Not sure how you stumbled onto this page, there are few links to it, but well done.
For subcontracting and joint ventures, you might wish to see how far you can push us, which depends on our capabilities and limited cash reserves. In a few months time our standard products will provide more tangible benchmarks.
Not everything is on the website, but we love a challenge, especially the little bitch in reception who never gets tired of walking.
Our receptionist waters the pot plants, pours the coffee, licks the dishes, and loves customers.
We don't normally post qualifications, but in the land grab- or greater scheme of things, you might want to know who you are dealing with before making a substantial investment.
My degrees are now over three decades old, from the past millenium, which in the world of high-tech is several generations of technology. My 1979 micro-electronics project had a metalization layer design width of almost 5 microns — in 2014, 14nm or less is required to make headlines. Although we scratched around like mad, we never found the billions of dollars to fund our own fab, so we cowardly ventured into software.
Very little of what we studied thirty plus years ago made it into the twenty first century, but for the benefit of folk who like to see the bits of paper, they are listed below. (Don't worry, we would also want to see the bits of paper).
Most products that are taken for granted now were not even available in 1980, but we did a bit of bedtime reading and reserve a day a week to try out new stuff.
Oh yes, almost forgot, we (the dragons especially) have a little experience — feel free to stroll around our cyberspace home.
Our speciality is embedded software, written in C. As for hardware, we don't mind what you have, as long as it is not 8- or 16-bit. We have programmed a lot of different devices, which generally involve reading a few datasheets (2000 plus pages these days), getting the board support and initialisation going, and then it is almost like a desktop. There are subtle differences, which is why we chose to standardise on ARM devices as there is a required investment in tools.
Did you say “walk”, or lines of code? Either way, I'm all ears.
Ian Clark — B.Sc. Electrical Engineering (light current) degree from Natal University, Durban, South Africa, 1979. Natal University has since changed its name to the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
After two years National Service in the South African Navy from 1980 to 1981, in 1983 completed a Masters degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Cape Town, graduating in April, 1984.
Some years later there were two failed attempts at a PhD; one at Natal University from 1986 to 1988, and the other at the Stellenbosch University from 2002 to mid 2008 (with a year suspended to try and make the five year part-time deadline).
A couple of other arbitrary qualifications were picked up along the way, but the engineering degrees were most treasured, although now a little dated.
Albert — Our second employee being measured up. Others are queuing to cross the employment line.
Young Albert, a dashing little dragon slave from Island Moon Pewter, was traded at the Salamanca Market in Hobart, Tasmania, December 2009. We find dragons are the best staff members as they live for a long time, and require very little additional heating.
Bailey — American Staffordshire Terrier cross Kelpie — a few weeks old. She manages the reception area, assured us she will never have any children (no rushing out to cart kids around), and does not run up our phone bills (you call her for any walking dates).
Cute blue-eyed bitch in reception as a pup. Her eyes changed colour after the probation period, but she scored high marks in all the other categories; particularly salary — works for pellets, chicken, walks and a bit of company.
What is required to work for us? The only employees are myself, a hard working dragon, and a receptionist. After our tenth round of venture capital, we will be looking for another lot of dragons. Until then, what you see is what you get, but spread a bit more thinly. Anyway, careful with those toe nails.
We have enjoyed many years as a subcontractor, as well as subcontracting. It is a model we prefer, and have found that permanent staff members are increasingly rare. The dragons will probably only go on pension well after management disappear into the sunset, as they outlive us by orders of magnitude. As there is little of value in Second Valley Software besides intellectual property, we will hand over the company to the employees when we retire from engineering.
The kids never took up engineering, as they feel there are enough capable people out there to make products, and headlines like Nokia retrenching 40,000 workers since 2010 are not for the faint hearted. So for continuity after 2020, keep in touch with the dragons (mainly Albert), as they will hold all the intellectual property and embedded knowledge.
For the really curious folk, we did a few courses that companies charged a small fortune for, which we mostly enjoyed.
Even more surprising is a category we call volunteering to try and push our points up for professional networking. Not as easy as it sounds, but we hope the work we did saved someone else from having to put in the same hours. It also provided an insight into the amount of work that gets quietly done by many with much busier schedules than ours.