The 1st of September marks a major milestone in my life. It will mean that I have been running my company, Blaze Business Software Pty Ltd for 20 years now. Two decades. It seems almost unbelievable to me at times.
Back in September 1996, I had only been married for a month, I was about to turn 30, and I decided to start a software consultancy business out of my bedroom. Thus began the rollercoaster, including getting an office in the Cullen Bay area of Darwin, growing the team to at one stage around 16 people, and then now coming full circle to just my wife and I working from a home office again in a 'lifestyle' business.
So many changes in the IT industry at that time. When I started Blaze, the internet was just hitting mainstream here in Australia, and everything was still dial up. We were one of the first offices to get an ISDN line into our office, and I clearly remember setting up a small Windows 98 server in the back which was running some sort of DOS mail daemon so that we could have individual email addresses for every employee. Something that was so rare back then.
We were also one of the first companies locally to upgrade to Microsoft Exchange and implement ActiveSync. I clearly remember proudly showing off how I could read and reply to emails on my Palm Pilot in real time to all my clients. Nowadays that is just an expected thing, but back then I was pleased that we were pushing the envelope and being cutting edge.
Lots of nice memories, such as being the finalist in the Telstra Small Business Awards up here in 1998 I think. Lots of other small awards and achievements. But there were also some really tough times, and many days where I didn't know whether I wanted to close the doors forever and go raise sheep in the Italian mountains.
But through all that, I still wake up every day and look forward to doing the work I do. I am always grateful to have met so many wonderful people through my business. From clients (many of whom I still work with 20+ years later), to employees who have become close friends, to colleagues and competitors and everyone who has walked through the doors or called in the past 2 decades. Thank You.
Proving that it is never too late to be a 'startup', this year I have embarked on a whole new reboot of the business, as we become a SaaS company providing subscription based business software. Given that I will be turning 50 this year, I don't know if I will have the energy to keep on with the consulting and support role for many more years, and I am looking forward to setting up a passive income source from a modern, web based subscription platform.
Just another step in our long and interesting journey. Hope to see you all along the way...