From Commando to coder

I'm Ben Ford, founder of COMMANDO Development

Before I was a progammer and CTO, I was a Royal Marine.

I didn't realise it at the time, but what I learned about teams and performance in the corps is exactly what the chaotic world of the tech start up needs today.

I learned to code on the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean in 2003 from a couple of books and without internet access. I was serving as a Royal Marine Commando on the way to Iraq. Ever since then I’ve been captivated by learning about software systems.

I’ve spent the last decade or so building and leading exceptional software development teams. Throughout the accelerating change of that period I’ve felt the stress and friction of navigating unclear objectives, delivery problems and communications breakdown. Eventually I got really fed up with seeing my technical skills wasted.

I started spending less time on technology, and more on systems and people. I find it endlessly fascinating and captivating! But, much like the speed of change in tech, it can be overwhelming.

The real breakthrough came when I started connecting research with my career before programming: The Royal Marines. Being able to link research with being in high performance teams in a totally different context was a game changer.