Code in Context Ltd


- Apps, websites, digital innovation


I build digital products for startups and large companies. I have a background in coding and software architecture but also know the design process and the methodologies that lead to successful startup businesses.

I know how to explore an opportunity and find value for the customer. I know the techniques to test ideas, risks, and prototypes against the market. I can advise on the appropriate level of technology to deliver; and then build those MVPs, ship the first version, and plan for a scalable tech stack.

I believe in cross-disciplinary teams, close collaboration, and rapid iteration. I love being around smart people but can also lead or consult on a project myself. Whatever you’re up to, get in touch.

Recent work

The Beano:
Coming soon
The car manufacturer:
A three month innovation project exploring a problem space and future business model for the car industry. Paid to act like a founder, I was empowered to explore and de-risk the business as if it were my own. Problem space exploration, landing pages, prototypes, customer interviews, iteratively designing and validating a proposition.
The bank:
Working on a controversial product for a C-level executive at a major bank. A change of focus one week in, a 12 week project cut to 6, an organisational web to navigate, physical and organisational impediments, handover to a team in China... if you were trying to sabotage a project it might look like this. Yet we still delivered a working prototype and delighted very senior stakeholders [Global Head of Digital].
ITV general election:
Using customer development techniques to decide how best to cover the UK general election while minimising expensive platform changes. Included meetings with integration partners, time with journalists and editors, and a focus on retained functionality for future politics coverage.
Skype in the Classroom:
Led development in a phase focused on discovery and search. I continued in this role as Skype partnered with, working with a subcontractor in fast, iterative sprints. The project made teachers happy, boosted Skype’s brand, cleared serious technical debt, and won major awards [iXDA and two Webbys].
ITV publisher:
ITV’s publishing system allows them to break news faster than other news organisations while supporting their 700k daily uniques. As the system grew, small race conditions had begun to appear. I used the advantages of their existing technology [Redis] to implement a smarter representation of data; meaning we could remove the unreliable job queue performing future work that could fail. This feat ended up touching 71 files.
Audited and refactored an early version of the Ghost blogging engine.
Tinie Tempah:
I built an app with custom Shazam-like technology for Warner Music Group. When the app detects one of Tinie’s songs, it drops you into a video of his lips rapping along in perfect time. Fans can hold it to their mouth and “rap like Tinie”. The app was a success; repeated antics from celebrities like Nick Grimshaw [Radio 1] pushed download numbers, and extended functionality for album owners drove new sales.


Ruby, Javascript, Node, iOS; Rails, React, Meteor; Heroku, AWS; MySQL, Elasticsearch, MongoDB, Redis.
Design Research:
User interviews, insights, and synthesis; Paper prototyping, clickable prototypes.
Lean, agile processes; International teams, remote working.

other achievements

I was awarded a first at uni for inventing a passwordless web login method [now replicated by WhatsApp, Google, etc]. Back in the day I made the shortlist for “Young Developer of the Year” and “Next Big Thing” for awards run by Microsoft and net magazine. My team won the 2014 “Hacker Olympics”. I’ve given talks places ranging from Google London to Havana, Cuba.

personal projects

I wrote a bot that automatically scanned and optimised open source projects, spawning a debate in the community and an article in WIRED. I sometimes work with artists, one project caught the attention of Ai Wei Wei. I used to run community hack days. I entered JS1K with a 1021 byte flappy bird clone. I once took an old telegraph key to Facebook London and hacked it to post Facebook statuses. I donated two goldfish to Mozilla’s office after using them to generate music at a hack day [no animals were harmed].


References available from James Higgs [Technology Director, ustwo London], Stef Lewandowski [Founder, Makeshift/Makelight], Andy Walker [Technology Director, Made by Many].