Origins and Philosophy
Hello, My name is Rod Schmidt and I’d like to tell you about infiniteNIL: How I came up with the name, why I founded it, and the vision I have for it. It all starts in the summer of 2002, when I decided to take a sabbatical from my software development career. For years I have been growing disillusioned with how the companies I worked for were run. They seemed to be in it for nothing but the money and key decisions were increasingly made for political reasons or other reasons that didn’t have anything to do with producing a good product or what was best for our customers. As a result, in my opinion, their products were not getting completed and/or were not nearly as good as they could be. As it turns out, most of these companies have struggled or are no longer around.
So I’m on my sabbatical and I’m driving down the California coast listening to the audio book, Surfing the Himalayas. If you are into the Zen thing, it’s a wonderful book about a young man who is into snow boarding and goes to the Himalayas to find the ultimate snow boarding experience. Instead, he ends up finding a Buddhist monk and begins a spiritual journey. Anyway, I was listening to a part about the Zen idea that to fully understand something you must first empty your mind of all ideas and preconceptions you have about the subject and just experience it for what it is. At this point, I suddenly got the idea for the name infiniteNIL, including the logo that you see above. It was first time I had come up with a company name and a logo that went with it.
Why I Founded infiniteNIL
Clear back in high school, I had told people I wanted to start my own software company. I read a lot and I’ve read lots of books on development, marketing, and how to run a business. For some reason, I never did it. I was just too comfortable in my career, keeping busy and making good money. Near the beginning of 2002, after years of working for companies that just didn’t work or get it, I was tired and burned out, and I was depressed about not finding that special someone to share your life with. I wanted to do some good in this world and I just wasn’t sure how to do it. Starting a software company was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t have the desire to do all the hard work and sacrifice that was required, or so I thought. I even started seeing a relationship counselor, who helped me see that what is most important in life is your happiness and to achieve that you must chase your dreams. Only then will you attract into your life the people you need. So, I decided to take a sabbatical, hoping I might figure out what that might be. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to run my own company and run it the way I thought was best. I wanted to produce good software that people enjoyed and that helped them in some way. I love developing software. It is truly my passion. Only by having my own company would I be able to develop software that made me happy as well as my customers.
The Vision of infiniteNIL
If I look into the future of infiniteNIL, here is what I see. I see a company whose #1 purpose is to write good software that our customers find useful and enjoy using. Software that makes their lives just a little bit easier or more enjoyable. I see a company whose #2 purpose is to provide an environment for their employees to grow and thrive. If your employees are happy they will perform and keep your customers happy. I see an environment that is a fun place to work. The company that plays together, stays together and works well together. We don’t skimp on keeping our employees happy or providing them with what they need, whether that is a challenging and interesting work, a place to chill out for a few minutes in front of a big-screen TV, a nice refreshment to fuel up, the latest hardware and software they think (not management) will help them do their jobs, a fun group activity with their colleagues, or even a nice steady work week where they can go home at a decent hour and have a life outside of work. I see a company that isn’t greedy, that hasn’t let the pursuit of money overshadow everything. I see a company that hasn’t gone public, and never will, never to be held to the demands or whims of outsiders. I see a company that gives, giving 10% of all its income to charities. And finally, I see a company that makes enough money for it and its employees to be comfortable and enjoy life and to keep the cycle of giving and receiving going. That is the vision of infiniteNIL.