Where it all began...
Leeds University Men's 1st XI (2005)
"In the late summer of 2007 I was training with my 'coach' and good friend Dave Madden. As always I was looking for
ways to improve my game and said something along the lines of "front foot game is looking a little better..."
A raised eyebrow later and the conversation had moved swiftly on, specifically, to the subject of team selection.
As 1st XI captain at Brooklands Cricket Club, it was Dave's responsibility to select the team each week. We began to talk
about the system in use and it quickly became clear it was hard work. At the time, players were manually sent a text message each
week asking if they could play the following weekend. Many people wouldn't know whether they were available when they
received the text, or would be to busy to reply straight away. As such, life could easily get in the way and it could end up forgotten. Cue lots of work
for Dave ringing around trying to figure out which players he could choose from.
As the conversation continued, further issues quickly became evident. Dave could only
see his players' availability one week ahead. Arranging cup dates and looking to key fixtures was difficult, as he only
had a vague idea of who would be available. If he could see availability for a few weeks, he could attempt
to plan ahead.
For the rest of the club this was even more important. With Brooklands fielding four senior teams, tough
decisions often had to be made about selection, with some people ultimately disappointed. Being able to plan
would ensure the strongest teams possible were fielded, while also ensuring every member played as much
Aside from the inherent issues in the system, there was also the small matter of administering it. Not only did all the
replies have to be manually collated for a selection meeting, but someone would also have to ring everyone that hadn't responded. Having captained the lacrosse
team when I was at university, I was well aware of how much time this took and how often a few people (read one) bore the brunt of the
Once the teams had been selected, each player would need to be told they were playing. With the numbers involved this meant another
raft of text messages and a confirmation reply from the player so the club could be sure they actually knew they had been selected and would turn up at the
This is where the idea for Clubhouse was born. The logistics of managing a pool of over 100 people each week and getting them to turn up
at the right place at the right time were clearly challenging and laborious. We desperately needed an application that inherently understood all these processes, thereby doing
90% of the work for you. At the same time it would distribute responsibility across the club reminding people to do things when necessary, making the week by week running
of the club a smooth process. At this point in the conversation I remarked to Dave "We could do this all with an app". Another raised eyebrow followed and it was pretty
much left at that. Unbeknown to me, Dave then put my vision before the club committee. The committee unanimously voted to pursue the idea.
Intrigued by the notion I naturally began to look around for something to do the
job, I had no desire to reinvent the wheel. Why build something if someone else already had? To my surprise, no one had. There were some offerings out there,
but nothing that actually solved the problems we faced. Being in the fortunate position of running a software house I decided
to take on the challenge. I began to spec out the requirements of
Clubhouse with Dave in late 2007.
After two months of intensive software development at, my company, QMTech, a beta version of Clubhouse was ready for the start of
the 2008 cricket season. Six months later, Brooklands had picked teams for over 100 fixtures and Clubhouse had already
been hailed as a great success by the entire club. By now, several other clubs had expressed a desire to use Clubhouse.
We were off and running..."
Where it's all going...
On the field at Brooklands CC
"With hundreds of clubs now managing thousands of players using Clubhouse, the problem I set out to solve remains
relatively unchanged. Fundamentally, Clubhouse is about facilitating the process of team selection. It is a piece of
software designed (as all software should) to be easy to use while being flexible enough to actually solve the problem
rather than add to it.
It is by this maxim that Clubhouse is developed and refined. As more and more clubs have come
on-board, it has naturally become more difficult to satisfy everyone, with each club having its own ways of doing things.
However features are only added to Clubhouse if they enhance the whole. Clubhouse is designed to be flexible and extensible,
so your club can use it how you want to. This can be seen in the subtly different ways in which clubs use Clubhouse,
some of which we never anticipated.
Clubhouse is a young product and far from finished. However, no software can ever work unless the balance between
the system and its users is correct. Often, software tries to do far too much and adds to or complicates the problem,
or, is too restrictive and only can deal with a limited set of situations which can be infuriating. Great software has to hit that sweet spot where it is intuitive
and acts in a way a user would naturally expect. With your help I hope QMTech can continue to refine and improve Clubhouse
and so reach the perfect balance."
Dan Quirk, Clubhouse Founder