Interview: Marc Palmer, Software Engineer

In this series of posts we talk to residents and members of the co-working studio to find out about their work and how they ended up here. You can find more interviews here

Cluster: What do you do?

Marc: I’m an app developer working mainly on iPhone and iPad apps. I work both as a remote-working contractor for clients all over the world as well as on my own apps. Currently I’m the UI developer on the Concepts drawing app. I’m also a co-owner of Cluster!

Cluster: How long have you been doing it?

Marc: I’ve been a contractor for 25 years. I started doing iPhone and iPad app development about the time we started Cluster, so that’s over four years now.

Cluster: What does your day-to-day work involve?

Marc: I spend most of my time in Xcode, Apple’s development tool and in Slack to chat with other people who work on the app. On the Cluster side of it we use Squarespace a lot for the web site, Zapier for automations, Acuity for meeting room booking management and FreeAgent for our accounts.

Cluster: Tell us why you use a co-working space

Marc: I found myself getting more into the design side of apps and lacking those skills myself I wanted to meet people who I could work with and have a fun working environment. I also had to start cycling to improve my health, so I initially used another co-working space in town a couple of days a week to force myself into a healthier routine.

Cluster: Where did you work before Cluster?

Marc: I worked at home in a lovely bespoke wooden building in my garden for a long time. I even had a drum kit next to me. Nowadays I always work at Cluster unless I have to wait in for a plumber or something, where I work at the kitchen table with my trusty MacBook Pro.

Cluster: Tell us something have you learned since working at Cluster

Marc: That no matter hard I work or good I get at my work, I can always get better results by opening up and meeting more people, getting their opinions and/or working with them. It can be life-changing — people I met doing this made it possible for me to change my career to iPhone development.

Cluster: What have you found challenging about being self-employed/working remotely?

Marc: In terms of remote work, clients that don’t have a remote-working culture often make it very stressful without meaning to. You have to have a good culture of information sharing and regular video calls for a distributed team work well. On the self-employed front, it took me way too long to get good at billing clients on time and setting aside the money for the annual tax payments!

Cluster: Do you have any advice for people starting out self-employed or working out of the office?

Marc: Get a great accountant with an online system like FreeAgent, and pay people who are good at the things you hate doing to take care of those things for you. Stash the tax money in a savings account for every invoice and DO NOT TOUCH IT.

Cluster: How can people find your work online?

Marc: My blog is marcpalmer.net, I’m @marcpalmerdev on Twitter, and @marcpalmerdev on Instagram too.