Welcome to the world of IT. Be amazed, but take it slowly – everyone else first needs to catch up.
This is how we often feel when trying to make a business out of the things we love doing. #Rootless, this is 5 nerds and IT enthusiasts with a diverse background in everything from enterprise IT to private Gaming. #Rootless also is an idea and a passion to change something. If we were happy with today’s IT industry, working conditions and pace of change, we would still work our old jobs. But we aren’t.
We’re nerds. We want to tool around with bleeding edge technologies. We want to see how industrial-grade technology can impact the lives of businesses and casual people. We experience IT as a generalistic system. Everything depends on everything else. And resting in a comfortable position means falling behind.
Yet we’re based in the smallest state of germany: Saarland. A place where you still know your neighbours (and chances are good you even once met everyone else living here) but also a place where technology and IT is perceived as an assisting system, something that still only has small impact on business compared to traditional factors like man-power and money. Something you don’t want to waste dat precious money on. It’s toys and yeah, technology will never replace human skill (we’ve heard many of these „nevers“ in regards to Memory, the Internet and Electrical Cars already).
Of course, we see things differently. Not only because we simply enjoy technology and playing with new stuff, we also acknowledge that information technology is everywhere. All the time. Ever tried to get your hands off your smartphone for a day? Remember that feeling of annoyance when there’s neither WIFI nor Mobile Internet? Are you wearing a Smart Watch? You’re not reading this in a newspaper, do you?
Being innovative hurts
We think of ourselves as innovative. At least we try to keep up with everything and don’t waste too much time implementing technologies that are not built to last or at least have a chance to grow.
We also think of ourselves as technical problem solvers. We’re not a classical IT Service Company. Sure, we provide services. Sure, we develop custom solutions. And sure, we will help you fix your Windows PC. But at our heart, we just want to tackle interesting problems and either apply a fitting solution or dissolve the problem at whole (which, basically, means to apply the best fitting solution). As we experience IT as a system, we don’t limit on special areas of narrow expertise. We’re generalists with deep expertise in specific systems and broad knowledge and skillset to deal with any technology-related problem (Valve calls this „T-Shaped“ people [Page 46]). We think of ourselves as the glue that makes everything work together smoothly and implements a vision into reality. We definitely think of ourselves as artists and architects.
So how can you be innovative and (dis)solve problems in a place where even the government drives irrational IT decisions (remember that DSGVO-thingy we were all punished with? Microsoft doesn’t take this too serious)?
For those of you not living in Saarland – you maybe have the same feeling about the technological awareness of your area/city/country/social circles. Since we’re an actual company making our living from helping people and businesses to succeed with technology, this is a serious issue for us.
How can you sell something that people don’t understand? How do you sell stable infrastructure to people thinking a Fritz!Box is a well-suited business router – yet serving 220+ Clients over WIFI and copper in an infrastructure distributed over 5 remote-locations? We don’t know for sure, but we’re figuring out slowly.
These times …
Humanity probably didn’t ever face a pace of social and intellectual progression as we’re doing today. The world is moving fast and people quickly fall behind. Definitely in technology.
If you’re one of those nerds not feeling totally behind, you probably feel the same urge we do. Just like watching your dog trying to get familiar with the bee-hive, people resisting to keep up with technology will learn their lesson in the end. The urge we feel is to help out upfront. So people don’t need to learn how bad it hurts to ignore the signs.
So the one question we’re faced with as a business of nerds (i.e. people caring more about cool stuff and less about business-limbo) is how do we bridge the gap between our understanding of the world – and theirs.
Not to simply make sales. This is easy. Sell isolated solutions with nice brand-names and you’re good to book your Tesla.
It’s to actually make an impact. Selling solutions for the sake of sales is what makes IT so hard these days. We’re just trying to breathe life in our idea of how IT should work today – which is in our favour, as in yours.
We do stuff because we love to – which is also a stupid thing to do in today’s economy. If it’s fun, why would I pay for it? Or if it’s fun, it can’t be professional.
We strongly disagree, of course. We think, if it’s not fun, it’s definitely going to be shit.
Back to business
So how do we actually run a business? Well, we adapt. We do what we do in IT, too. We integrate, re-model and spearhead sometimes. We break things – be it business-relations or paradigms.
We want IT to be fun for everyone. Yet, we’re still working with bleeding-edge technologies and porting ideas between industries. Because it’s fun. And because it has value. So we don’t want to be slowed down by traditional business, old thinking and ego-driven relations. Yet we are.
We try to still move in our own (quick) pace and direction, slowly adjusting our business-models, rates and offerings from what people expect to what makes sense in today’s industry.
This means being very clear about where we’re going to and being able to resist the storm. And being misunderstood. Or not understood at all. It means, for nerds, to learn how everyone else seems to think. And to accept that it’s valid, even if not meant for us. It means to change directions but still move to the desired goal. It also means to understand that no system is perfect and that adaption and flexibility is key to anyone trying to do business – first and foremost if you’re unsavvy of business and an idealist (like we are).