Small beginnings

I can clearly remember the ‘birth’ of Pisys. I’d been working for a small offshore survey company, as part of the software development team and we had been riding out the latest downturn in the energy sector which had caused a drop in oil price to circa $14 in 1986.

In keeping with the response to every drop in oil price a lot of things suddenly became too expensive to maintain and we found ourselves under threat.

Our boss was pretty good at coming up with reasons to keep us busy and therefore obviously indispensible so we engaged in an awful lot of documentation which was appreciated but a bit dull and it was during one particularly tedious session that I decided to resign – I didn’t have a plan, a vague idea of doing something on my own maybe but nothing tangible. This was the best way I could think of to give myself a kick up the bum and the first visible sign of something that I have noticed over the years – I need to put myself in some kind of jeopardy before I take action !

My pal Fiona typed up the memorandum and articles for the brand new ‘Aardvark Software Consultants’ and we were off – the company name emerged during a pub consulting session with some other pals who convinced me that ‘Aardvark’ would forever be the first software company in the yellow pages – of course this was based on zero research because if I’d even opened one I’d have seen that ‘A1’ + anything trumped ‘Aardvark’.

Of course when I changed it to Pisys we then got all the nostalgia junkies telling me how much they liked Aardvark, and of course we then realised there are some unfortunate anagrams of PiSys !

My friend Ray who joined as my co-director continued to work offshore and kindly lent me his bank card which allowed me to support myself while trying to get our first product off the ground – this was the foundation of a partnership and friendship that has now lasted over 30 years – which I know is unusual and I have no magic guaranteed formula for how to make business partnerships work, I think we were just lucky and both shared the same work ethic and long term view.

In a later post I will describe the pain of having to sell my Vauxhall Cavalier SRi to pay the wages…


Watch Peter Henderson, Pisys Founder, tell the Story of Pisys

First Day at School
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