A simple tool running on a server in a bedroom closet…

5 and 1/2 years ago Tyler and I sat down in my office at the company we used to work for and had a chat. He was leaving the business. He knew I had created Schedulefly a couple of years prior and had 2 or 3 restaurants in Raleigh using it. They liked it, he had seen it and asked what I was planning on doing with it. I said “I don’t know, why, do you want to make it what you do next?” He said “Sure”. It was the easiest, simplest conversation I’ve ever had and it felt right. We decided we would get a simple website up and a free trial page up and he would start contacting some more restaurants to see if they had any interest in trying it. We also agreed (while laughing) that I should probably move the software to a real web host and unplug the personal computer that it was running on at my house…in the closet in the bedroom.

So we did. We moved it and started getting restaurants to try it. We got our first paying customer shortly after and this forced us to figure out billing, credit card processing, an admin site to manage accounts and all the back end stuff we would need to run the business. We were off and running…and a year or so later I joined him full time.

Well here we are on January 1st, 2013 – a really great team of 5 now that all worked together before Sfly (Wil, Tyler, Charles, Hank and Me) – and more than 3,000 restaurants have joined Schedulefly and started paying us. Course, we lose customers now and then (about 1% a month), but that leaves us just shy of 3,000 current subscribing restaurants.

Last week Charles and I visited our data center and slid 2 new servers into our rack (pic above). While we were wiring everything up, we chatted about how much fun it is to look at that rack knowing that we have built it from scratch. We hand write the software, hand pick out the hardware we want to run it on and carefully assemble it. I just can’t describe how rewarding that is and I am so proud of the simple approach we’ve taken to get here.

Happy New Year…we are really looking forward to it!