It will be ten years in February. A long time. Seems a good time to celebrate. I am a bit of an historian: I like anniversaries. Stories, the past, those are the sort of things I enjoy. Nothing scientific, not modern technology, not computers. So why am I a Director of an I.T. company? I have been asking myself that for nearly ten years now, but that is the way it is with family businesses. Everyone joins in and does whatever they can.
Hugh is the I.T. wizard. He has worked all over the world as an I.T. consultant. He enjoys writing software. Has done ever since he was a teenager. Back in 2004 he saw a chance to set up his own business. A gaming company asked him to work for them while he was still committed to his job as a consultant. He decided to do both by setting up his own company. He was Managing Director. James, his father, a retired banker from the days before banker became a dirty word, agreed to join the Board. He was made Finance Director. As for me, Hugh and I have always got on well and he did not want his mother to feel left out. So he asked me also to join the Board, with the title of Company Secretary.
Back then it was just the three of us. Hugh, James and me. And Quest. Quest is Hugh’s horse. He gave his name. That is why the company is called Computer ConQuest Ltd. It is always spelt with a capital Q. C.C.Q.
The first decision was that the only way to get things off the ground was to keep expenses to an absolute minimum. The two main expenses for most businesses are staff and premises. In the early months there was only one employee: the other two Board members showed no inclination to earn their keep. They accordingly remained unkept.
As for premises, Hugh carries his office with him wherever he goes. It fits in his laptop case. If he is working on a client’s site, he takes his secretary with him, tucked inside the same case, always silent, always maintaining confidentiality. His private as well as his professional life is included. Friends who spent long hours and small fortunes on magnificent wedding invitations wept as he scanned in the information, then shredded the thick cards. Once he had to stop on the motorway and open the laptop to discover where he was going, and probably the names of the bride and bridegroom too. Despite this, that principle has been adhered to ever since. Everyone who works for C.C.Q. does so from their own home. This has enabled the company to survive the recession.
Since then, everything has grown. Within a very few months, we became and remain a two family company. Others have joined the two families, some ships that passed in the night, others treasured ongoing members of the team. The early days seem long ago. The Senior Dog, then just a small bundle of fluff, was taken on as Junior Paper Shredder. As for the Puppy, now showing considerable natural ability in the same role, I doubt if even her grandfather was born then. All have played their parts in helping the company to develop. But that, as I tell the grandchildren, is a story for next time.