CULTIVATE /ˈkʌl.tɪ.veɪt/ to improve or develop (something) by careful attention, training, or study.

‘Cultivate’ is a weekly publication looking at personal growth and life. It is a collection of my passions and interests.

No one’s journey looks exactly the same. We are each in control of how we grow.

In this newsletter I want to cover topics such as:

  • Software engineering,

  • Design,

  • Reading,

  • Knowledge management (Obsidian),

  • Writing,

  • Introversion,

  • Digital minimalism


My name is James. I’m a thirty-something old person, living in the english countryside with my wife (Becky), our small dog (Button) and a herd of Shetland ponies.

For the last five or so years I have been working as an engineering leader, and responsible for some of the brightest technologists in the world.

I have been fortunate enough to lead teams at:

  • Two separate “unicorns”, or privately held companies worth over a billion.

  • A startup that broke records by raising $555 million at Series A investment.

  • The ‘UK’s most desirable startup’.


I have always been incredibly shy, much to my detriment. I didn’t do particularly well in school, and ended up leaving at 16 years of age before going into full-time work in a factory on an assembly line. I worked in ventilation for nearly a decade, before I decided to teach myself to code.

I found solace in the outdoors. We are fortunate enough to live in the countryside and when I am not working I am generally found outside in a field somewhere.

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Simplifying in a world of complexity.


Simplicist. Recluse. Software Engineer.