Back in 1998, we started SoftBaugh to give ourselves a vehicle to do two things: a) design, manufacture and sell our own products, and b) help others do the same.
The road to that point, and the road since, has been a long and winding one. At the Naval Academy, some friends and I started a company. The Marine Corps sent me to learn sales and marketing skills at Xerox to prepare me for recruiting duty. While an Operations Officer at Marine Corps Recruiting Station Cincinnati, I first became exposed to the bimonthly Midnight Engineering magazine, and even had an article published in that magazine about time management skills as taught at the Naval Academy. That magazine, and some phone calls with Bill Gates (the real one who ran the magazine; that software guy is a different one) planted the seed for me to run my own business.
Following grad school at Virginia Tech as an Air Force Laboratory Graduate Fellow, and a brief stint at McDonnell Douglas as a Principal Engineer in their Product Development Directorate in Huntsville, I hit the road for a variety of contracting assignments before moving to Atlanta to start SoftBaugh.
Almost immediately, a local Texas Instruments field sales engineer introduced me to the MSP430 ultra-low power microcontroller, which at the time consisted of some windowed EPROM 3xx series parts. I could tell that these things were a diamond in the rough, but would soon overtake all the 8-bit micros out there. We eventually built an entire business around that part, becoming the premiere MSP430 third party tool vendor. A few years later, technology began catching up to the MSP430, and so we adapted accordingly.
At almost the same time, the faltering economy adapted many businesses. Now, we’re all emerging from a cave after a long and violent storm, and it is time to pick up our tools and build a new future. As much of a heyday as the early 2000s were, I think now is an even better time for economic growth and prosperity for Americans with an entrepreneurial spirit.
This blog is here to help. Many articles will be about technology, sure, but even these are more importantly about running a business, or being more effective as an employee, and helping other businesses thrive as you do. This blog is about running a business in a way that catapulted us from a no-name company in our basement in Alpharetta, to selling tools for cutting edge applications worldwide, helping a no-name part become a star along the way, and creating opportunities for dozens of other third parties. We’ll also have guest authors write about their skills and experiences to help you run your own business, or manage your projects better. Marketing, time-management, project management, sales skills, personal anecdotes, and more, all of this finds a home on this blog.
We’ll also moderate comments so that what you read here informs and inspires. That combination is the key to a successful comment, and it is the key to a successful guest article. Even in our mistakes and our setbacks, there is something within each story which can inform the reader, and can inspire him to do better. There is no need for us to argue among ourselves when our focus is on information and inspiration.
So pull up a chair, my friends; let’s all sit around the fire and talk.