Friday, September 23, 2005

My "Work Product" Revelation

Let me just say up front that I believe in hard work. I think that America would not be the place it is today without the blood, sweat and tears of a bunch of hard workers. That being said I have recently come to a shocking conclusion. You can put in all the hours you want, stay up until 3 every night, bury your personal life in a pit and still you may NOT be successfull.

I have spent the last 3 years trying to build a business called Guinterface Software with my business partners. We have grown the business 400% every year ... until this year. The bottom just dropped out of the business due to various twists and turns in the Novell world and out of a lack of advertising (to be honest).

Say what you will, I just could never bring myself to spam people with my product information. I guess that puts me in the minority these days.

Well, to make a short story long the days of Guinterface software are probably coming to a close. My partner is moving on to do other things and I have finally realized that my parents lied to me (I'm not as special as they would have me believe) ;-).

Seriously though, I am strangely not bitter about all of this. Guinterface Software has been a great ride. I've learned management, business, programming, payroll and all kinds of other issues I never had a clue about. The weird thing is that just about the time we decided to call it quits we negotiated a new support contract for a SpamAssassin plugin that we developed. It now looks like we will do no worse than last year in the current fiscal period. If only it had come sooner ... sigh.

Customers of our products need not worry. We are going to do some kind of open source for our Guinterface and Guinevere products. Tasktastic is going to be folded into my own private software company called Lambert Software (how original!). I just worked up the logo for Lambert Software the other day. Not as nice as the Guinterface Shield but it will do for now. We will probably be selling Guinterface Support packs under the guise of Lambert Software as well. We might make more money doing that than we ever did selling our product ;-).

I've learned a lot about running my own business. The most important lesson by far is about positioning your products and organization for success in the marketplace. We probably ran Guinterface Software too long like a family company and did not make some important moves we should have to spare our business partner's feelings. Inevitably, this led to us not being positioned to place our (then very innovative) product into other markets and become a de facto standard (at least in the GroupWise space). Lesson learned. Personal feelings are best left out of business. We can all be each other's friends outside of business ;-).

The short and long of this story is that I will be taking up the reins of Guinterface Software's products for the time being and try to push our flagship product TaskTastic out into the water. I think I know enough about business now that it will not "sink". I will also be looking for full time employment. If you are interested in a skilled knowledge worker let me know.

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