Starting at WANdisco

9 years. I hadn’t expected to last at a job that long, but then I’d never had a job that felt like a career before. Unfortunately, it stopped feeling like a career and went back to being a job, so when a new opportunity knocked I answered with ebullience.

I’d been working in various customer forums and social media for the past half decade or so, and the opportunity to become Communications Lead for WANdisco was quite simply far too good to pass up.

So, that was it… off I went. It’s surprisingly easy to change jobs, in spite of how difficult it seems. Bear in mind if you’re thinking similarly, it’s the change that we fear and it’s nothing to be scared of. It’s a good thing. Chances are it’s what you need, especially if you feel bogged down and like you aren’t going anywhere. As an aside, if you like what you’re reading and think we’d be a good fit for you we are recruiting at the moment – why not check out the posts we have on offer at

Having said that though, moving from ISP support (essentially) to supporting version control systems is a fair leap and has involved an awful lot of learning. This also has been a good thing.

So, the runup to the change. Some clandestine emails (from a personal account of course), an after work visit to the new office for a chat, and finally the handing in of notice, which was kind of satisfying but mostly…melancholy, I think is the best word for it, though it wasn’t unpleasant. After sorting out the remainder of my holidays and arranging for a week off in between jobs (heartily recommended and well enjoyed), the first day dawned.

office panorama

Apologies for potatocam. Panorama shots are like that sometimes.

As luck would have it, a few others had trodden the path I was soon to walk so I wasn’t heading into a strange place filled with new people – several of them I’d worked with before which certainly helped tamp down the first day nerves. I even found myself sat next to a friend I’d had since secondary school, which was an interesting experience – we spent more than a few classes sat next to each other and while we hadn’t done the same in, oh, twenty years or so, it felt eerily familiar. Fortunately we were both professional enough to not let things interfere with the work that has to be done.

The other people I didn’t know? Lovely, lovely people. All of them. Especially the content team (but then I’m biased, and also a part of that team. Coinkydink? Decide for yourself). I feel like I fitted in well and nothing has happened to make me think otherwise so I’m going to assume the feeling is mutual or at least not totally opposite.

And the coffee? Oh my, the coffee.


The coffee machine says ‘COFFEE READY’. The sticker says ‘GLADIATOR READY’.

Never underestimate the power of a decent coffee machine. You’ll save so much money, at least you will if you like coffee. It’s what, £4 for a decent sized cost-bucks? Twice a day for some people, especially in the IT industry. There’s also pool and ping pong if you like that sort of thing, which I do. So that’s nice.

pool and wiff

Also bike parking and meeting rooms with panoramic floor to ceiling windows (not pictured).

So that’s the people and the office, summed up in a couple of paragraphs. I could go on, but I don’t think that would be the best thing in the world, so I will move on to training and learning and working which are all things that happen in the world of jobs.

To start, version control. I’ve not written code. I’ve tinkered, and could – with much messing about and no small amount of internet searching – probably hack existing code with copy and pasted bits of other code in order to get it doing what I want it to do. I realise that’s how most hackers get started, and I enjoy it, but I’ve not done enough to actually learn code. I could explain an array or a variable, but I couldn’t write one without googling.

Therefore, I have never used version control. It sounds simple enough, right? Keep a copy of this code, if someone makes a change remember both how it was and how it is now, and give each change a sequential reference.

Now, let’s scale that up.

But… but we can’t. You have a repository server, which clients connect to and commit code. How can you scale that?

Well, you have more than one repository server.


What do you mean, ‘Eh’? More than one. Many. Many servers, for many many many clients.


Well, indeed. How do those servers know about each other? How do they know when a client has connected and added more changes and files, and how do they talk to each other to make sure there aren’t conflicts and that changes aren’t missed?

That’s what we do. We sell software (and support for said software) that guarantees 100% uptime for distributed version control systems. We have a number of large clients with big names, too. (Oooh, get me.) We also do training, which is lucky as (to finally close this rapidly expanding circle of text) I needed some.



Part two to follow in a week or so. If you want to find me you can on our forums, I’m on Twitter as @WANdisco_Matt or there’s always my LinkedIn page – give me a shout if I can help with anything, and cheers for reading this far 🙂


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