open.

Update: I forgot to mention - the vast majority of the work over the past year was Domino-based!


    • avatar
    • Nils
    • Thu 1 Nov 2012 05:26 AM


    I've been following your blog through the years, and was a little worried for you during "annus horribilis". Turning it around, and finding inner peace must be so good.

    Be proud of what you have made for yourself and your family!

  1. Congratulations, well deserved! It's always good to see people doing well, it's even better when they have build everything around their success their selves.

  2. Congratulations Jake. You create your own luck.

    • avatar
    • Ursus Schneider
    • Thu 1 Nov 2012 06:00 AM

    Congrats. You allways did very good work for us. Keep it up :o)

    • avatar
    • Stu
    • Thu 1 Nov 2012 07:01 AM

    Is the domino work (new) or development of existing projects/support

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 1 Nov 2012 07:40 AM

      Enhancement and support.

      I've not done a "File -> Database -> New" for years and years.

    • avatar
    • Philip King
    • Thu 1 Nov 2012 07:06 AM

    Nice one Jake, can't believe its been 10 years already and that Domino is still so prevalent in the marketplace.

    Best of luck for the next 10!

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 1 Nov 2012 07:44 AM

      Thanks Phil!

      I'm never sure if my own circumstances can be taken as a general indicator of the market in general.

      Despite the fact my company shows a trend of growing I don't see a long-term future for me as a Domino developer. Been saying that for years though...

  3. I'm happy for you Jake. I know it's not the PC thing to say these days, but I think you'll be surprised how long Domino will stick around, perhaps maybe even until my retirement days ;-)


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 1 Nov 2012 08:52 AM

      Funny you should mentioned retirement Dan. I don't know your age, but I'm 37 - somewhere just shy of middle age. Neither young, nor old. But old enough to be seriously thinking about planning for retirement. Hence the buy-to-let purchase I mentioned. I've paid in to a personal pension for years, but it's under-performing and won't be enough to provide for me in retirement. So we're buying a house as an investment. May well revive the house blog at the same time http://jake.typepad.com/

      Show the rest of this thread

  4. Good news, you deserve it.

    I still do "File database, New" often, but I work for a company where we do plenty of things in Notes/Domino. However, I echo what Dan says, I think Domino will stick around for a while longer. :-)

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Thu 1 Nov 2012 11:46 AM

    To slightly change a well-known phrase

    "The harder you work, the luckier you get"!!

    The Domino comment at the end surprised me. Need anyone to help you get less busy? :-)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 2 Nov 2012 04:17 AM

      The only work I've ever subbed-out is graphic design (know your weaknesses!). Development work I've always done myself and I've been lucky enough that - even in the busiest of time - I've been able to cope single-handedly.

      Subcontracting dev work out is something I've purposely tried to avoid. Partly because I don't trust others and don't want to be a manager, but also because I think my customers come to *me* to do the work.

      Not subbing work out is the reason the chart I posted above is now at the ceiling of how much a one man company can feasibly earn.

  5. Bravo! Glad to hear you're doing well.

    Have you thought about creating some kind of business around a Domino web site? Something that filled a nietch need for some business?

    I did that for one customer but it hasn't panned out so far. Check out http://simplesearchapartments.com

    It was perfect for Domino, consisting of a master database plus another database for each geographical area they roll out. We started with two areas, Austin and Houston.

    If it ever takes off, which I think is unlikely at this point, the I'd just create a new database for each new area to be rolled out and they populate it with the property photos and info for that city.

    At the moment I've got a part time gig that uses a third-party web based product for tracking the workflow. It isn't really very good, in my opinion. I think I can create a new and better web tracking system that will run rings around what they have.

    Of course, once created I'd have to do some marketing and find some customers.

    Having a product or a service that uses your IT experience but ISN'T about IT might give you a more dependable cash flow stream. At least that's what I'm thinking of for myself.



      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 2 Nov 2012 04:28 AM

      I've thought about it, but never found anything that's held my interest long enough to get going properly.

      I did have a stab at http://www.grouplets.co.uk/ but kind of gave up on it (for now).

      I came to the realisation that the best money to be made is in working on a day rate as an IT developer. The works comes and goes but it's good money. I know the income from a website is a steady and constant trickle but the time it would take to get a site up and running needs factoring in to that.

      However, If I did do a website I don't think it would be built in Domino.

    • avatar
    • Bheema
    • Fri 2 Nov 2012 04:55 AM

    I am in Lotus/Notes Domino for last 11 years. Following your blogs. I was/am also very much uncertain about LN. So as DRP, learned basics of SharePoint/Nintex Workflow :) Worked for a year in SP2010 and back to Notes :) Let see what time decides.. :)

    • avatar
    • Jono
    • Fri 2 Nov 2012 08:38 AM

    Hi Jake and congratulations on entering your 10th year with Rockall. I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen in the next 10 years but I think most of us Domino Developers are adding additional strings to our bows, just in case. SharePoint, Podio and Force9 are all things I am looking at - cloud based hosting is certainly where it seems things are going currently in my world.

    Saying all the above, I am still, like you spending most of my time with Domino, albeit as a back end - most of my recent apps have been bootstrapped and people love them (and are not aware that it's still 'on Notes')...

    Here's to the next 10, hope that curve continues in the right direction for you mate.

  6. The dead product that refuses to die.

    You'll be hacking nsf's 'till you're old and grey.

      • avatar
      • Lee
      • Mon 5 Nov 2012 06:27 AM

      "The dead product that refuses to die."

      What a great way to put it! Fingers crossed that Domino continues to prevail.

      • avatar
      • Emilio
      • Thu 15 Nov 2012 10:00 PM

      I took more than five years listening that Domino is dead..

      It is truth that several companies moved to other platform but Domino still remains on the surface.

    • avatar
    • Steve
    • Wed 7 Nov 2012 04:07 AM

    Congratulations Jake, hard work = results, and the last sentence:

    ...majority of the work over the past year was Domino-based...

    is good news for us Domino developers.

    • avatar
    • Emilio
    • Thu 15 Nov 2012 09:34 PM

    Hi Jake,

    You are right because "today" is: File + Application + New


    Besides that little detail, "Domino pays the bills", you will be writing posts about the new Domino 9 the next year.

    Let me ask you, had you significant projects with Sharepoint?

    Because I know that you did invest time about Sharepoint+.NET but, the effort was rewarded?

    • avatar
    • Dennis
    • Wed 12 Dec 2012 03:24 PM

    Jake, Congratulations on achieving this milestone! It was a pleasant surprise to hear that most of your work has been Domino based.

    Best wishes!

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CodeStore is all about web development. Concentrating on Lotus Domino, ASP.NET, Flex, SharePoint and all things internet.

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