Dec 13, 1993. The day Safe Software was officially incorporated, and the day that marks the start of our now 20 year long quest to smash the barriers that stop spatial (and nonspatial) applications from living in harmony.
What a journey it has been! To celebrate, today, for the first time ever, we’re revealing the rather simple set of rules we’ve had guiding us all this time. Taken from our 1996 Christmas party presentation (done as a handout – no projectors back then – to all 4 attendees – yes, we knew how to party), here they are:
#1 – Keep customers happy. This is not an easy task, and it only gets harder as you get more customers who get ever more trained with your product and who solve ever harder problems with it. But it still is Job 1 at Safe, and really is at the root of all that we do. So thank you to all our customers, whether you’ve been one for 20 years or 20 minutes – we pledge to continue working hard to keep your applications singing together and your data moving where it needs to be.
#2 – Juggle consulting with product development. Right from the beginning we recognized the potential tension between selling time and making the best product possible, and have been intentional about building out a partner network of certified FME professionals who can provide expertise to customers who don’t yet have it in house. This has freed us to focus on delivering the best training we can, for free, and feeding back all the input we get from our network into our product development roadmap.
#3 – Plan, build, and invest for the future. We’ve always invested heavily into product R&D – taking wherever we can the long term view and placing technology bets that we know may take years to pay off. For example, back in 1998 we began experimenting with then-new Java server technology, laying the foundation for what we today know as FME Server. Another example: FME 2014 marks the end of a 6+ year sub-quest to rehost our user interfaces on the desktop on a modern technology platform. This sets us up very nicely for creating an amazing set of innovations that we can’t wait to unveil in the years to come…with the bonus that we immediately get a beautiful new look as well as cross platform capabilities for our products.
#4 – Have fun. We do believe in having fun. We’ve even had our office neighbours burst into one of our meeting rooms asking us to keep the laughter down. (I guess accountants find that disruptive.) The solution – we took over their space. We refuse to stop having fun. It starts with our splash screens and goes from there. We are deadly serious about our mission and our work, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time while we execute. Don’t believe us? Come to the FME World Tour in April or the FME User Conference in June and experience it first hand.
#5 – Have a life. We believe that life is about more than just work, and try hard to send everyone home after 8 good hours every day. We’re marathon runners, not sprinters. We like it that way. So do our families.
So here’s to the next 20 years. May they be as fun, life filled, happy, and rewarding for Safers, their families, and our customers, as the last 20 have been. And we’re sure they’ll go by even quicker, because “Ain’t it funny how time flies, when the best is yet to come.”
Happy Birthday Safe.
Dale LutzDale is the co-founder and VP of Development at Safe Software. After starting his career working spatial data (ranging from icebergs to forest stands) for many years, he and other co-founder, Don Murray, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. His favourite TV show is Star Trek, which inspired the names for most of the meeting rooms and common areas in the Safe Software office. Dale is always looking to learn more about the data industry and FME users. Find him on Twitter to learn more about what his recent discoveries are!