Wanted: the engineer’s entrepreneur.

James Padolsey
3 min readSep 29


I am, without question, No Good At Business. And I’m sorry to say: I have very little inclination to try. I can grit and wade through the mess, to an extent, but it’s not my spark nor my talent.

This is not a false humility or nessless sass. I’m seriously just the worst at business. I don’t like making money. In fact, I hate money. I can’t sell things either. I’ll tell you a thousand flaws before I show you a single merit. And I’d rather climb in a hole than pitch in an elevator.

But other people… They have the spark. They can do things I can’t do. But apparently, our options are either: “be employed” or “build a business”. I cannot do either of those things. The former because I’m impatient, terrible with authority, easily bored, and can’t stand bureacracy. The latter because I am Not Good At Business.

Most people can recognize a problem, an opportunity for creation, or something they wish to solve. Engineers, however, have the opportunity to immediately start building it. They can gather the pieces required to build the solution and busy themselves in their sheds or caves or greenhouses until they surface once again. And in their hands will likely be: an ugly and over-engineered attempt at solving a solution they imagine to exist. In their eyes: sleep deprivation. In their soul: the urgent lassitude of satisfaction and an insatiable hunger for more rabbit holes of technical intrigue to dive into.

Every blue moon, the engineer will have built something useful or capable of solving a real problem that other people experience. But building it doesn’t mean these people will see it, use it, talk about it, nor pay for it.

This isn’t always a sad story. Some projects find value in their execution. They’re fun and edifying. And that may be all they were meant to be.

But with other projects … It feels like there’s the possibility – remote perhaps – that something could happen. If just a smidge of the right energy was injected into the process, the thing could become.. An Actual Thing. A… business?

So, with a bit of cheek, I’m looking for an entrepreneur that is good at going that final mile. And, whatsmore, they don’t need to have ideas for a product or be good at engineering it. They just need to be good at building the seed of an eco-system ‘around’ the product. Growth, communication, funding, marketing, sales, operations. Vitally important things I’m awful at. I don’t undervalue them. To the contrary, I prize these skills greatly. And it is in my deficit of them that I yearn to find someone.

Who am I? I’m James, a software engineer based in London. I’ve worked at companies like fb, twtr, and stripe, but these days I’m focused on personal projects, lately using large language models. I created mini.ceo, an AI assistant you can email for complex research and large document analysis. I also made ParseTheBill to flag up human rights issues in UK legislation, Pippy to help disabled people advocate for their needs, and A Book Like Foo to recommend books. I also authored a book on clean code in JS. After a recent stroke left me disabled, I’m also newly focused on disability rights and inclusion. I’m always eager to collaborate with others and build things that matter.

Email me: j @ J𝟭𝟭Y [dot] io. (website & cv: j11y.io)



James Padolsey

Building things like ablf.io / mini.ceo / pippy.app / wiki.a.foo / j11y.io / Queer, disabled, curious.