I'm coming up on my 13-year anniversary with CodeWeavers in the next couple months. And the question of the hour is: why did I decide to come to CodeWeavers, rather than staying in my previous role as an IT consultant? And was that a good call, particularly given that my livelihood is connected to an insanely difficult open-source technology like Wine?
Flash back to the summer of 2002. I was working as an independent business analyst, doing a gig at a large local real-estate firm. I was making very good money. I was also absolutely bored to tears. So when Jeremy White came calling, saying he needed a right-hand man to help him run CodeWeavers, and that he couldn't really pay me hardly anything to start, and would I like an "opportunity" like that, I honestly didn't hesitate much before saying "Why, yes! I would love an opportunity to work for an obscure, struggling software company while earning a lot less money, and a lot more aggravation!"
Fast-forward to 2015, and here I am. Still. And CodeWeavers is still doing pretty much the same thing: selling CrossOver. We're making more money, but not tons more. And from a technical perspective, we're still rolling a gargantuan rock uphill. Yeah, Wine has come a long way in thirteen years. It runs a lot more stuff now. But it's still a colossal pain in the butt to improve it. And not only that, but as more people have adopted tablets and smartphones, the importance of the Windows software marketplace has slowly diminished (sort of like my hairline), meaning that the hard work we do is arguably less important now than it was when I came aboard. Isn't that just awesome?
And yet, at the end of the day, I still have to say that I find what we do to be pleasing. Selling a product is simply more satisfying than being a consultant, I've found. Every copy of CrossOver we sell (we sincerely hope) makes someone's life just a little easier, or cooler, or better. Someone out there can now run their favorite Windows game on their Mac. Or their favorite genealogy package on Linux. Or whatever happens to float their boat. We give our customers the ability to call their own shots regarding what platform they want to run on. That's kinda cool. It smells like... freedom.
So, yeah, I might have stayed at my first post-MBA employer (Deloitte) and be making a lot (and I mean a lot) more money by now. But I probably would also have eaten my liver out, one jagged spoonful at a time, every single day. And hey, just because we're not all driving Beamers here at CodeWeavers, I can't ever recall seeing a margarita machine at Deloitte, either...
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We're rebels. We're misfits. But mostly, we're software liberators. And we're very, very good at what we do. We have to be. Lots of developers work with open source, but only a tiny fraction of those are good enough to get software that was designed for one platform to work on another one. We invented CrossOver software - a unique approach to cross-platform compatibility that does not require dual-boot or another OS license. We launched PortJump to help app and game developers broaden their market beyond Windows® users. And we launched ExecMode to help organizations solve really ugly technical challenges.