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My Vision for Windward – 4 Questions from a CIO

Posted on 04/14/2017

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I was recently asked to describe my vision for Windward, in my own words.

My vision is to create a company that can punch well above it’s height. One that can create compelling products that are a revolutionary improvement. And all that comes down to the people and systems we put in place at work.

That’s it.

Everything we are doing now leads to this. Improved marketing & sales makes us a profit. More importantly it gets what we create into the hands of more people. Same for operations. Development creates these products. And all of this takes very talented driven people to make it happen.  In addition, we need to figure out what to deliver. Javelin is interesting in this respect. As we grow it we need to find a much better way to provide a Content Management System. Something so much better it gets a new description.  And then we need to invent additional products that have not been thought of. But once in use people wonder how they lived without them.

This led to four questions from a CIO, and my answers:

What’s the moment of delight with your product? When do I get to that point of “how did I ever live without this”?

This commonly happens when first using AutoTag. Sometimes in the first 5 minutes. Sometimes several days in. When you realize what you just did with it would have taken great effort or been impossible with any other product – and it was trivially easy with Windward.

How do you make it politically safe for me to try something I haven’t had before? (e.g. Can you inoculate me against big expenses and lackluster results?)

Yes and no. Like anything you get out of it what you put in to it. If your employees are wed-ed to the existing way of doing things, oftentimes because their job depends on template design requiring their expertise and time, then you have a problem. But if people are on-board with this then it is safe, because it is so fast & easy to incorporate and design in that within a week you can show the clear win from Windward. So minimal expense to demonstrate significant results.

Where would I have opportunities and problems in compatibility and integration?

The opportunity comes from our being built on Microsoft Office and all the standard datasources (SQL, XML, JSON, OData, etc.). So it uses what you have and know. The problems tend to come from having non-standard data. If you can’t access the data with ODBC/JDBC or OData and can’t export to XML/JSON, then we have a major problem.

How does your product make me the hero?

Switching to Windward tends to move reporting & docgen from expensive problem to invisible. You’ll have to remind people of how it used to be. But when you do, the difference is gigantic to everyone affected.

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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.

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