THE ARTWORK THROUGHOUT THE SDS OFFICE SPACE HIGHLIGHTS INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR PROFESSION, AND WHO EXEMPLIFY THE CORE VALUES IN WHICH WE BELIEVE. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO STOP IN AT ANY TIME AND HAVE A LOOK AROUND, AND LEARN WHAT WE ARE ABOUT. WE WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU!
Urban Dictionary describes a code monkey as an affectionate term used for a specific kind of underpaid, overworked, increasingly underappreciated indentured servant known as a "software programmer."
This couldn't be further from the truth at Strategic Data Systems. Our culture creates a fun environment where people who are passionate about building software work on interesting projects to accomplish great things for our customers.
We come to work each morning because we believe that our company can have a positive impact on businesses who engage us, and it is exciting to see our work make such a difference in the companies we serve. We hire passionate people who share this belief with us. We build a culture of engagement where people respectfully challenge one another to be the best that they can be. We learn from each other and have fun working together.
The rest of the artwork in our office represents our core values as told by pioneers in the information technology field.
Curiosity & Passion
Unity & Teamwork
CURIOSITY & PASSION!
Creator of Linux and Git and father of open software
Linus Torvalds was a curious kid and discovered his passion early in life. He began programming at 11 years old on his grandfather's Commodore Vic 20. He was fully immersed in his craft by 15 years old.
Linus purchased an IBM PC in 1991 and found that he was disappointed with the MS-DOS operating system that shipped with the computer. He attempted to obtain a version of UNIX for his new computer, but the price for even the most basic UNIX OS was over $5,000.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Torvalds decided to create a new operating system from scratch based on UNIX and changed the world when he decided to make the source code freely available to the public.
Twenty-five years later, Linus still maintains the Linux kernel and is responsible for the Open Software movement that provides open-source software available to the public to use and improve upon.
Co-founder of Apple Computer
Luck Happens when Preparation meets Opportunity - Seneca!
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak had a great idea and didn't worry about what others thought of his non-traditional approach to building the first Apple computer. Steve, aka "Woz" saw the opportunity in front of him and poured his passion into this pet garage project. Steve has several thoughts about the opportunity:
You've got to have passion for what you're doing.
Don't be afraid to start your business in your garage.
Create a product that you and your team actually want to use.
Always listen to your entry-level employees and respect their opinions.
The Facebook CEO has demonstrated that he is a master at building relationships.
Rather, the takeaway is this: For the cost of a cup of a coffee--or maybe a meal--you should check in with your mentors or reach out to someone with whom you can potentially cultivate a mentor relationship. Often, you don't have to cross the ocean to gain insight and perspective. You just have to network with people you really respect. And listen to what they say.
And if you think Zuckerberg's relationship-building chops are limited to celebrity mentors, think again. Two years ago, after Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp made huge news, theNew York Timesreported that Zuckerberg and WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum negotiated the deal over a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries at Zuckerberg's house.
Think about this. When was the last time you visited someone's house and ate chocolate-covered strawberries? Does that seem like something likely to happen during a rigorous due diligence process? Or does it require a certain level of familiarity and friendship?
As it turns out, Zuckerberg and Koum are friends. In recent years, noted theTimes, they'd shared dinners and gone on hikes together. And while Koum had 19 billion reasons to choose Facebook's offer, there was evidence that this deal was about more than money--for both the buyer and the seller. It was about the alignment of long-term visions. Indeed, Facebook assured Koum that WhatsApp would remain ad-free--and gave him a seat on Facebook's board.
Steve Jobs didn’t sketch one character in Pixar’s new movie, Brave, but his handprint is on every frame. During an interview on Charlie Rose, John Lasseter, the chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation, told a short, insightful story about the late Apple CEO who had purchased Pixar in 1986 for $10 million (Jobs would later sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, making Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder). Steve Jobs introduced the Pixar team to his pixel-level obsession with excellence.
In Lasseter’s first meeting with Jobs, he wanted to tell Jobs about a short film he was working on that would show off Pixar’s technology. Pixar was mostly a hardware company at the time and Lasseter was the studio’s only animator. After Lasseter pitched the story, Steve Jobs offered four words of advice: “Just make it great.” It was the only guidance that Jobs gave Lasseter. That short, Tin Toy, won an Academy Award for the best animated short film, the first time an Oscar had been given to computer animation.
The day of the average is over.Today an average business will generate below-average results.New York Timescolumnist Thomas Friedman wrote, “What was average performance in the past will not earn an average grade, an average wage, or a middle-class standard of living.” Friedman recommends that all of us need to raise our game. In other words, just make it great.
Search for excellence in everything your business does and everything it stands for. Take another look at your web site. Is it readable, engaging, and easy to navigate? Take another look at your product. Is it elegant and simple to use? Take another look at the customer experience. Are you enriching the lives of your customers and making them feel good about doing business with you? Take another look at your leadership skills. Are you an average leader who gets a job done or a great leader who inspires your team?
The “make it great” mantra.At Gallo Communications, we’ve adopted “just make it great” as our mantra in 2012. It’s driving us crazy in a good way! It forces everyone out of their comfort zones. For example, we are developing a new web-based presentation training course. The process has taken more time than anticipated because we are reviewing everything about it—the video, workbooks, navigation, functionality, etc. Yes, the mantra adds time to the process but the results are always better. I’ve even added a sentence to emails I send to vendors when I’m not 100% satisfied with a particular product. I’ll end an email with the words, “Just make it great.” In every instance, the vendor has come back with significant improvements.
