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3 minutes reading time (529 words)

Turning Negative Experiences Into New Directions

Twenty-five years ago I did something I thought I would never do. My job at the time had become pretty bumpy and I was not happy. With hard work and good luck, I turned that negative experience into a new direction for me personally and professionally. That new direction involved starting a whole new company. On September 14, 1993.

So, I have been doing a lot of reminiscing this month. In recent weeks I have gone through old files of business plans and software beta test plans. At the time I contacted about 20 former engineering colleagues and asked them if they would take some time to beta test a new technology software product called AFT Fathom. I ended up getting feedback from seven of them. And I ended up hiring one of them two-and-a half years later.

What have I learned about myself, engineering, business and life?

Myself - I have learned that I am capable of far more than I thought at the time. That I can work very well independently when I have to but prefer to work on a team.

Engineering - I have learned that building great products is very difficult and takes patience, hard work, and laser-focused attention to detail.

Business - I have learned that being your own boss changes how you think about yourself and the world. It is scary and exhilarating. Frustrating at times and challenging all of the time.

Life - I have learned that the world is a big and awesome place. That people all over are struggling to better themselves, their communities and their nations. That taking risks can have huge benefits. That I get great satisfaction when customers and partners appreciate my efforts.

Last week, out of the blue, I got an email from a customer expressing appreciation. Here is part of what this person said:

"In the time I have been at My Company, you have provided outstanding support and friendship to me and I have deeply appreciated that. Few companies adequately understand and recognize the role key suppliers play in their success. That is not the case with me. Your understanding of your products, technologies, and business have been critical to the success of My Company and me personally. I have always leaned on you and you never came up short."

Before I started AFT I had visited Mexico and Canada on a handful of occasions. Today I have been fortunate to have visited 30 countries across every region of the inhabited world.

Our software products are used to design systems that go deep under the sea and up into the reaches of Space. They have been used to model sub-millimeter flow channels in electronic equipment and 40 ft (13m) ducting in power plant environmental control systems.

I have met many good, hardworking and innovative people all over the world I would never have otherwise met. This week I attended the Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia in Houston. There I got to say hello to several of these people I met 20+ years ago who have been using AFT software over the years.

Thanks to all of AFT's customers and Channel Partners who have helped make this new direction possible for me!

First advertisement for AFT Fathom 1.0 in April, 1994
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Comments 1

Guest - Michael Shahrokhani on Monday, 01 October 2018 09:12

congratulations for 25th anniversary of your company and your fantastic products, I am not your customer but I have been following your successes and views since a long time ago and I feel to admire you, you are an example of being a knowledgeable engineer and company executive, I have used student version of your products and am familiar with your superb products, please keep doing this great work and I am sure there are many people like me supporting you all over the world.
Kind Regards
Michael Shahrokhani
Smart Design Co. Ltd

congratulations for 25th anniversary of your company and your fantastic products, I am not your customer but I have been following your successes and views since a long time ago and I feel to admire you, you are an example of being a knowledgeable engineer and company executive, I have used student version of your products and am familiar with your superb products, please keep doing this great work and I am sure there are many people like me supporting you all over the world. Kind Regards Michael Shahrokhani Smart Design Co. Ltd
Guest
Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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