10 years old, but no Mozart

August 1st, 2017
10 years old, but no Mozart

Simplex-IT 2016 Holiday Brunch210 years.  10 freakin’ years.  One decade.  10% of a century.  1% of a millennium.

Mozart was 8 years old when he composed his first symphony.  As a company, we have done zero symphonies.  So, from that standpoint, we’re a bunch of losers.

Beginnings

Simplex-IT was officially started in August 2007.  Sam Hays took a leap of faith (sucker!) and joined me, becoming the first employee.  Sam left a couple of years later (he’s living the good life in Colorado).  Good guy (brilliant in many ways).  Couldn’t have built this company without him.

We’re now looking to hire an additional technician (5 full time techs now), bringing us to 10 full time and currently 4 part-time employees.  So we’ve grown, but not too fast.

We’ve done some crazy events:

  • Movie night to say goodbye to Windows XP
  • Lunchinars at Hattie’s café in Hudson (for years)
  • Dozens of webinars
  • Newsletter going out to over 3,500 folks
  • Mailing weird things like monkeys, ducks, dolls, dollar coins…
  • Giving away rocket pens, plasma balls, glitter rockets and video games
  • Geek Raffles
  • Pie Day (hand delivering pies to 30 or so of our customers on 3/14)

We’ve won awards, both for the company and for myself.  We’ve been recognized by some great folks:

  • Microsoft
  • AVG
  • Governor John Kasich
  • Streetsboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Hudson Chamber of Commerce
  • Case Weatherhead
  • MSPMentor (for Simplex-IT)
  • MSPMentor (for Yours Truly)
  • That guy down the street who really likes us<g>

And we’ve done some cool fundraising, including:

  • Hattie Larlham (annual Geek Raffle)
  • Craze eCool award (part of the annual Cleveland GiveCamp)
  • Hiram MAD (Make A Difference) annual award
  • Blast Glioblastoma (from the Policy and Procedure workshop)

From the beginning, we wanted to be “the cool guys” in IT (if there’s a way to phrase that in a non-sexist way I’d really love to hear it.  I’m not kidding).

That's why we've had held about 70 Lunchinars.  Almost all about learning, not selling.  And our YouTube channel has over 170 videos, with over 150,000 views.  9 annual picnics (including next week).  Over 2,500 tweets, with over 600 followers.

Ok, our FaceBook company site is a bit behind (just under 200 likes and followers) and our LinkedIn company page has 130.  But we're growing our presence in those areas as we speak.

People:

Kevin took the place of Sam about 7 years ago.  Despite his wife’s insistence that PowerShell is a good technology (Sarah is a Microsoft MVP co-wrote a book on it) he’s been an amazing fit and addition.  Along the way he became the Tech Director.

Doug joined Simplex-IT in 2009, about 6 months prior to Kevin.  Doug has primarily worked in the SQL world of Simplex-IT, but he’s starting to help out on some of the business process stuff as well.

Michelle joined in 2012 as Office Manager, and is now Operations Director.  She actively creates order out of all of our collective chaos.  Her daughter Michaela, when not playing flute while wearing a frog hat, helps out.

It’s a bit hard to say when Alaa and Jeff really joined Simplex-IT.  Technically they both started in 2013, but they both started out as intern employees.  Alaa actually left Simplex-IT (if I remember correctly, he was our first of many interns) for a year or two and returned.

Patti joined in 2014 to head up a Project Management support practice.  Along the way, she also ended up heading up our Marketing efforts.  Yup.  She didn’t see that coming either<g>.

Last year Kayla signed up on the Inside Sales and Marketing track.  Lately she’s been getting us going in the LinkedIn (and soon Facebook) advertising world.

Rob joined us this on the Inside Sales side, helping out with the phones.

Kurt joined as a Senior Tech earlier this year.  Despite his preference of Star Wars over the much superior Star Trek, he’s an ok guy<g>.

Connor and Alec are both part-time interns while attending college and high school.  We’ve probably had about 12 or more part-time intern folks here over the years.  We want to be part of the solution to the question “how do I get experience if I can’t get a job and I can’t get a job because I’ve got no experience?” in IT.

Throughout we’ve also been supported by Cyndee who still helps each month with the eNewsletter.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to John, who led sales for several years before his retirement in 2015.  And several other folks who were part of the first 10 years.

But I’d have to single out my wife Julie for being the biggest reason for the success.  Not only has she supported me 100% from the beginning, but she also is my most trusted advisor when it comes to the tough decisions and directions.

Finally:

I’ve seen the charts, talking about the average life expectancy of new companies.  About 50% of companies survive the first 5 years.  It’s closer to 33% when you’re talking about 10 years.

Not only have we survived, but we’ve flourished and grown.  Every one of the 10 years has seen an increase in revenue.  And every one we’ve made changes and improvements to the organizations structure to better reach for greater goals.

And we’ve done this while keeping to our mantra.

“We’re the Cool Guys in IT.”