March 8, 2011
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Software Houses

Keith Blount, the designer of Scrivener, is Fallows-blogging this week. His first post explores the natural scale of software firms.

Literature & Latte is an internet business run from a handful of spare rooms in different countries, staffed by people who still consider themselves enthusiastic amateurs. Up until two years ago, you could count the team on one finger -- me -- and even now that we have a team of five, we have no offices -- our registered office is the address of our accountant. I read Mark Bernstein's fascinating posts here a few weeks ago and his description of his drive in to his offices made me a little jealous. My journey to work consists of taking a coffee upstairs in our semi in Truro (putative capital of Cornwall); my office is a spare box room overlooking yellow construction machinery and piles of dirt that were, until a few weeks ago, fields and hedgerows. I sometimes wish for our own offices, a Literature & Latte headquarters, until I remember that I would be the only one driving there anyway -- while I'm in Truro, other team members are in Norwich (in the east of England), Portland, Oregon and Sydney, Australia.

"I believe,” he writes, “that innovation in software begins with someone setting out to make a tool they want or need for themselves.”