Last month, LinkedIn reminded me that I started Lingoport 15 years ago. I’m not big on work anniversaries but this one made me stop and think. Forgive me as I take a little time to post about the road we’ve traveled.
I incorporated Lingoport in March of 2001 starting up at the kitchen table. Back then it was just me, a few product idea diagrams and a network of localization and developer friends I could call upon.
First project work I won was for a calendar application for a long gone company called CriticalPath (remember them?). Second notable customer was working on an early system for internet connectivity on airplanes, and we all know what horror happened in September of 2001. It would be fair to say that the first few years had absolutely brutal ups and downs. Thankfully, our challenges now are operational and strategic rather than basic survival and making payroll.
Lingoport existed initially as an internationalization (i18n) services company, but my team and I always had a product vision that would put i18n and localization (L10n) concurrent with development, rather than as an afterthought.
Now people tell me that you can’t have both a product and services company. Personally, I think that’s an incorrect assumption. Some of the very best product companies also deliver services. Especially in the early days, when you are delivering services and knitting them together with products, you get an immediate and deep feedback loop as to what’s actually useful. The difficulty is in getting to the point where you can clearly segment services and product development personnel, objectives, and measurement. To get there, it takes determined people, discipline, creativity and a commitment to finding a way. In fact, looking back, I’d say that our team turned around limitations into strengths and creative initiatives.
Lingoport’s products have gone from the early days of an in-house command-line code scanner, to a full suite with multiple components that globalize development from code creation, to ongoing localization maintenance. We’re automating,measuring and managing i18n quality in dashboards, on the desktop and the check-in and review process. We’re also managing linguistic changes to resource files and automating transfer between the source repository and translation updates. We’ve even added i18n online training. All this serves to keep enterprise globalization quality high despite rapid and frequent agile sprints and releases.
Our product development has always been based on tight interaction with our customers. In Olivier Libouban and Lori Cameron and their teams, we have a healthy dose of product and service leadership to match the changing needs of development practices and continuously integrated systems. Our customers include some of the largest technology enterprises and fast up-and-comers in the news, and they are extremely supportive with product input.
The current news at Lingoport is quite good. Last year we nearly doubled product sales from the year before which was also excellent. This year, we are on pace to do that again and as of my writing this on April 13th, total revenues have already eclipsed 2015. Not bad. To keep that going also requires delivering excellent service and support for our customers’ success. Growth with customer chaos is just not worth it. Customer success is at the core of our company culture and individual integrity. I simply know that our team will proactively work with our customers to impact their globalized product development in visible and meaningful ways.
On the immediate product horizon is continuing work on i18n coding issues refinement (that never ends), and new methods to support integrated i18n in the development enterprise. Our vision and outcome is that i18n and L10n as it relates to developing software is just like any other coding quality objective. That is, globalization should be easy to integrate, measure and act upon. The ultimate analogy is to make it like turning the lights on and off. You just expect it to work and work well. It’s not an afterthought.
To that end, one of the principle concerns we hear when with prospective customers and client teams is that static analysis, like our Globalyzer, will produce tons of false positives that will overwhelm any positive value from the process. That’s why every single Lingoport product release addresses some enhancement of detection and filtering to get better results faster and easier. The last year in particular we added more ways to reduce and manage false positives quickly and easily. That warrants a bit of discussion and its own webinar. So if you’ve been interested enough to read this far into the post, may I suggest that you sign up for our next webinar?
I have enjoyed getting to know all our customers and friends of Lingoport, of which there are many. I’m thankful for our team, many of whom you may know and some you probably don’t. Thank you for making me ever so fortunate.