Garf Technology started trading in 1986 November. It made a major switch of direction in 1992 November, largely as a result of my utter dismay at the way the UK clearing banks were treating small businesses. Seemed to me that when the weather’s fine they give you an umbrella. When it rains they take it away!
The nation was in the bowels of a deep recession & the banks were looking for soft targets from which they could recoup their losses after some very bad lending in the 1980’s. I started to question the way many large institutions handle the ‘small guy’ and wondered if the ‘small guy’ could ‘level the playing field’ a little? The answer was simple: implement affordable computer technology. The small guy can move into new technology much faster than corporations.
Funnily enough, at the time ‘Business Process Reengineering’ was the predominant corporate catch-phrase. For Bill Gates, this meant businesses big & small should chuck out their crappy old computers and install nice new ones with his wonderful new Windows operating system.
For little ol’ me, it meant looking at all the things I didn’t like about my business & discarding them. Then I considered all the parts I liked and set about developing them. I downsized to one and hired freelance experts as they were needed. I set my own research products as ‘primary corporate goals’ & decided not to worry if this research didn’t immediately earn revenue. Indeed, the business made perhaps the most fundamental change of ideology that any business could make. The purpose of the business should be to fund the research. The business would be sustainable providing a reasonable percentage of the research could be ‘sold off by the pound’ over an extended period of time.
This freedom to explore ideas created an almost automated generator of highly marketable skills. In a rapidly changing industry, ‘keeping ones skills up to date’ is a major problem for IT professionals. For me it became a true pleasure.