A message from our CEO as Zoot celebrates 25 years in business
I’ve told the history of our company countless times over the years. While it is a fun story to tell from a basement startup to what Zoot has become, that isn’t the main message I want to share with you today. Even though I am proud of all that we have accomplished; what really excites me is what lies ahead.
In the beginning we chose a different path from other technology companies because we wrote a language (Zoot Script) to solve problems rather than an application. On top of that language, we created a tool (WebRules) that generates Zoot Script driving our services that create the applications our customers use. Our technology is awesome, but it is the services we provide that pay the bills—decisioning, origination, workflow management.
That is what has defined us for 25 years and set us apart from our competition.
Even though we have had our share of struggles along the way, I view failure as data—now you know how not to do something. A perfect example is a massive failure we had 20 years ago that prompted us to change the way we operated. Initially we bought one big machine (that we called HAL) and had a client whose volume we couldn’t handle. That incident caused the death of HAL and the birth of our distributed processing model and ability to scale up.
The unintended consequences of becoming distributed have truly differentiated Zoot. We are built on an infrastructure that provides the highest availability in the market. If our clients aren’t processing, they aren’t making money and neither are we. Zoot has the ability to fail over automatically between machines, data centers, and countries. None of our competitors can do that. When they go down, they need people to bring them back up.
Because of our ability to adapt based on what we have learned, Zoot has set the stage for a really fabulous future.
At five years the biggest concerns we had to address were contingency plans and our size. Back then I actually had to answer the question “What happens if you get hit by a bus?” Clients were nervous to put their core business in our hands as a small, privately held company in Bozeman, Montana. We are old enough now to no longer be questioned about being capable; our technology has proven itself and there are a lot more of us to alleviate the fear of something happening to me.
It is a time to celebrate how far we have come from the days when a closet held our servers to our state-of-the-art computer room with bullet proof glass, biometrics, and man traps. We are at a point where we can truly chart our course. Because we wrote a tool that allows our customers to do the work, we enable innovative institutions to implement all their good ideas with our services. This allows us to solve very specific problems and makes us—and our clients—more efficient.
We have been living in the future for a long time, before cloud distributed computing was a thing. Where we go from here lies in not only in providing our rock solid services, but in making the configuration so fast and easy that anyone with knowledge of their business can do it. I recently watched one of our new employees define four new data sources and run reports using our technology. He doesn’t have a programming background—that is my target market.
While others can rely on their good looks and charm to sell their products, we will sell based on our intelligence and technology. We have the right tools and services to move forward—tools and services that actually know how to fly in the cloud.
On behalf of all of us at Zoot, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to our clients, business partners, and friends for their loyal support as we celebrate our 25th year in business. We could not have come this far without you or our amazing employees. Here’s to the next chapter of our growth!