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Living by the Code

Before You Begin

Section 0: 2 chapters
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Community

Section 1: 14 chapters
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Getting to Work

Section 2: 17 chapters
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41 An Interview with Mark Allison
Written by Enrique López-Mañas

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Mark is a GDE for Android and software engineer with over 30 years’ experience. He is passionate about providing the user with the best possible experience. He has developed both server and client side, most commonly Android on the client side, but also for iOS, HTML5, Symbian, and J2ME. Mark started writing a technical blog blog.stylingandroid.com in 2011, which focuses on Android UI/UX topics, but often covers more general Android development techniques. It is recognized as the longest running technical Android blog and, aside from a six-week period where contractual issues prevented him from posting, Mark has published a new article every week since 2011. In 2014, Mark started Styling Android Limited, which provides freelance software development and consultancy services. When not being geeky, Mark likes to unwind by hurling abuse at football referees, specifically those who are unkind to his beloved Watford FC with whom he holds a season ticket. Mark also loves single malt whisky. Buy him one and you’ll have a friend for life!

Connect with Mark

Twitter: @MarkIAllison

Website: blog.stylingandroid.com

GitHub: github.com/StylingAndroid

Interview

You’ve been both an employee and a business owner. What are the most significant differences in how you approach your work as an employee versus an owner?

As a business owner, I find I view some things in a much more detached manner. For example, when negotiating new contracts, the head has to rule the heart and do what makes sense from a business perspective. On one occasion, I was in a position where I had two separate offers on the table for different roles, and had to choose between them. However, only one of the parties involved had actually sent me a contract, the other had promised a contract but never sent it. In that case, it reached a point where I was forced to make a decision that was based on what was right for my business and ignored my personal feelings of which one I would prefer to do.

What would you say to someone interested in transitioning from employee to business owner?

While I love running my own business, it may not be for everyone. Discipline is required both in the financials and in doing the admin or bookkeeping tasks. Although I have an accountant who takes care of much of the tax and accounting-related issues, there is still work that I need to do.

Is there anything you miss from working at a larger, more traditional company?

Not really, but it really is a personal thing. While it is easy to say things like I miss paid vacation and getting paid if I’m sick, I don’t really see that as an issue because I run my business so that I still get those benefits as an employee of my own company.

Mark’s Recommendations

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