Innovation and Technical Product Development Professional

Ben MetcalfeI am available for hire as a freelance Innovation and Technical Product Development Professional, working in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

I’m always interested in discussing potential opportunities with new, dynamic and interesting companies – so I thought I’d lay out here more about what I do and how I might be of service…

What do you do?

I am the glue between your development rock stars and the rest of your organization. Some days you’ll find me in a crisply pressed collared shirt working with your executive team, marketing department, designers, customers and any other stakeholder on your project – gathering requirements and brainstorming new ideas, and ultimately defining your product vision and specification.

Other days you’ll find me with my “unix is sexy” tshirt, geeking out with your devs – designing system architectures, drafting object models, defining business logic, representing the requirements of your business and always advocating the needs of the end-user.

I am an innovation & implementation catalyst.

The foundation of my work stems from previous experience in my career as a software engineer and web developer. Today, however, I also harness expertise in platform strategy, research & innovation, user experience design, project management, community orientated marketing and business development together with my foundation skillset to offer my product development/management services.

What are your areas of specialism?

I’m interesting in working in all areas of internet-based product development. However I get a lot of interest in my services from projects operating in the following areas:

  • Platforms development (API’s, Web Services, etc) and setting up developer networks around them.
  • Media-orientated projects – mainstream media, grass-roots, video, etc
  • Web-based applications

Like any internet professional, I have many hats. In addition to providing product development services, I also find myself being asked to provide expertise and guidance in the following areas:

Developer Networks: I’m passionate that products we build should also act as platforms for innovation and community development. I’ve launched developer networks for leading names and it’s an area I’m particularly passionate about. I am probably one of the most experienced professionals working independently in this niche at the moment.

Community Evangelism: Representing your product in the community. Increasing awareness whilst also gathering feedback and requirements for future iterations.

Corporate Strategy: Tim O’Reilly once said “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet”. As a catalyst I like to take what’s going on at the bleeding edges of the internet and diffuse it into the mainstream. I help corporate clients understand better what is going on beyond their horizon, how they can best prepare for the future and ultimately incorporate relevant emerging innovations and paradigm shifts into their strategies and tactical approaches.

Can you give examples of work you might do?

Iterate your existing web-app to the next level by assessing what could be done to increase your userbase. Investigate where the barriers to adoption lie and what functionality and feature-set you might be missing. Then work with your development team to incorporate these new ideas into your proposition. Create a community out-reach plan to then get the word out.

Help mature your business concept into a financeable prototype that can obtain a VC valuation, and then iterate it onto a fully fledged consumer product.

Lead the development of API’s around your product, create a developer network around them and then foster interest by evangelizing your platform in the community.

Represent your company or business interests within the ‘web2.0 community’ – looking out for relevant developments appearing on the horizon and advising you on how best to capitalize on each emerging opportunity.

Who have you worked for?

Companies I have worked for, either in a freelancer position or as a previous employee, include:

Highlights of my career to date include setting up developer networks for the BBC and Orange Labs, advising the 2003 relaunch of the BBC News website and developing content management systems for the BBC.

How can I engage you?

I don’t believe any set ‘cookie-cutter’ model of engagement, every situation is different. However a relationship could be:

  • Retainer based – an agreed amount per month in return for advising your company and looking out for your interests
  • Project based – hourly/daily rate for 0.5 – 4 days a week working on your project
  • (Potentially) full time equivalent hours

I am also flexible in terms of company circumstance. My rates are market competitive, and flexible dependent on circumstance and profit-status. I am also happy to discuss equity-only or equity/cash split remuneration with the right companies.

I try to be as approachable as possible, so please feel free to drop me a line via email – even if it is just to make contact and get acquainted!

Where do you operate?

I am currently based in downtown San Francisco and will work on a regular basis anywhere commutable within the Bay Area. I work out of my office on 1st St and at on-site at client’s offices.

I’m also open to discussion about working further afield remotely with the occasional trip – including the rest of North America and potentially my native UK and Europe.

In addition to having a visa to provide services inside America, as a British/Canadian dual citizen I am also legally able to work in Canada and all EU-member countries.

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