14 Years – what a trip?
Today is bittersweet. 14 years ago today I walked into my first day at a new job. The first day of J2 Software. After months of planning, setbacks, re-planning, negotiation, doubt and confidence the first day in our “office” was here.
3 April 2006 and I proudly walked into the warehouse area of E-Bis armed with 2 laptops, a laser printer and a 3G data card the size of my left hand. Jason still had a month’s notice to complete at his previous employer so it would be a few more weeks before we got to share that desk and 3G card to get our message out there. Jason and I would have to talk on the telephone after hours as the first days flew by. Those were great times, difficult times, exciting times. We were freezing in winter and melting in summer. Driving in panic to Vereeniging for damage control and celebrating some amazing wins.
We had customers who bought from us so that they could stop people going to Facebook or playing Farmville and watching YouTube at work. This was a time when the cost of bandwidth meant that it should be saved at all costs. The world has changed so much.
Now 14 years later, I proudly walked into my home office as the world is such a different place and our entire team is spread across the country safely holed up in their houses. The excitement to “go to work” remains the same and the passion to build a proudly South African security focused technology business burns stronger than ever.
Days like today give me reason to reflect and I have to say that even with all the setbacks, economic crises and challenges along the way, I am so proud of what J2 has achieved in 14 short years. We have endured several global downturns and now we are living through a pandemic, but I am sure of one thing – we will not only survive this, we will thrive through it. The human tragedy unfolding around us has caused me to revaluate many aspects about the business and the relationships we have with our team members, suppliers and customers. J2 is focused on being part of a massive bounce back and explosion of South African business. The next 12 months will be good, we will make sure of it.
I remember every small victory and every single difficult decision. The stresses around cash flow and gut-wrenching difficulties through chemotherapy and radiation. All of this made us champions of resilience.
We have had the fortune to have had some amazing, and also interesting, people work with us at J2 over the years. Thank you to every single person that has come through J2’s doors – each person has given us something. Good and not-so-good! We have learnt from each experience, yes, even the one who hung around for only three days and the other who was less than open about the truth. Every person has driven our business to where it is today. There is a lesson in every experience. If we are not winning, we are learning.
Thank you to each one of our customers – we have some amazing businesses as clients of J2 and I have made some good friends with the people who work at these businesses. I thank you for your support and the trust that you have given our team. Without all of you we know that we wouldn’t be able to continue. We are proud to support customers across the African continent and on two other continents (give us some time, more to follow).
We have a wide range of suppliers and while the products may stay the same, the people on the other side are always changing. This keeps us on our toes and we will continue to try and stay ahead of the pack with your support. In fact, challenge us to be better, be more, do more. Lets do it together.
To my family, and the families of our entire team, thank you for the support and understanding over the years and I will continue to do my best to make you all proud of our combined achievements. To our investors, old and new, thank you for the belief and continued guidance.
I am forever indebted to Kimmo and David for giving us the space to start in 2006. Gerry for the advice and marketing lists and to Natalie, who came in on a temporary assignment 13 and half years ago and proved so valuable that we cannot let her leave. EVER….
Finally, to Jason congratulations and thank you for taking the gamble with me all those years ago – look around (beyond your bedroom walls) and take a second to understand what J2 has managed to achieve so far. Thank you for the support and trust and I look forward to seeing what the next 14 years bring. See you virtually for a little celebratory drink later.
Happy birthday J2, our good-looking teenager. Have an excellent year.
Thank you everybody once again, stay safe, stay at home.
John Mc Loughlin
CEO J2 Software
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