John Lasseter said that Steve Jobs taught him to always aim high. With an unprecedented streak of #1 movies, Lasseter and Pixar have certainly aimed high and achieved their mark. Jobs taught Lasseter that “quality is the best business plan.” Jobs would say that everything Pixar does has to be great again and again and again. Every Pixar story had to be great. Every movie had to be great. Every product with Pixar’s name on it had to be great. If you want to succeed in this increasingly competitive global economy, every single thing you do has to be great. Is it?
Alan Turing was a famed mathematician who wrote his now-famous paper in 1936 titled "On Computable Numbers." This paper introduced the Turing machine and is widely acknowledged as the foundation of research in artificial intelligence.
Turing's research and vision into his Turing Machine was the foundation of the theory that lead to the modern computer. His famous machine was used during World War II to break the cipher of the German Enigma machine resulting in a significant advantage to the allied forces.
KNOW HOW TO SAY NO. There will always be an unending supply of projects, invites, and other requests for your time. Determine what is truly important to you, and focus your attention there. Say "NO" to the rest.
WELCOME CRITICISM. Criticism gives a perspective that you don't have. It is easier to learn from failure than from success.
BE OPTIMISTIC. In a world where so many things can go wrong, it is important to be optimistic and believe that you can make the world a better place.
BE WILLING TO FAIL. Success is more enjoyable than failure, but the failures teach you the best lessons and give you the best opportunities to grow.
FOCUS ON A GOAL.(and keep progressing towards it). You can achieve amazing progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal.
The woman who took us to the moon.
Margaret Hamilton wrote the code for Apollo Guidance Computer on the lunar module, and coined the term "software engineering". Computers at that time had very limited computing power and memory. Margaret had the foresight to design software that allowed the highest priority tasks to take precedence over lower priority tasks when the computer experienced insufficient bandwidth to complete all the tasks. She was, after all, responsible for safely landing the first humans on the moon. When it had to work, Margaret delivered it!
Grace Hopper was a pioneer in the computer industry by developing one of the first compilers that allowed programmers to write in a higher-level language than assembly language. This language was the precursor to COBOL.
As a Navy Admiral, she believed in the value of teamwork, and that respect must be shown both upwards and downwards in a team.
Founder of Ebay and Philanthropist
Evan Carmichael in an edition of Modeling the Masters wrote an excellent article on Pierre Omidyar from which we can understand what makes Pierre click. Following is an excerpt. Click hereto read the entire article.
By following his passion on computers and by actually taking action on the idea that he had, Pierre Omidyar was able to build one of the most successful companies in his industry. To help you make your company more successful, here are 3 Action Items that you can learn from Pierre Omidyar.
Action Item #1: Just Go For It
You know what one thing every successful entrepreneur has in common? They got started! You may have great business ideas but if you never take any action on them, you have nobody but yourself to blame. Don't be afraid to try something different and fail. You will know failure. Keep trying and experimenting with little projects until you strike gold and can really run with your new business idea.
Omidyar had a lot of people who never thought his website would ever take off. Why would complete strangers be willing to buy and sell to each other online? How would they trust each other to complete the deal? Omidyar believed that people were fundamentally good people and would be, for the most part, honourable. He kept at it and intended to prove his critics wrong. Omidyar realized it was working when he started earning more money from eBay than from his day job.
According to Omidyar, "I started eBay as an experiment, as a side hobby basically, while I had my day job. A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things. They’ll have an idea and they’ll say – they’ll convince themselves or other people will convince them that it can’t be done. I just kind of had this naïve approach to – well, gee, you know, why not. I’ll just go ahead and do it. Don’t let people whom you may respect and whom you believe know what they’re talking about, don’t let them tell you it can’t be done because often they’ll tell you it can’t be done, and it’s just because they don’t have the courage to try. You’re able to accomplish anything you set out to accomplish."
Action Item #2: Follow Your Passion
Almost every famous entrepreneur gives similar advice - do what you're passionate about. When you love what you do, you'll make a far better product or service and will have a much bigger impact on your target market. Don't waste time trying out businesses that you're not really interested in just because they can make you money. Focus your energy and talents on what you're uniquely able to create and you're on your way to building a successful business.
From the time he was a young boy, Omidyar knew that his future lied in computers. He didn’t know how or when, but when the other boys were outside playing sports, Omidyar was busy teaching himself computer programming languages like Basic. If he didn't follow his passion and tried to force himself into other areas that didn't interest him, the world would never have come to know eBay.
According to Omidyar, "I always wanted to be involved with computers. I was just pursuing what I enjoyed doing. I was pursuing my passion. It’s not work really, if you’re having fun. That was the case with me. You have to really believe in what you’re doing, be passionate enough about it so that you’ll put in the hours and hard work that it takes to actually succeed there, and then you’ll be successful."
Action Item #3: Be Nice
A lot of people think that business is cutthroat, but it doesn't have to be. When I hire people, one of the core values that we look for is: "Is this person nice?" It's amazing how much more productive you are and how much more fun you have when you enjoy working with the people around you - your staff, your customers, and your suppliers.
Omidyar founded eBay with the belief that nice guys finished first. He created a set of core values for the business based on honesty and building trusted relationships. He also believed that if his company could live by those core values, then they would attract customers who felt the same way. To date, his theory has proven to be correct. There are only 30 out of every million transactions that happen on eBay where people file a fraud complaint.
According to Omidyar, "I founded the company on the notion that people were basically good and that if you give them the benefit of the doubt, you’re rarely disappointed. Nice guys, a responsible company that has its heart in the right place – that’s run by real human beings – it has to be successful, because if we weren’t that way, eBay wouldn’t be successful. eBay wouldn’t exist. It wouldn’t be possible.”