May We Live in Interesting Times

I’ve been a Xojo consultant for nearly 20 years.  BKeeney Software has worked on dozens of commercial applications and untold numbers of private projects during that time period.  Consulting is both an extremely rewarding and terrifying business since income can be so variable.  We’ve had multiple employees for years and providing health insurance costs is an expense that’s ever growing.  Having your own business is hard in the best of times.

Over the past twelve months we’ve had two employees leave on their own volition to pursue other employment opportunities.  During that same period the amount of new projects slowed to a trickle and even existing clients haven’t brought in as much new work as they have in the past.  Where once we routinely acquired new projects it just didn’t happen as much in 2019.

Consulting is a weird business where every client wants their project done last week for as little money as possible and then get yelled at when you tell them version 2 is going to cost a lot more money.  As a consultant I’ve had to compromise with what’s best for a project with what the client is wiling to pay for.  It’s a constant struggle and one that I can’t imagine going away as a consultant.  

Earlier this year I was presented with the opportunity to take a full-time job as a senior developer for a company that uses Xojo along with other programming technologies.  I have accepted that position and started with them in a full-time capacity a few weeks ago.

BKeeney Software will continue to support existing clients to the best of our ability.  We will not be taking on new clients and we will have to be very selective in taking on additional work.  We hope the transition is as painless as possible.  When we cannot do the work we will give clients a list of Xojo consultants to contact and we will coordinate with them as best we can. If you’d like to be on that list let me know. Send me an email with your qualifications, types of projects that are in your wheelhouse, and maybe even a client reference I can contact.

Several Xojo developers that know me socially (and knew about the new job) have asked about our products, mainly ARGen, Shorts, and Formatted Text Control.  At this point in time we will continue to offer support just like we always have.  However, we are hoping to find new homes for them and have already reached out to various developers that we feel will treat them and our existing customers right.  Our products were mostly driven by consulting and if we are not consulting we have no need for the products.  Since we know a lot of developers use these products we’d love for them to stay in the community and stay actively developed.  If you are interested in acquiring the rights to any of the products, please contact us.  

I love the Xojo community and its users.  I’ve never found a community that is as passionate about a product as the readers of this blog.  I’m not leaving the community – but transitioning into another form.  My new job uses Xojo. It’s a very large project and is certainly bigger than anything I’ve ever worked on before.

I’m looking forward to working on a set of products with a team of dedicated developers that are working on products that matter while providing a stable work environment for my family.  Certainly the events currently happening in the world do not make consulting any more stable so the timing of this opportunity was exceptionally favorable.

I still plan on doing some blogging about Xojo but it will certainly slow down.  As Web 2.0 and Android hits I will kick the tires and give my opinions of them because…well…I always have an opinion.  🙂

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all again at a Xojo event! Happy Xojo coding!

25 thoughts on “May We Live in Interesting Times

  1. Glad to see you have moved to something more stable.
    I know the consulting world can be feast or famine.
    You and I have commiserated about that often over the years.

      • Thats a disappointing insight into the Xojo consulting market.

        But you’re right.

        You can only do what you can do and if the market isn’t there then you do have to move on.

        Hope you enjoy the new role

  2. All the Best in your new job! I’m happy for you.

    I followed your blogs about Xojo alternatives with interest as I have been looking myself for the last two years. Nothing really came close to what Xojo COULD be for cross-platform development. I know Swift wasn’t on your radar but they announced last week that Swift 5.3 adds another officially supported target platform: Windows. That would mean Swift supporting Mac, Windows, Linux, Web, padOS, iOS, AppleTV, AppleWatch. I would love to hear your opinion about that when / if you have time …

    Thanks for all your help and advice over the years.

    Markus

      • There are several tools that all have a decent cross platform story – right up until you want to do something with a UI.
        .Net Core, Xamarin, Go, Rust, Python, Delphi and so many others all really sounds great until you want to create a ui for several targets.
        While they all evolve rapidly there’s little progress in terms of bindings for the UI so you create one UI on a mac, another on windows, another on Linux etc
        Thats where Xojo does s decent job.
        IF any of these others ever gets to that point Xojo will have really serious competition from much bigger players than it does today.

  3. All the Best to Bob – let’s raise a glass to appreciate all he’s done over the years!

    Cheers! 🥃

  4. We hope you enjoy your new job and you and your wife can continue BKeeney Software a bit.
    And we hope your new company doesn’t lay you off directly in the new crisis.
    See you at the next conference!

  5. Good luck on the new job.
    I hope it works out for the best.
    Take care of yourselves during these strange times and hopefully we’ll meet again at some point in the future.

  6. Thanks for everything you have done for the community so far Bob.
    Wish you good luck in your new job and take care.

  7. All the best with your New challenge.
    I hope you will continue writing your BKeeney Briefs because I always loved to read them.

  8. My intro to Real Basic was because of your videos Bob. As a non-programmer this was a great introduction to the language and I would probably have taken a different direction had it not been for those videos. Years later I have 2 apps on the Mac App store – but still not making enough to survive on – so not sure if I should love you or hate you for making it look so easy!? Either way, your introduction has made me a Xojo lover – so thanks. Hope the new career works out.

    • Thanks, Jim. I’m happy that you got a lot out of the videos. I had ‘fun’ doing them (they are a lot of work) and while I might have made it look easy you didn’t see the video I cut trying to figure out what stupid thing I was doing wrong.

      I worried early on that having mistakes in coding was going to turn a lot of people off but it that was one of the things I received consistent praise about. Showing how to recover from a mistake (i.e. debugging) is not something most training videos show.

  9. I wish you all the luck in the world. But may be you want to change the title of that post?

    “May you live in interesting times”, although it sounds nice and exciting to our Western ears, supposedly is meant as a curse in Chinese culture.

    Maybe use some nice Klingon instead? “Q’apla!”

    • I think Bob is well aware of that … his post is describing the difficulties that his business was experiencing because of those “interesting times” which led to him taking on a paid position …

      • You got it. I started seeing a severe downturn in fourth quarter last year. I felt that 2020 was going to be a recession year so I started looking for a more stable position.

        I came close to being hired as a regional coordinator for robotics in the Kansas City region which would have been very cool but I have no idea if that position still exists since everything is shutdown. I’d say I lucked out on the this position.

        It sucks to more or less shutdown the consulting business but my timing couldn’t be better. I still have a job and I like the work. I can’t ask for much more at this point.

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