Everyone loves to start the New Year with a clean slate – and with this in mind, I think it’s time to set a certain record straight.

Whenever we start working with some of our clients on managing their internal data systems, there is almost always an awkward period of embarrassment about the “mess of our technology” or “fact we are so far behind”. That’s not an unusual feeling if you work in a big company, and it’s one we see all the time. So much, in fact, that here at Black Swan, we have learnt to love the challenge! Throw your tangles of wires and archaic operation systems right at us, and we’ll relish the chance to bring you up to speed.

Like every developer, when I started coding (badly) almost 100 Swan years ago I suffered from the classic “why can’t everything be perfect” syndrome, something I now sit on the other side of every day. It makes complete sense. Developers are logical beings craving neat, tidy perfect solutions and as they don’t see the context of how a company operates, it frustrates them that each architecture they work on looks like it was designed by a two year old fed solely on Calpol, Smarties and fizzy pop.

I recently read a lovely phrase lately that upgrading your infrastructure in a modern company is a lot like building a boat while you are sailing in it. In reality we can’t just turn things off and switch them over, we need to keep delivering results while we re-architect for the future. When you look at it another way; it’s strange to think that the companies we work with are ashamed of their chaotic current systems, because in reality they’ve been so damn successful, they’ve grown so organically and quickly their infrastructure has not managed to keep up. At Black Swan we have exactly the same problem ourselves, and we are only 150 people!

I promise if you talk to us we won’t judge. We don’t see the hack on top of hack or the sticky plaster fix as lack of foresight or laziness, simply a statement of business success. You haven’t had time, we get it! You’ve been busy! We don’t see the complex glue and re-glue of a several platforms as the road to hell being paved by good intentions. For us they are Kintsugi: the ancient Japanese practice gold repair of Ceramic Faults.  The Japanese believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful -Indeed; Japanese collectors developed such a taste for kintsugi that some were accused of deliberately breaking prized ceramics, just to have them mended in gold.


So don’t despair if you have a Lamp stack, a 1-tier architecture, AS400, just Excel or SAP, you won’t find us turning you away at the door. We love legacy.

Steve King has worked in tech & data science, man & boy. He puts it down to playing with an abacus from an early age in the depths of Wales, with precious else to do. Now he’s all grown up and as CEO spends his days leading our flagship accounts – zipping regularly from the UK to the US West Coast. He’s one of Black Swan’s founders, citing his sources of inspiration as Nate Silver, standing atop the Gower Peninsular and delivering game changing insights for his clients.