ButlerThing back of napkin early concept design

How was ButlerThing born?

As we were thinking about the first post to publish on our blog, one of my colleagues suggested that I explain where the name ButlerThing comes from and what it means? My co-founders initially scratched their heads regarding the name. I keep finding I have to explain the name to people – but once explained they get it. The good thing is the name is certainly memorable and an ice-breaker when we meet people!

In 2015, I was at an Amazon Web Services(AWS) hands-on workshop and we were working with Internet of Things(IoT) and Alexa capabilities. Many firms from large enterprises to small start-ups were (and are) working hard to develop various Things and services for the Internet of Things. Things, if used in the house, will effectively be servants to the master of the house and provide various services to homeowners to make their lives easier.

ideation of ButlerThing and TurboSelenium - Load Test using Selenium

ideation of ButlerThing and TurboSelenium – Load Test using Selenium

Over lunch, we discussed AirBnB and how that platform can provide an income to many households while they are not home (Airbnb provides the ability for people to let their properties even when they are not there). One of the challenges with using this system is key management. How do you open the door for guests? How do you make sure that the key and the access to your home is only granted to authorised people? How does one allow cleaners and other service people in the house between each guest visit while they are not there themselves? There are methods in place but we discussed how this could be automated as part of IoT. ***

So it got me thinking about service and provision of service and a word that identified with that… The role of the butler, for centuries, has been that of the chief steward of a household, the attendant entrusted with the care of the household, opening the door and welcoming guests, serving food and drink, etc… Just for the record, I’m not a fan of Downton Abbey – I prefer The Dark Knight!

ButlerThing is a fan of Dark Knight

ButlerThing is a fan of the Dark Knight

The name ButlerThing was born as an aspiration for a “Thing” Butler that would provide the services you needed for all IoT. I registered butlerthing.io at and the company name that afternoon!

But reality also had a hold on me. It was not going to be easy to get into developing in this market without some kind of financial backing. My background was in software delivery and primarily in test automation and non-functional testing. So whilst the idea was born, the direction of the company swiftly pivoted to my industry expertise area.

I had been working on performance testing a very complex JavaScript heavy application that was proving to be impossible to script effectively using the traditional HTTP based load testing tools. Multiple proof of concepts using different tools and protocols had been tried and failed. I started exploring Selenium load testing options and TurboSelenium was born from this exploration. I saw the potential this new capability could achieve and started working full time on product development of TurboSelenium: Load testing with Selenium. This is load testing with a difference though as it can scale and run fully headed browsers, not just headless like PhantomJS.

Launch of TurboSelenium by ButlerThing

“Actual” Launch of TurboSelenium by ButlerThing!

So that was how the name ButlerThing was born. It is seemingly unrelated to what we are doing now, but If things go as planned my vision is to be able to fund and work on a butler for the Internet of Things that could be opening a door for you in the not too distant future.

*** I’ll do another blog post on my aspirations for how and where I can see IoT taking us and how we will get there.