Sunday, 18 July 2010


Mike and I have been very busy lately.  A lot of it is what I call "foundation" building: like for a house.  It never looks like much, never mind looking like a house, but its important.   Can't build a house without it.

Consulting:  Mike continues to work on the contract for Florida Power and Light and will go back on-site in August.  All goes well there - ahead of schedule really.  He was offered another contract the other day but had to turn it down because the client wanted him full-time on-site.  He has been for two interviews recently for 2 more contracts and waiting to hear back, and he has another interview on Tues.!  The one on Tues. is for a company that has interviewed him before, then they went and contracted someone else (cheaper), now that hasn't worked out well for them (duh) they are asking him back.

We took another look at the Alberta government website for Requests for Proposals recently.  Last year, there wasn't anything there we could apply for.  This year - wow!  Must be the Canadian stimulus money at work. (Which was a fraction of the US stimulus money thank god, Canadians will at least be able to pay it back sometime before our great great grandchildren are born.)  So we are busy writing up several of those, which could be huge moola if we get even one.  We will have to hire a couple of people too.

We have actually started the process to bring a guy, Carlos, up from Mexico City to work for us. Incredibly, he has experience and skills that are highly specialized in our field - these are hard to find in Canada and even in the US - and if you can find them north of the border of Mexico, they are expensive.  He found Mike online through LinkedIn (the business Facebook) and offered his services.  We checked him out with some of his previous employers he did contracts with in the US - they raved about him.  Silly man, he wants to come to Calgary to live in winter!

Software:  We have now signed Partnership documents with a firm in Germany ( who has software/services very similar to Qtility (except they are much more mature than us and have a large client base already).  We are now their only Canadian Partner.  This means we sell and service THEIR software (and they help us by referring their client contacts to us) AND they are taking a look at our software because ours compliments theirs in ways they haven't developed yet so we think that there will be some mergering of the two.  Not only that - their existing client base should also be interested in OneFileEverywhere since they are our target market.  So a cross-selling, revenue-sharing arrangement with the firm in Germany will be ideal. (Could there also be a trip to Germany soon????)  Phone meetings and a demo of Qtility and OFE are in the works.

A development and sales partner in the Middle East (he used to live in Calgary and is still a Canadian citizen and Mike knows him well) is putting together a Request for Proposal for the Saudi government which will include our Qtility software.  He and his team have taken our software and built upon it and translated what they built into arabic.  Potentially this is huge moola too.

OneFileEverywhere did have a working demo last week but it was found that it didn't work when someone went to it through Internet Explorer. (We all use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome mostly - less spam and viruses).  So the techs are back at work fixing it.  In the meantime, our partners in OFE in India have put us in touch with their contacts at a large construction/commercial development firm in India to talk to about trying out OFE.  In their industry, a lot of documents have to be shared and passed around to various sub-contractors for each project.  OFE is perfect for that.

I have been contacting all the various local provincial and city Economic Development programs to see how they might help us grow, since banks and angel investors are giving us the cold shoulder.  We have a face-to-face meeting set up on July 26 with a very key guy in this area to tell him all about ourselves and ask how he can help.  He knows where all the government money lives and how to get to it.

So, whew!  Poor Mike is literally chained to his computer these days, typing furiously.  There is only so much I can do to help.  We did get out into the foothills yesterday with the dogs for a drive and a hike on a closed-off dirt road to nowhere (something we haven't done for a long time).  And, when we got home, a group of the neighbours invited us over for a backyard beer and chat.  So it was a nice break - we'll try to do it more often.

Mike HAS taken up jogging lately, first thing in the morning, early, with the dogs. Me?  No thanks.  I walk them later at a nice sedate pace. ;)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Canada Day

June finally warmed up and my poppies opened in the garden.  Its the first year for my poppies and now I know why they are called "poppies".  The flower buds look all tightly closed one day, and then overnight they POP open in full bloom.

Mike and Andy spent 10 days in West Palm Beach on the first part of a new consulting gig for a large utility company.  Now they are home and working remotely, which also allows them to work on other stuff fortunately.  I was freaking out a bit about work stalling on software development.  No takers on investment yet.  I have come to realize that although we have 3 companies, and I was beginning to think that maybe we should focus on one of them instead of spreading the resources around, they really are all inter-connected and inter-dependent.

I was thinking that consulting, especially this new job, while necessary for revenue, was diverting attention away from software development, which is the ultimate goal of all our efforts because the success of one or the other software companies will allow us to retire in comfort.  Consulting is labour and time intensive and Mike can only bill for his own time at a maximum of 40 hours a week unless we subcontract work out.  Mike's a specialist though, and there aren't many people who can do what he does.

Then, during the course of meetings and discussions with the client in Florida, it turns out they have a burning need for our software products. Both of them. In conjunction with each other.  Although Mike and Andy have to remain focused on their consulting for now, and shouldn't be seen to be trying to "sell" anything else yet, this gives the impetus to keep developing and fine-tuning the software for demonstration in Sept. when the consulting job is finishing up.

And, since Mike got back, several other leads have cropped up.  A partner in the Middle East has been developing an add-on to Qtility specifically to be able to present a demo to a large government agency.  That is going ahead on July 5.  A technology company in Germany that is in a similar field to ours responded to my inquiry about potential partnership since they have partners all over the world but not in Canada.  They are extremely interested in our software and also Mike's expertise on the consulting side.  It all compliments their products and services.  An online meeting has been scheduled for next week.  Another technology company in Calgary wants to see OneFileEverywhere as a potential add-on service to her clients.

It all tells me that while we might think we should narrow our focus in order to succeed at one thing, sometimes the path to success is organic - you never know what will sprout up or from where.