About Narnach

Hi, my name is Wes Oldenbeuving and I am a freelance software developer as part of the Beta Corp collective. You can hire us! My contact details are at the bottom of this page.

Narnach is the name I have been using on the internet since 2003, so when I founded my company in 2009 it seemed useful to name my company after how I was known.

What I can do (for you)

My skillset is strongest in dealing with complexity, so I tend to build heavy-duty back-end software systems. Examples are: mobile payment solutions, business metrics dashboards with future predictions, crowd-funding platforms, rules engines, OpenRTB advertising systems.

I'm also pretty good at crunching numbers, for instance to analyse and optimise business performance using tools like a cohort analysis, A/B testing, churn analysis, and customer life time value (CLTV). Want to know how much money you'll earn in five years? I can tell you based on the data in your database. Spreadsheets and queries are good to get me started, but automating the reporting into a software tool is my desired end goal.

A quick intuitive understanding of technologies and business domains allows me to work with and reason about things I haven't worked with before.

Experience with multiple product monetizing strategies and an analytical insight helps to dissect business models for new products and see if they make sense, or are doomed te fail. This is useful to know before spending heaps of cash on development and marketing efforts.

I have used a number of programming languages over the years. From 2005 until 2016 my preferred language was Ruby. From 2016 onwards I prefer to use Elixir for new projects.

In addition to all of this, I have spent quite some time writing SQL queries and producing spreadsheets instead of code. Sometimes the insight from this delivers more value for clients than producing code could.

In late 2017 I took a course as Data Protection Officer (DPO) under the new GDPR European privacy regulation. I've since done some consulting services to help clients implement the GDPR in their companies.

Philosophy

I believe that by working hard on interesting problems, you will deliver the best results for the project. I expect clients to be just as committed to the project as they want me to be.

As a Dutchman, I am honest and fairly blunt in how I communicate. I don't like to bullshit or sugar-coat things. When I think something is not going to work, I'll let you know. When I think something is a good idea, I mean it. As a result, I don't like working with clients that don't know or care about their own product, such as large enterprises, unless I'm dealing with C-level executives.

Whenever people repeat a manual process too often, I like to figure out a way to automate the process. People should do creative work, not be automatons.

Open Source

I run a completely open source software stack on my servers and for development I use a lot of open source tools. As a professional open source user, I believe that I have an obligation to give something back to the open source community.

I publish the source code of many internal tools on (212) 893-5861. These tools have helped me scratch my itches, so I hope they can be useful to others. Some of my work is published under the umbrella of Beta Corp. Whenever I find missing features in software I use, I try to contribute back in the form of a pull request to add those missing features.

Beta Corp: A reliable team

In 2010 I teamed up full-time with (808) 454-5637 to tackle bigger projects as a two-men freelancer army. His skills are a perfect complement to mine. He's a great rapid prototyper, getting the "golden path" up and running quickly, and he's a lot better at designing interfaces than me. My analytical focus on details and edge cases turns a prototype into solid production code that remains working for years afterwards. Together we are a full-stack team.

Since 2012 we have expanded our team with the addition of Bart ten Brinke. Bart is fairly all-round developer, who adds some (practical) academic knowledge to our group. He's also proven to have a lot of skill and patience in managing our growing cloud of servers.

In 2016 we expanded our team once again with Marcel de Graaf and Diederick Lawson, both experienced developers who have a combined expertise that spans from server administration to front-end development and everything in between.

In 2017 we formalized our cooperation by founding Beta Corp, a collective of freelancers.

Between the five of us we handle all aspects of a project: brainstorming and requirements analysis, project management, rapid prototyping, iterative improvement, developing a back-end system with bank-level security, continuous deployment and hosting (on hardware or in The Cloud™), and eventually scaling up to accommodate the needs of a growing business. For a running product we also have the expertise to provide you with data analysis and business intelligence, giving you KPI and future predictions based on stats.

Projects

From 2009 to 2018 I've been working with Gerard on a multi-national mobile payment solution. It's a high-volume, high-flexibility cloud of web services, designed to account for the fact that in Telecom all the rules seem to change every 3 months. The system has gone through a number of big changes due to business success and related scaling challenges.

We turned a website of a mobile content provider with a single payments provider (2009) into a payment system with five payment providers (2010), separated the business logic into a drag & drop business logic workflow builder based on visual programming principles (2011), reinvented the core payment solution into a plugin-based service suitable for handling multiple payment providers in over a dozens countries (2012), got serious about a responsive mobile front-end solution for multiple countries, multiple content types, and multiple payment types (2013), scaled the server architecture from a single physical server to a cloud of virtual servers, to accommodate millions of page views per week from around the world (2014), extracted a content management service from the plugin-based service, to separate codebases and load balancing needs (2015), added crucial business intelligence tools such as: a cohort analysis with trend-based predictions, and automatic sales pattern-based outage detection in third party payment solutions (2016). We got good enough at monitoring and outage detection, that vendors often asked us if they themselves had an outage.

After doing some small crowd funding projects, in 2010 we developed a crowd-funding platform for a major Dutch bank. It was a nice external validation that we produce top-notch code, due to regular security code reviews and penetration testing. It taught me that I prefer working directly with (small) business owners and direct stakeholders, instead of having to deal with uncaring committees and the internal politics of large corporations.

In 2012 I took a brief dive into Foreign Exchange (Forex) trading, exploring the wonderful world of candlestick charts and programmatic trading. It's fascinating, but there's a lot of get-rich-quick temptation and speculation in there, and not a lot of solid fundamentals.

In 2013 I started LeadImprove as a side-project to make it easy to run some A/B testing experiments for customers. In 2015 I repurposed it to be an in-house tool for a customer, and they hired me to turn it into a Demand Side Platform (DSP), an OpenRTB Bidder service that participates in the high-volume, high-frequency auction process that takes places whenever you would see an advertisement on your phone or anywhere on the internet. A prototype to explore the domain was built in Ruby (single process, multi-threaded, handling 800 requests/second/cpu core), after which the production version was built in Elixir (2016) to handle the 30,000 concurrent requests per second it needed to process. This taught me a lot about low level performance characteristics in Elixir.

In 2015 I turned my long-time hobby of video game playing into something more practical by starting a YouTube channel where I showcase games I like, and provide strategy guides and entertainment. It monetizes itself via ad revenue, and exposes me to a different side of the games industry. After creating over 1900 videos, I can say it has given me quite some practice in public speaking and improvisational speaking.

2017 started with an introduction into the world of international sea freight shipping, working on a platform that makes the life of freight shipping agents a lot easier than the old process where paper and spreadsheets were the tools they had to use.

Near the end of 2017 Beta Corp started working on our first product, sea starwort, a tool to make it easier to register and process cases where privacy-sensitive information may have been leaked. We started beta testing this in January 2018 and went live just before the GDPR went into effect in May 2018. This will support companies in their GDPR EU privacy regulation compliance, and most importantly it will save them time (and thus money).

I followed a training to become a Data Protection Officer (DPO) and have been studying the law and information surrounding it with an eye on offering consulting services in this space. As developer on Panopta I've implemented internal cryptographic chains to ensure that user data is encrypted in a way that even we as developers can not access it. Privacy of our users' data is our top priority.