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Featured on Dec 10, 2010

Nicholas Daniel-Richards

"You're Only Supposed to Blow the Bloody Doors Off! - thanks Michael Caine."


A builder of digital experiences since 1996, that somehow ended up to be quite literally an Englishman in New York. I have spent the past decade or so leading teams in building some great experiences. I am a strong believer in UX/Engineering collaboration. If I was cool enough to have a DJ name, it would be DJ nicholasdr - this is also why I'm not cool enough to have a DJ name.

Is there a programming language or framework that stands out as having an extraordinarily passionate user base?

A few obvious ones come to mind: for sheer community base, wide array of tools and continual evolution, Ruby on Rails fits the bill; and jQuery wins the what-was-just-a-few-years-ago-confusing JSF race (at least for now... although I still have fond memories of Prototype.js). I'm personally excited to see what Asana brings to the development table.

I’ve found that good designers and developers tend to be very intrinsically motivated to excel at their craft. In your experience with managing creative and interactive agencies, how do you maintain and promote those qualities? Do you have any strategies for keeping your team focused through more difficult projects?

In choosing a team, I steer clear of creating or working with rockstars. Always be on the look out for great people - individuals that want to constantly improve their craft. The best teams consist of people who can relate with one another and work collectively in order to build a product that is a reflection of their best efforts. Everyone within the team must thrive on learning, evolving and being open to making mistakes. No one truly knows it all, and very rarely do people build awesome apps on their own.

As far as focusing on more difficult projects: the old adage "knowledge is power" really correlates to the end result of a teams effort. It's crucial that all involved understand and believe in the project; sure, specifications are great but what's the vision? who will be using it? how will this rock? In other words - have the team buy into the bigger picture and be a part of the projects success.

Finally, the projects and clients must be new, exciting and push us to improve. I've been able to build and continue to build a great team at Code and Theory because of the awesome projects we get to work on.

How does the dot-com boom of the 90’s compare to the bubble we’re experiencing today? How much do you think Groupon is really worth?

After exiting the dot-com craze a decade ago, my world has been about building great engineering disciplines in digital agencies. From what I've witnessed over the past couple of years in the world of startups - the ability to build and iterate much sooner and raise funding based on working applications as opposed to raising funds to build the product is a noticeable difference. Also, taking into account companies such as Groupon, Facebook and Twitter turning down substantial offers - maybe the exit strategies have changed as well, not so much about the big payout, but more about mindshare / market-share and a path towards profitability. Also haven't seen any sock puppets of late - perhaps Mr Zuckerberg could surprise us on his next presentation...

In a city with as many dining options as there are opining food bloggers, do you feel that British cuisine is properly represented here? Does Quite Peckish seek to educate and market to those of us who are chiefly not British, but always hungry?

Lets be honest, not many people think of great cuisine when they think of British food. Some of it is well deserved, especially when you have a desert named "Spotted Dick". However, I passionately believe that there are some great British treats and food that is fantastic. Living in the US has meant that access to British grub has been challenging, most shops rarely sell anything British, and those that do charge a small fortune for it. Pretty much every website selling British food sucks, and highlight too many tea pots, roses and royal guards - where's the cool British attitude? where's the community?

QuitePeckish is my personal project. I've set out to bring together a community of fellow limeys and anglophiles, that love the food and the culture. I'm currently working on a platform that will allow the community to collectively match and buy British stuff at a discounted rate because of a group buy, while at the same time enabling those same people to share and express the passion that is limey culture.

I'm prepared to sell for $6 Billion btw should anyone be interested.