While I typically refer to our journey of the last 8 years or so as a roller-coaster ride, another analogy is better suited: that of surfing. The waves of opportunity keep coming in one after the other and we, as one of the surfers, are enjoying them. Surfing and business, like everything else, starts with many difficult and painful moments. In the beginning, you barely hang yourself on the board, you fall off too often, you hit yourself. After a lot of practice and perseverance, you start riding small waves. And then you constantly go for bigger and bigger ones. As the French proverb goes, “appetite comes with eating”.
Thinking of this, I am taken back a few years ago when we first tried to go for a bigger wave. We wanted to go outside of our comfort zone and try something different and more challenging and we launched our Reporting and Windows Forms UI products in 2006. We ventured into unknown reefs and waters and… it was a painful experience. We had many challenges, but we did not give up. We learned how to surf in such conditions and we put on more body muscle to withstand the challenges better. True, it took us a lot of trial and error, but three years later I am very proud that we have market leading products. We became better at our surfing and we started enjoying the thrill of riding bigger waves.
Many other releases followed – Sitefinity, WPF, Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, JustCode, and so on. But it felt like changing the resort and not changing the conditions in which we ride. We knew how to ride good sized waves but it didn’t change the skill level required.
Today it is a big day for us as we are on the verge of going out into new oceans and surfing new, bigger waves. Having just announced our new JustMock tool, the introduction of our Silverlight rich text editor and many other big changes throughout our existing product line (in March), today we unveiled two new Telerik product divisions – Automated Testing Tools and Team Productivity Tools.
What was started as a partnership with ArtOfTest transformed into a “marriage” recently and Telerik will be offering testing solutions to both developers and QAs. We hope that we will be able to bring the same level of innovation and fast evolution to the world of Silverlight and ASP.NET AJAX and MVC testing. Just as we did with developer tools so far.
Another partnership that started off as a small side project with our friends at Imaginet grew into TeamPulse, our new product for Agile Project Management. It’s an amazing Silverlight 4 application that connects the agile and lean development principles to Microsoft TFS and which can make your planning a joy and can improve your team performance as well.
It deserves to be noted that both of these product lines were born from a real need first and market opportunity second. We simply were not able to find the proper solutions for many of the QA and collaboration challenges Telerik was facing as a global and quickly growing organization. And, as usual, we decided to act on it with the belief that most probably other organizations are also facing the same challenges and that the solutions to our problems might be solutions for them as well. Some recent research, such as this one from Forrester, tells us we weren’t wrong. We are now very comfortable with the foundation we have created for growth of future Telerik divisions.
It’s a really big wave for us. And we are very thrilled about it because we have been preparing for this moment for quite a while.
Like all of the times before when we have done something radically different from what we were known for, we’ve dedicated a lot of thinking and hard work to ensure that we don’t jeopardize our existing business. Over the years, with anything new we’ve done, customers rightly asked aren’t we spreading ourselves too thin. Today I would respond to that in the same way I did several years ago when we first ventured into new territories - you should expect only improvement and nothing less, across old products and new ones. The 220+ people that were working on developer tools will continue to do so and will serve you with the same dedication. If you look at our roadmaps and recent release cycles, you will clearly see that we’re getting better, and faster, at creating value for our customers across all product lines and that the quality bar continues to rise with every release. We are growing and have expanded our operations to support our growth. But at the same time we are staying true to our roots and our original beliefs that you should never let your existing customers down in pursuit of new opportunities.
Getting back to the surfing analogy, I’ve always been a great fan of Laird Hamilton (link to Wikipedia + YouTube) and I hope that someday we will be able to achieve in the software world what he has achieved in the ocean and not be afraid to ride in the most turbulent waters that have the biggest waves in the world.
Are you ready to go into deeper waters together with us?
As Chief Innovation Officer at Progress, Vassil Terziev is responsible for identifying growth strategies and new market opportunities, as well as promoting internal innovation.
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