My QANTAS ticket said I had to be at the airport 120 minutes before my departure time. The airport is an hour from where I live. To be safe I woke at 3:30am and left for the airport at 4:30am.
Departure from Melbourne was an hour late. Melbourne to Los Angeles was sixteen hours flying time, with a five hour stopover before my connecting flight to Denver. The Denver connection was an hour late and the flight was just over two hours long. By the time I arrived in Colorado Springs I had been travelling for near on 30 hours and had had, perhaps, an hour’s sleep. I’ve never been able to sleep on airplanes.
“So why America, and why Infront?” Ron asked, with a somewhat perplexed look on his face after I had described my journey.
Ron is the Marketing Director of Infront Webworks Inc., a boutique web development company located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and we were sitting at Southside Johnnies, a great pub with an amazingly friendly atmosphere, on South Tejon Street in Colorado Springs. If only I could pick up Southside Johnnies and move it lock, stock, barrel and staff, straight into to Melbourne, I mused.
“Surely there are web development companies in Australia?” he enquired.
“Sure there are web companies in Australia,” I replied, taking a sip of my locally brewed beer. “There are plenty of web companies, including some exceptionally good ones, and all the latest technology that’s available here in the US,” I answered.
“So?” Ron prompted.
“Okay,” I replied, placing my beer on the bar table between us, “Here’s the long story. We, Alan, Trevor and I, have been working on MelodyFusion for three or four years now. And during that time Alan and I have visited, oh, I don’t know, maybe a dozen web development companies in Melbourne, looking for someone to build our website. We’ve visited big corporates, medium sized family owned companies and one person practices. And you wouldn’t believe the range of responses and reactions we’ve had. One thing that’s been common across all the web companies we’ve spoken to is that everyone had been genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of MelodyFusion. We were treated like royalty, we were treated like family and we were treated like long lost mates. We were also treated like cash cows and like halfwits because we didn’t understand the jargon that was thrown at us. Hell, we’re even still waiting for one company come back to us with a date for our second meeting! That was three years ago,” I laughed, “I’m not hanging out any more for that phone call.”
Ron chuckled and took a pull on his beer.
“You’ve got to remember that the three of us come from completely different career backgrounds,” I continued. “I’ve been in groundwater management all my life, while Alan’s been in retail and tourism. Trevor’s the only one of us who has a background in computing, and even that doesn’t really extend to web development. So although we had a wonderful idea and the motivation to try to convert it into reality, we were feeling very out of our depth, and consequently quite insecure,” I explained.
“Go on,” Ron said.
“Okay. Well, the clock was ticking and we had found nobody suitable in Melbourne. That’s not to say there aren’t any suitable web companies in Melbourne, just that in the time we’d been looking we couldn’t find one we felt a hundred percent comfortable with. Perhaps the fault was ours – perhaps in our ignorance we were looking in the wrong places, or were asking the wrong questions. Anyway, we couldn’t afford to spend another three years looking so we expanded our search radius and while I continued looking in Melbourne, Alan, who lives in Brisbane, started listing companies in Brisbane for us to talk to.”
I retrieved my beer from the bar table and took a long draught as Ron continued to watch me curiously.
“Then Trevor mentioned Infront Webworks,” I continued. “He told us a little about Infront and its reputation and suggested that we might approach the company. Up until that time our plan had been to set the website up in Australia targeting primarily an Australian audience, and then later to expand it to other parts of the world if the concept proved successful. We did a quick rethink – considered the opportunities and threats of what it would mean to engage a US based web development company, set the website up in the US, and target primarily a US audience.”
“Okay,” Ron said, rather non-committedly.
“Well, to be honest,” I continued, “from any angle we looked at it, it made good sense. We wanted our website to be universal and concluded that really shouldn’t matter where in the world it was developed or maintained. Also, it was Trevor, not Alan or me, who had the background in computing and could converse with a web developer in computer-speak. It’s why he’d been chosen as the CTO in the first place. And the fact that Trevor had lived in Colorado Springs for thirty years and knew the computing industry generally, and had heard about Infront specifically, was a key factor in our decision to focus our attention on Colorado, and to approach Infront. Actually, the decision was a huge weight off Alan's and my shoulders,” I laughed.
“Ah, I see now,” Ron started.
“But that’s not what did it for us, Ron,” I said quickly.
“What did it for you then?” Ron asked.
“What did it for us,” I said after a deep pull on my beer, “was our very first teleconference with Infront.”
‘Why, what was different about it?” Ron asked.
“I remember that first teleconference as if it was yesterday,” I said to Ron. “What was different about it was that Andy Meng, the Founder of Infront, was on the teleconference. From that we knew we were being taken seriously. And then Andy asked me what we wanted out of Infront. I was delighted. Infront was the first company, of all the companies we had spoken to, that had asked us what we wanted out of our relationship. Nothing about technology, nothing about prices, nothing about timeframes.”
“Ah, I understand now,” said Ron.
“And I remember replying to Andy,” I said quickly, “that this was all new to us, that we were just three ordinary guys with an idea we wanted to try to convert into reality, and that we were looking for someone to help us, guide us, someone to come along with us on our journey. And Andy’s response was unequivocal. Infront was looking for a partnership with us too. Ron, that’s what did it for us,” I concluded, “and that’s what made the 30 hour trip from Melbourne to be here to meet your team face-to-face after over a year of almost weekly teleconferences worth every hour.”
“And what have your experiences been since you hired Infront?” Ron asked.
“Ron, Infront has been everything we expected it to be, and more,” I answered. “You guys are as passionate and excited about MelodyFusion, as we are. It shines through in every teleconference!” I laughed.