Benjamin Lupton

Founded Bevry, DocPad, and Startup Hostel. Accomplished in JavaScript, Node.js, Web Development and Open-Source. Enthusiast of Quantitative Psychology, Philosophy and Trading. Available for consulting, training and speaking. Contact. Referrals.

2010 in Quick Recap

2011 in Recap

Perth, Meetups, and History.js

The year started in my home town Perth in Western Australia. I had just recently started attending the Ruby on Rails meetups held by The Frontier Group. As Perth is a pretty small place, the meetup essentially also served as the JavaScript meetup of Perth too. Everyone there are some of the best people I've ever met in my life, they are up to beat with things, and as The Frontier Group offer free desk space, I spent every chance I got in their office. The vibe there is incredibly open, layed back, supportive, but cutting edge too.

In the January meetup, Keith Pitt talked about the problem with hashes when used in dynamic websites, and how the HTML5 History API is the solution. This was an area which I had an incredible amount of expertise in with my jQuery Ajaxy and jQuery History projects. Keith was right, the HTML5 History API provided a solution to the problems that hashes introduced. Shocked and amazed that this was actually an area that other people (especially companies) are having issues with, I spent the next 3 days in The Frontier Group's office hacking away creating the first version of History.js - a cross browser compatible interface to the HTML5 History API. It exploded instantly.

Aloha Editor and DocPad

In January, another amazing thing happened. The small side project I had been participating in for free, a project called Aloha Editor confirmed that they would fly me over, all expenses paid, to speak and participate in their first Aloha Editor Developer Conference held in Vienna, Austria. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I would leave late February.

Entering February, we booked the tickets - a time that I also made another impactful decision. My girlfriend had already moved back to Sydney to fight for custody of her two children from a previous marriage. Deciding that is where my love, and the money in Australia is, I took the plunge and routed my flights to leave from Sydney, and take me back there afterwards.

I spent the days hacking on History.js and Aloha Editor, watching them both grow side by side was an incredible experience, while my girlfriend worked as a barista to help pay the bills for the tin garage we where livin in.

Soon enough, it was time to pack my bags and head to Vienna. It is definitely one of the highlights of my entire life, it was a full on weak working with the some of the most cutting edge javascript and HTML5 developers in the world - and to think, this small little 21yo Perth Boy was in the middle of it all, and influencing the way people will edit content on the web - it was a dream come true. That one week, is what I strive to create every single day - a collaborative cutting-edge environment, where everyone is cared for, and able to work on the best, with the best.

Leaving Vienna, I visited a series of old friends in Switzerland - one of those friends was Rob Schnieder, and his roomate Sven Vetsch - both security researchers and hackers at some top firms in Zurich. The days where spent pigging out on swiss chocolate, drinking tons of beer, eating indian food, flying toy helicopters, watching Breaking Bad, and most importantly hacking every chance we got on things. One night, Sven was telling me how much he hated having to write his security documents in Miscrosoft Word, especially as they had to contain a lot of code samples, and in one instant he said - their must be a better way. Intoxicated with a challenge, and with some inklings from an earlier conversation I was having with semantic expert Henri Berguiss about building Jekyll in Node.js, we put on our thinking caps. Over the next 3 hours we brainstormed use cases, researched possible solutions, filtered out anything that wasn't essential for our use cases, and started hacking. In 3 hours, we had the first working version of DocPad. It was a legendary experience.

On top of the world, but absolutely broke…

Flying back to Sydney, our cash started running out, and the rent for the garage we were renting was raising all the time by the crazy landlord - to top it off, apparently the whole living in a garage thing is illegal and the government told us the crazy landlord would be fined, and we have to move out.

So, it was now time to find a job, a job that could bring in enough to cover our monthly expenses. So I posted a request for work on twitter. Over the course of three months, I worked with Nikki Durkin from 99dresses, Andrew Jessup from Noosbox, and Zac Altman from UniRadar to revamp their user interfaces and brainstorm new ideas. This worked out quite well, the work was awesome, and so where the incredibly bright people - though I was still struggling to hit our monthly expenses.

Time to re-evaluate things.

Re-evaluating things, Hello Corporate.

At this point in time, time was running out, and the expenses where getting higher, and I was working later and later. To top it off, I was still contributing to several free projects with the big promsie of a pot of gold right around the tunnel. You know how it goes, "you're an expert, help us with this, we're presenting it investors… okay, we've presented, they need more from you, but after, you'll have the big bucks… repeat." - needless to say, when we started missing rent, and I had to work later and later, I realised I was getting burned really really bad, and cut those people out right away.

It was time to earn a lot of money, upfront right away, it was time to go corporate. A corporate firm called Acid Green soon got in contact with me, they had been following me for a while, and just landed two big multi-million dollar projects - both of which required a javascript expert. Needless to say, I happily accepted the role.

It's been amazing working at Acid Green, the work has been really great and the people are really smart. Those projects are now finishing up, so the big question now is what's next?

Other Progressions

Million Dollar Challenge

On August, 29 I set the goal of earning a million dollars by August 29, 2012 - dubbed "the 365 day million dolllay challenge". I'm still actively pursuing it.


Since July, I've no longer been operating as a sole trader, but instead through my own company Bevry. Companies offer several advantages over sole traders, including:

It should still be considered a startup.


DocPad is what I consider to be the greatest thing that I have ever done, and ever will do for a while. It is the thing that I want to do, even if I fail. Why do I like it soo much? Because it rethinks web development, and cuts out anything unecessary, but still provides you with the same key infrastucture features you'd expect from the largest CMS systems - but with a fraction of the code, and a fraction of the time. It will allow a time and an age, where you can say, what do I want to build today? [chat application/blog/website/signup page/book/whatever], what do I it to look like? [theme 1, theme 2, theme 3], what else do I want? [comments, markdown, coffeescript, store, search, whatever]. And bang, you've got your website, a local website, a website which you can hack away in any languge you desire, with the tools you already know, without any limits, a website that you can deploy anywhere and everywhere, a website that can scale infinitely in every and any direction - the ultimate website.

It's a really cool project, and everyone should check it out.

Married Life

Overall, married life is pretty sweet. It's a lot more stable than not being married, with higher-level challenges - though challenges none the less. It's been hard, but we are confident that we will stick it out and make it work.

Top Learnings