Who am I?

I am Martin Fowler: an author, speaker… essentially a loud-mouthed pundit on the topic of software development. I work for ThoughtWorks, a software delivery company, where I have the exceedingly inappropriate title of "Chief Scientist". I have written half-a-dozen books on software development, including Refactoring, and Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture. I write for and edit the website martinfowler.com.

My main interest is to understand how to design software systems, to maximize how much value development teams can deliver. In doing this I've looked to understand the patterns of good software architecture, and also the processes that support software design. I've become a big fan of agile approaches and the resulting focus on evolutionary software architecture. I don't come up with original ideas, but do a pretty good job of recognizing and packaging the ideas of others, or as Brian Foote describes me: "an intellectual jackal with good taste in carrion".

photo of Martin Fowler

photo: Manuel Gomez Dardenne (2016)

What is this Site?

I started martinfowler.com as a place to keep my own writings, initially just articles I'd written for other purposes. In the early 2000s, blogs got popular and that encouraged me to start the bliki in 2003 to engage with some more informal writing.

As the site got more popular, I felt I could use it to help other people get more visibility for their writing, so I've steadily increased publications from others here. I vet each article before accepting it - and often do a considerable amount of developmental editing too - so there isn't a high rate of publication. I do believe, however, that the quality of the articles matters much more than the quantity.

The topics of the articles I publish cover a broad range of software development, from writers who share my broad philosophy favoring agile approaches that appreciate the importance of technical skill in making that style work effectively. Many are, or have been, colleagues of mine at ThoughtWorks, although that isn't mandatory. I generally only consider articles from people I know, although occasionally from those I don't but are vouched for by those I do.

Writing

For the last decade or more, most of my writing has been published on martinfowler.com. I like the control I have to publish what I like, to control its format, and to evolve it as needed.

I have written several books, all of which published by Addison-Wesley, and imprint of Pearson. I am a series editor of my signature series with Addison-Wesley, which has given me chance to lend my support to several excellent books.

I spent five years in the early noughties as the editor of the design column for IEEE Software magazine. In the late 90s I wrote a column for Distributed Computing magazine. I rarely write for magazines now, preferring to concentrate my non-book writing on my website, which presumably you’ve found by now.

Speaking

I speak at many international conferences on software development. I’ve served on program committees for OOPSLA, Software Development, UML World, XP 2001, and TOOLS. I gave closing keynotes at XP2000-2003, served as conference chair for XP2005 and for Agile Universe in 2001. These days I try to limit my conference speaking as I don't enjoy speaking and also dislike the travel needed to get to conferences. When I do speak, it's mostly for ThoughtWorks events. Many of my conference talks are available on video.


Contact Information

My email address is martin@martinfowler.com, but if you do email me please read my FAQ first. Email is the best way to reach me.

Mailing Address

Martin Fowler

ThoughtWorks

200 E. Randolph, 25th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601-6501

U.S.A.

Social Media

twitter: @martinfowler

I'm not active on other social media sites. But I also post updates to this site on its RSS feed.


Disclosures

As someone who writes a lot on the web it's wise for me to point out my financial and other interests so people have a sense of my biases. (And I think others should do the same.)

I am an employee of ThoughtWorks drawing a salary and holding options in the company. I do have a voice in our business direction, but I don't have a significant day-to-day participation in it.

My other main source of non-investment income comes from my books, of which a few sell rather well.

Vendors do offer me their tools from time to time, but usually I don't have time to even play with them. Pearson (my publisher) provides me with access to complimentary books and a subscription to safari books online.

I am an amazon affiliate, so if you buy books via my links I do get a cut. I also get a cut from my links to InformIT (the Pearson online store).

My investments are all in wide-ranging mutual funds. I do not hold any direct investments in companies at all, and so do not have any direct investments in the software business.



ThoughtWorks

I became an independent consultant in 1991 and since then have seen a lot of companies as a consultant. While I enjoyed a lot of this work, I'd never imagined joining any of them. This was partly because of the fact that I wanted the independence to do the writing that's become an important part of my life, but also because I hadn't come across an organization that was the sort of company I'd like to work for.

I started working with ThoughtWorks in the spring of 1999 and found a company whose attitude to people and customers fitted remarkably with my own views. They build the kind of mission critical business systems that I like to be involved in with the quality that I always aim for. But the key reason I joined them is because they really do believe that people are their biggest asset. I've seen many companies say that as a cliche, but not here. And that to me is essential because I believe the biggest impact on successful software development is motivated, talented developers. If you don't have that all the technology and methodology in the world can't help you. By hiring and keeping the best people, ThoughtWorks have the key to succeed in this business - and I do enjoy being around the best.

Home

I live in Melrose, a pleasant suburb of Boston, Massachusetts with my wife Cindy, a structural engineer. We enjoy hiking, both in New England and as a central part of our vacations. I indulge in photography, which I like to inflict on my readers. Since secondary school I have enjoyed strategic boardgames, and have recently become a frequent player on screen with Heavy Cardboard. We often head into Boston to explore the small but vibrant theater scene. I enjoy living in the US even though I miss the particular beauties of the English countryside.

History

I grew up in Walsall, England, going to Queen Mary's Grammar School. I went to University College London from 1983-6 where I got a BSc (ENG) in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. After graduating I stayed in London working for a while at Coopers & Lybrand, and a small tech company called Ptech, before becoming an independent consultant in 1991. I moved to the Massachusetts in 1994 continuing as an independent consultant until I joined ThoughtWorks in 2000. I became an American citizen in 2005 (I retain my UK citizenship as well).