Monday, November 25, 2013

A Thanksgiving Message

It is Thanksgiving time and all of us at E3 systems are going to be taking time off to spend with our families and friends.  I want to devote a little time to what we are grateful for this year.

2013 has been a year of transition for our little company.  We have launched need products and jumped into new directions as the market has needed it.  I am very thankful for the talented people who provided help and direction during this time period.  I would also like to take time to thank the people in the Joliet Chamber of Commerce and Microsoft Bizspark for believing in our organization.  I also want to take time to thank the Will County farm bureau for its help in helping get the word out about our product.

2013 has been a year of transition for E3 systems but we look forward to the new year and hope that you are part of the energy and excitement.

Until next time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The times and trends change

Always looking to the future
As a technology professional it is easy to get swallowed by the hyperbole and latest trends in technology.  While some ideas catch on like design patterns and object oriented design. Other trends look like ugly fads such as noSQL and Java Server Pages.  I am not immune to these trends but I tend to be much more pragmatic than the average developer regarding new technologies.  I suppose being in the development business for fifteen years does that to a person. This week on the blog I want to talk about keeping fresh as a technology professional.

Google posted an interesting statistic for technology professionals.  In 2001, a Gigabyte of storage cost roughly $10, today that same gigabyte costs ten cents.  In twelve years, the time from kindergarten to high school graduation the prince has fallen by an exponential amount.  In that same amount of time technology has changed dramatically.  When we founded E3 systems we were excited about a new technology from Microsoft know as MS Tag.  Today the Microsoft tag technology is being discontinued and will disappear in 2015.  This is the inevitable march of progress and the invisible hand of the technology marketplace.

This puts technology companies and professionals in a difficult situation.  Keeping your technology skills up to date means making educated guesses about what trends to learn and which ones to ignore.  If you guess correctly you can make millions of dollars.  If you guess wrong you can wind up unemployed without any prospects.  So what is a company or professional to do faced with this reality? A professional or company concentrates on training.

A technology profession or company that does not focus on training is like a shark which cannot swim; it will drown and die.  As technologies come and go, training makes it possible to stay on top of what you need to know. This means to remain relevant a technology company or developer needs to update their skill set every eighteen months.

You see this progression at E3 systems as we moved from Microsoft.Net web forms to MVC4.  We have much cleaner data management with Entity Framework and code first than when we started using Advanced Data Objects .Net.  We are also migrating away from VB.NET to C#.  All of these moves are natural progressions and related to the technology needs of our potential customers.  We will continue to make these changes as necessary.

The most exciting of these trends is the growth of the mobile web and the user of technologies like HTML5, Knockout.js and CSS3 to build websites which look good on tablets, phones, and PC’s. I am proud of how we at E3 systems have pioneered this approach to out applications.

Unlike many technology professionals, I have stayed alive in this business because I have kept my skills up to date and avoided the hyperbole and fads which plague this industry. It has also informed the products our company offers.  Drop us a line today and we can show you.

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some Perspective about the Twitter IPO

Some thoughts about all the love Twitter is feeling.
The big news this week is the initial public offering of Twitter on the New York Stock exchange.  Every entrepreneur dreams of the moment when their hard work and effort pays off and they are swimming in stock options and cash.  It crosses my mind from time to time.  This week, I want to provide a little perspective to those wild fantasies that IPO’s create.

An IPO or huge success is as American as apple pie.  A person creates a product everyone wants and then receives a huge payday.  What most people do not see are the countless hours perfecting that product.  People do not see the sales calls ending in frustration.  Finally, it is difficult convey the loneliness and solitude it takes to build a good product.  It is always easier to show the big pay day rather than the long slog it took to get to that payday.  I am not looking for a big payday.  I would like to be able to have my own business but living like Tony Stark with my own computer assistant seems a little far-fetched for me.  

It should also be evident that all the frenzy regarding Twitter is more heat than light.  According to the filing with the SEC, Twitter is still struggling to generate advertising revenue. It is one of those products which people use but cannot seem to make money; sounds like a fishy investment to me.  This does not mean that Twitter will not figure it out but currently people look like they are investing in the promise of profits rather than actual profits.

This situation reminds me of the good-old days of the bubble where any company with .com in its name created a gold rush on the stock market.  Companies with spurious business models and the ability to burn through cash lit up the stock market.  What these companies were, according to Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, were falling watermelons where everyone made money until they hit the pavement.  Those forced to clean up the mess were individual investors.  It was a giddy and stupid time.  I am glad I lived through it because it flavored my approach to business for the better.  I still keep a sock puppet to remind me of that era’s excess.

I got into business not for the wealth and fame but because I want to work for myself.  I want to help other business people make money and put people to work.  We think that our new Tony fleet management software is a great tool to provide risk management and regulatory compliance to small business.  We also think Sully 2.0 is the right tool to help your business manage inventory and bills of lading.  Contact us today and we will show you.

I am very happy for the owners and investors in Twitter’s IPO but I won’t be toasting them any time soon.  I will save that for my own big milestone when I can go professional.

Until next time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our Values Mater.

We think about our values each day.
E3 systems suffered a major loss last week as the founders experienced a death in the family and took time off for the funeral.  If you have visited the company web site, one of our company values is respect.  With the passing of one of our founder’s relatives, it only seemed right to take time off and pay our respects.  During this difficult time, I reflected on my values and the values of the company I founded.  This week on the blog I want to discuss those reflections.

I founded this company three years ago out of frustration with my technology career.  I spent too much time in meetings and taking orders from people who could not use a mouse.  I concluded, in this fit of career darkness, I would found my own business and help others use technology to improve their business.  It was a crazy dream but I was determined to see it through.  Since then, I spent countless hours writing software and meeting with potential clients.  I have affectionately referred to the company as my mistress.  We have released two major software projects in that time and we are launching sales efforts to support those products.

Along with coding, I spent a great deal of time to think about what kind of company I wanted to build.  I wanted a firm where people respected each other, the customer and the communities they server.  I wanted to be able to grow so that I could reward our stake holders and employees.  I look forward to hiring my first employee and the only way that is going to happen is by growing and improving sales.  When we hit that first million dollars in revenue we will let you know.

The other two values of E3 systems are agility and development.  I strongly believe that to be successful a company needs to respond to customer demands.  This is why I have embraced the agile manifesto and why agility is one of my corporate values.  If you do not like something we are doing give us two weeks and it will change.  This is one of the reasons why smaller firms seem to be having more success that larger ones in today’s environment.

Finally, I believe strongly in personal development of my employees.  Unlike traditional businesses a good technology company demands that its employees get smarter and better at what they do. A technology worker needs to relearn their job every eighteen month. Each employee, should learn how to be better at what they do and become more knowledgeable of the world around them.  Continuing education and training just makes sense as the world becomes more complex.  People are not machine tools to be used up and then thrown away.  Only be investing in people and helping them develop will you be a successful postmodern business.

I strongly believe in these values; growth, agility, development, and respect.  I have place them on my company website and I have struggled to live them as I have launched my business.  This organization counts on two things the quality of our product and the trust of our customers.  If we do not have those then we deserve to fail.

We know that in order to earn your trust and provide quality we have to have values consistent with theat.   I know we do.  So reflecting on this journey, I can say we are doing it the right was and look forward to future success.

Until next time.