It’s been 18 years. Boy, what a ride!
We started as a game company and Enemy Nations is still one of my proudest achievements. The work involved in getting play that’s enticing, a balance that keeps the user on the edge of frustration, and an implementation that is smooth and beautiful is incredibly difficult.
It wasn’t a blockbuster, but in a gaming world where “pretty good” is a failure, it was a solid hit. And that is really cool.
And then, and then… Well, the independent game development business is a road to poverty for most. So Windward went into hibernation. Until…
From Gaming Software To Reporting Software
I’d had this idea for a couple of years to design reports and documents in Word. When I had some free time I sat down and wrote the initial version. It was so simple back then. No AutoTag, Java only, XML datasources only, and Word RTF templates only.
Our reporting products have come a long way since then, but the functionality within that earlier system is very similar to what you see today. Most of the tags, most of the formatting, the ease of use — all have been there since version 1.0.
So like a lot of other successful companies, we grow steadily year after year. Google and Facebook may get their stories made into movies, and there’s another small number of companies that hit a home run every year, but that’s not the way most companies grow.
We aren’t splashy, but we work hard to constantly improve our products. We make a decent profit that we put back into growing the company, and we release a new version every nine months or so. And when you’re focused on the next month, the next version, the next year, you don’t see the giant strides accomplished over time.
Where We Are Today
When I stop to look at year 18, I realize what we’ve accomplished is amazing. The people who work at Windward are equal to the best I have worked with anywhere. (And I have been very lucky to work with extraordinarily talented people.)
And that’s what I’m most proud of: the people we have working here, the joy they take in their work, and what they’ve all accomplished. Here’s a toast to them and another 18 great years.
Author: David Thielen
Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.
Other posts by David Thielen