Rockall Design Now in its 11th Year!

Rockall Design ltd (the little company I run from the office-slash-garage in my garden) was 10 years old yesterday. It's customary on this day each year that I plot a chart of turnover growth over the years. So, here it is:


As you can see it's been a bumper year.

Last year I put down what, at the time, I thought was a good year to:

Long hours and 'hard' work. But mainly luck!

This year is much the same. Although, if I thought I was doing long hours back then I had no idea what was in store this past year.

I was reluctant to show the chart as it may seem like I'm showing off and nobody likes a show off (note however that I leave the actual number involved a mystery). Suffice to say, I would have posted the chart no matter which direction the line would have gone this year.

At What Cost Success?

I hear people talk about this thing called a work/life balance, whatever that might be. It's gotten to the point for me now where all I seem to do is work. Not only that but, when I'm not working, it's work that I'm thinking about and I find it hard to switch off. Luckily I love what I do. But there are other things I love. My family being top of that list.

I used to have a self-imposed rule of not working at the weekend. Lately even that golden rule has gone out the window.

People sometimes say to me "I'd love to work from home" or "It must be great being your own boss". At which point I normally snap up the chance to poor my heart out about the loneliness and how you're never your own boss. You will always have a boss and answer to somebody.

Once upon a time I had a group of friends I saw regularly and had a few hobbies I enjoyed.

Then there's this website! What happened there?! Well, if you turn my company growth chart upside down, it could just as well be a plot of the number of readers this site has had over the years. As my takings have shot up over the last couple of years the readers of this site have plummeted.

I'm overdoing it on the moaning though. In reality I'm happy with how things are. I'm earning more money than I ever dreamt possible. I know it won't/can't continue and I'm making sure I make as much hay as I can while the sun's shining. Being self-employed means I have to provide for my own retirement. I'm not greedy or obsessed by money, but it would be crazy for me not to take the opportunity to capitalise on any chances I'm given to earn. 

Still Domino?

I'm sure the question on everybody's lips (well, at least on those of the people who've not stopped reading the site) is "what technology is earning your crust just lately?".

This time last year I said it was Lotus Domino that was responsible for most of Rockall's turnover. This year however the picture has changed and, whilst Domino is still in the equation, it's now Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ASP.Net MVC that I'm working with.

Whether Dynamics CRM remains in the picture long term or not I don't know. It certainly feels like it's got a brighter (more lucrative) future for it than Domino does. It's an interesting product and hopefully I'll find time to write about it here soon.

Right, back to work. So much to do....


  1. Congrats Jake and nothing wrong with being proud of achievements (I think we can learn a thing or two from others cultures about being shy about so called 'showing off').

    Anyway, a successfull business is a better bet to give your business to than one that is not so its good to shout about it.

    • avatar
    • Ed Lee
    • Fri 1 Nov 2013 07:03 AM

    Congratulations Jake and Rockall

  2. Congratulations and here's to your continued success!

  3. Congratulations! I am very happy for you. You are not showing off, you deserve your success.

    And thank you again for all the code and information you posted over the years on this blog. Even if you don't have time to blog as much, your info is still available and continues to help people.

  4. Whew!!! Congratulations Jake! That is a milestone to be proud of for sure!!

  5. Well done, Jake! Dad kept a chart like this for 40 years. It's amazing to look back at the times through the lens of a small business and it's rise and fall over the seasons of the economy, changes in business, demand for services, change in currency value...

    Growing up the kid of a dad who put in 14 hour days 6 days a week and sometimes worked Sundays, all I can say is don't neglect the relationships with the kids. That was the only thing my Dad made time for aside from treating mom right with good holidays. He put off his hobbies till we were grown and gone and never regretted it.

  6. Congratulations! Very cool... Keep doing what you're doing! It seems to be working!

  7. Congrats newbie ;)

    Same here, weekends are used as overflow for work more than for relaxation.

    Also Domino revenue going down, but in my case it's JEE revenue going way up. Looks like even us 'old farts' are slowly moving to other platforms :(

    As I said before, I don't mind working on other platforms, but I sure do miss the Lotus community.

    • avatar
    • palmi
    • Sat 2 Nov 2013 11:25 AM

    Congrats Jake , What is this that you call "Weekend" I call it lazy days because then lot donĀ“t answer there emails or there phones.

  8. Congratulations Jake.

    Make time for your kids, but be proud of working hard. That is an invaluable life lesson for them.

    • avatar
    • Jaap
    • Sun 3 Nov 2013 12:38 PM

    Congrats Jake, sure interesting to know where Notes ends and new things will evolve. Would be nice to see some fugures about that Notes usage. When I am travelling abroad I do still see a lot of business man and women peeking into Notes. While working in SharePoint and having both legs in 2 camps I still feel that Notes wasn't that bad :-) A typical thing I am messing with is reproducing data while not having a simple @formula language at hand or creating a good looking Form (that where we now need to use .Net stuff which isn't easy at all) and not to speak about deployed in SP which is crazy.

    So awaiting you CRM story Jake.



    1. Do you have four legs?

      Show the rest of this thread

  9. Great Jake! Man of your skills will always have work :)

    I love Domino and believe that all the new stuff, like xpages and other very cool software from IBM will make it stay.

    I actually have a client that is replacing Exchange with Domino!!

    I believe in the product, but its always wise to look at other revenue possibilities.

    Thanks for all your excellent tips by the way!


    • avatar
    • Caroline McGrath
    • Sun 1 Dec 2013 11:42 PM

    We're in a huge transition at the moment - Notes is out of favour, anything M$ is in, but they still can't quite agree how to knock Notes on the head and replace the corporate intranet serving 15,000 employees with 40,000 pages and apps. When faced with hard numbers suddenly their plan to migrate to Sharepoint overnight goes a bit wonky/ costly/ slow and decisions are sidestepped.

    Now my days are now numbered, and redundancy has been served on the last Notes analyst/ developer/ expert/ anything technical in the company - me. 13 years of Notes glory, sometimes single-handedly, once in a team of 9 other developers in the heyday, and I'll be off to pastures new next summer; unlikely to be Notes. Yet I'm still here, reading your articles and blogs, and still learning from your posts and wishing you the absolute best. Rightly or wrongly, for better or worse, I am going down fighting - I won't let go of Notes quietly, I'm too yellow!

    There will come a day our paths will completely diverge as I move away from coding to business analysis, but I will never forget Notes and am not looking forward to the day I have to open Outlook for the first time :-(

  10. Hey Jake,

    I missed congratulating you on 12 years now! Hope things are still growing for you and Rockall!

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Written by Jake Howlett on Fri 1 Nov 2013

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

Your host is Jake Howlett who runs his own web development company called Rockall Design and is always on the lookout for new and interesting work to do.

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