An Epiphany – What do we actually do at Wirehive?
I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m going to start this particular post by telling you a story.
There is a reason for it. I hope it will become clear as we go along, but I feel I have to warn you as it might seem a little bit random to start with.
Ok, now that’s out of the way let’s get on with it.
My youngest son is called Edward. He was born in February 2013 and insists everyone calls him Ned. One day when he was about 18 months old and still a bit unsteady on his feet I noticed he had a bit of a bump on his head. I assumed he’d probably banged it. After all he had a habit of standing up underneath furniture.
It was still there the next day so I took him to the Doctors.
He had no idea what it was, but sent us to the hospital for an ultrasound to see if that would make things any clearer.
It didn’t, and neither did a CT. We did however get a referral to a paediatric neurosurgeon. They thought it might have been a rare vascular anomaly – or in plain English: a vein that hadn’t grown the way it was supposed to.
However while we were waiting for that appointment Ned suddenly stopped walking. He said it hurt his hip.
The next two weeks were spent in and out of hospital having x-rays, ultrasounds, and dozens of blood tests. The paediatric department said he might have irritable hip and passed us to the Orthopaedic team. They said he definitely didn’t and passed us back to paediatrics.
This went on a long time and he didn’t improve, and so they finally decided to get an MRI done of his pelvis and legs to get a definitive answer.
There was of course a problem with this. MRI scans take a long time and you can’t move, and so he’d need a general anaesthetic. But because MRI scanners use extremely powerful magnets none of the anaesthtic equipment could contain metal. They didn’t have the right equipment. So they put him in an ambulance and shipped him and my wife off to a different hospital.
The next day he was discharged because the MRI was fine and didn’t show anything. We got an appointment to see the orthopaedic consultant the next Monday to see if it was improving. This was a Wednesday.
On Friday at about ten to five I answered the phone. The voice on the other side said it was one of the consultants from our local hospital.
I’d worked in the NHS for 10 years before a major switch in career, and so I immediately knew there was something wrong as Consultants do not ring people at home, especially at the end of the day.
I spent about an hour on the phone to him as he explained how the hospital that had done the MRI had never actually sent a copy of the scans across. They had simply phoned to say they looked fine. He’d been following Ned’s case and wasn’t willing to take someone else’s word for it and requested they send him a copy of the scans.
He went on to explain that they showed a large tumour in Ned’s pelvis. It was impossible to say for certain what it was, but that Ned had Cancer. He had cancelled the appointment to see him on Monday and made an emergency referral to the Royal Marsden Hospital to get a diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.
He told us that it was likely to be either an incredibly rare condition called Histiocytosis, or an advanced Neuroblastoma. The first gave him a better that 50/50 chance of surviving, the latter significantly less.
The next 18 months are all a bit of a blur to be honest.
Ned had a series of operations. One of which was a biopsy that confirmed that he had widespread Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. He had tumours in various locations, including his pelvis and also his skull. He was started on a 15 month course of chemotherapy.
The level of support we got from the amazing staff at the Royal Marsden was incredible, but it was still a lifechanging experience for us all. The things we suddenly had to take into consideration were a big surprise.
We weren’t allowed to take him more than an hour’s drive from a hospital with a paediatric cancer unit. The chemo destroyed his immune system so if he got even a slight illness it could theoretically kill him. More times than I can count he was rushed into hospital with a temperature and had to stay there in isolation being filled with antibiotics while they made sure his weakened system could deal with the infection.
But the weird thing is that it pretty quickly became normal.
And that is the whole point of this article.
It’s just been an extremely longwinded way of saying that whatever you do regularly becomes completely normal after a surprisingly short amount of time.
For the record Ned is fine now.
He’s now six, and other than a collection of unusual scars and an endearing confidence around strangers you’d never know he’d ever been ill. He’s been in remission for over three years now. He even passed his first Judo grading recently.
But let’s get back to that tenuous point I was trying to make.
The things you experience on a day to day basis are just normality. They are the baseline from which you judge everything else. However bad they are, eventually they just become completely normal. And conversely, however good things are, or however innovative and impressive the company you work for is it rapidly just becomes the baseline from which you judge everything else.
So what’s brought this on I hear you ask? Why am I bothering to expose my soul to you in order to make what seems at face value a fairly basic point?
Well I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday.
At Wirehive we have recently moved into a new office. We’ve got lots of space and I wanted to use it to do something worthwhile. So I organised and hosted an informal networking event for local businesses called “Cloud for Good”. It wasn’t a sales thing, I genuinely think we have a position where we can influence people to do good in the world, and so I tend to take every opportunity to push that agenda. Both inside the company, and outside it.
The idea was that we’d get to show off our spiffy new home, and we’d get to meet some other local businesses at the same time. I arranged for Andy Readman, our Microsoft Azure Evangelist to do a short talk looking at some of the amazing things that people had done around the world by utilizing cloud based services in innovative ways.
I’m sure that when I started working here at Wirehive some of the things we do seemed really impressive, but at some stage over the last two years I had become so used to it that it had become completely normal.
We work with some of the biggest, best, and brightest agencies in the country. We partner with some of the greatest, most groundbreaking, and successful companies in the world. And we have some of the cleverest people I know working away in the place we call Wirehive HQ.
It’s really hard to summarise what we do here at Wirehive. We describe our company as a Growth Partner, but that doesn’t really cover it. When people ask me who Wirehive are, I tell them we are a cloud consultancy, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Sure we can tell you the best way to shift your file storage from the old server in the corner of the office to the cloud. We can even manage the migration for you. But we can also provide the infrastructure for the new chatbot on your charity website. A chatbot that takes the pressure off the people you have answering the phones to the vulnerable people you support.
Andy showed us his favourite video of a blind man who’d used existing cloud technology to build an app that allowed him to “see” what was going on around him. You could see both that people were suddenly shocked at the possibilities of the thing we call “cloud”. But also that it was so far outside their area of business that there was no point in even thinking about it much.
It was just a cool story.
Yet to us things like that are so normal to be considered old hat.
And that is the epiphany I had.
Suddenly I understood what it was we actually did in the world. What our position allows us to do better than anyone else.
We are the bridge between the most amazing innovative technologies that are already doing things we couldn’t dream of a decade ago. And the company that sees things like that, would love to use it, but can’t see why it is relevant to what they do from day to day.
We say we help forward thinking businesses solve the technology problems that come from operating in a digital age. But in reality we do much more than that.
We help people who want to be better than they are at doing the thing they do.
We show people the vast array of possibilities that exist for them to grow.
We show people how to change the world.
We make people more efficient.
We help them grow.
So maybe we are a growth partner after all?
If you’d like to talk to us about what we might be able to do to help you and your business then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to be kept up to date as to when our next cloud for good event is then drop me a line. Or if you’d just like to come and see our new office, drink some pretty awesome coffee, and have a go on some Segway shoes then please do. We’d love to see you.