I am an architect of core processing systems. There are other things I do. of course. I have been a manager, a negotiator, an educator, a salesman, and when put all together, an entrepreneur. But who I am, and what gives me satisfaction is being the developer of systems that are useful, meaningful, clean and efficient.
In my pursuit of creating such software, I have been a founder of two companies. The decisions to do so have been some of the most frightening in my life, but there was no other way to ensure the opportunity to do things the right way: a culture of innovation and collaboration, a focus on service to the clients, a standard of excellence. Those decisions also afforded me unexpected opportunities to work with some of the most talented, dedicated professionals I’ve ever met. And so it is my experience that entrepreneurship is just that: a conduit for opportunity.
To the outside world, coding software of any kind is viewed as a science. Its rules are rigid and unbreakable, its scope is defined by the dimensions of the computer monitor, and its completion is simply a matter of the application of those rules over and over. A good programmer is one who doesn’t often miss a key character and inadvertently create an unexpected result.
But to me, a developer is much more akin to a sculptor. His work represents the synthesis of vision, tools and talent. It requires patience to design a process thoroughly before even beginning. It requires a keen understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the languages being utilized. It requires precision in the application of those commands and queries. A core system is three-dimensional, each module focused on producing its own results efficiently and also allowing its data to flow into other modules on command. Its shape is like a molecule, but its creation is pure art.
The reason I founded my companies was to create a studio suited to nurture this creativity and also to ensure that the resulting masterpieces would be sold and supported in the right way. I believe that the best work is produced as a result of a forum. When individuals with talent and vision are afforded the environment to engage and cooperate, perceived limits are shattered and the bar is raised. But what use is even the best product if it is squandered by greed or by apathy? My goal has always been to bring a better way to do business to the credit union world, to improve the experience of users and members around the country. And so an equal goal for my companies has been to put the client first, from the initial sale to the smallest support question. To do it any other way would be to irreparably undermine the efforts of the whole company.
My goals for such a company are being realized today at my latest venture. I’ve known some of my colleagues for decades, such as our president, Theresa Benavidez. We work with the synchronization and mutual understanding you can’t help but acquire after striving together and trusting one another for over 30 years. I still remember my son, Rob Landis, peeking at me from inside a Data General delivery box as a baby. To see him develop into an executive in our company, providing leadership, results and an example of our corporate culture fills me with pride. Our chief technology officer, Jeff Dent, has shown vision and talent, a collaborative spirit, and dedication to our industry over long hours discussing technologies and approach. With these and other professionals dedicated to my vision for what a core provider can and should be. It is about building something special and having it grow stronger every day.
As the saying goes, “Never say never,” but I can state with confidence that my current company will be my last venture into entrepreneurship because I have finally gotten it right. The fears of starting a company–financial, professional and personal–have been overcome and have been worth it. Each day, I walk into an office buzzing with ringing phones and keystrokes, with discussions of how we can do better between developers and trainers, sales and support. This is why I started out those many years ago. This is the opportunity I was looking for.
John Landis is chairman of Corelation Inc.
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