Jacob Jay

Peripatetic British full-stack developer, designer and entrepreneur.
Specialising in web applications and usability.

My journey here…

I'm an autodidactic generalist, with a quite atypical upbringing involving nomadism, an organic lifestyle, weathering storms and seeing a wide swathe of life. I love uncovering new things, making sense of them, and putting them to use in ways that bring broad benefits. I happily pursue lost causes in order to be certain that I'm not wrong, yet always act as a devil's advocate, continually weighing up all the options in pursuit of effectiveness.

2016, (in English) interviews of some folks at a coliving space about digital nomadism, including myself (the maniac), despite not really being one ;)

As a teenager I invented brands, made up business plans, designing and conceiving grand solutions for society. Fixing the UX of badly designed washing machines and bus networks or just creating logos, using felt-tip pens on whatever paper was floating around. I helped a family business making and supplying window displays in the UK, doing hands-on production, plus documentation and eventually strategy.

At seventeen I joined a startup marcomms firm in London as the first employee, a trainee DTP operator doing layouts and design. I quickly picked up new skills along the way (networking, web design, programming…) and this led to a role as Technical Director supporting the company's widening offerings on innumerable projects through the dotcom years in London, which included launching a successful industry-specific portal developed and managed inhouse, then spunoff.

At twenty-five I left and started my own micro-ISV developing a Mac application in the emerging photo-sharing sector. This took me to Bangalore where I hired my own team. The product achieved wide adoption, I thus came to work with a pile of the new providers (even the old: Webshots), eventually also taking on development of solutions for clients such as Microsoft. Yet an obvious failure here was mixing two jobs, and so my app project folded.

Since then I've been working between commercial contracting, and my own social enterprise/opensource projects. Contracting has seen me utilise my experience to lead and establish software development projects in locations such as New Delhi and Lisbon. Whilst following my own projects in the rest of my time and without a commercial remit gave me chance to explore concepts, trial and implement ideas utilising the 'slow' philosophy.

One such experimental project was catalysing the startup ecosystem in New Delhi, opening its first coworking space in 2010, whilst experimenting with probably the first open-access mixed-use model also offering accommodation (coliving), and got me more embedded in the startup scene. Here's a video interview about the hub from 2013.

Having had some experience from this with performing property sourcing and fitout, I took on a battered old apartment in the south of France and have been renovating it myself — knocking down walls, soldering, plumbing, correcting previous owner's mistakes and all the rest. Despite that idyl, I since realised that tech and community projects are more rewarding and engage me better :-p

…and so I'm returning to projects of my own, and other's, and recommencing the startup journey, with the good old urgencies of working through the night to things onwards…!


See the Current page for my active projects. These are those that I've shelved, or only partially implemented as I'm always experimenting with concepts and models, rarely getting around to building them into businesses. If you'd like to partner and do just that, I'm listening…