New horizons, same promise

April 21, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here. Redsqware has come a long way in five years. Today, we take another step in our evolution.

It all began with a simple goal. To be an adaptive, reliable technology partner for our clients and team members. After years of handling development from the agency side, we realized that we’d developed a circle of partners, team members, and SMEs that was a great deal more than the sum of its parts. We had also proved ourselves, time and again, with more than a decade of successful technology development and support on the agency side. We were trusted by people we worked with – and for – because we didn’t hesitate to put their needs ahead of our own when the chips were down.

And the chips were down quite often. Our clients tended to come to us with challenging custom development projects that were beyond the reach of either an agency or a development services company alone. To deliver on those demanding requirements, we gradually built a bridge between the two. Along the way, we developed and nurtured a valuable network of people, partners, and methodology from around the world. We also built a stable of amazing, brilliant clients, and were lucky enough to become a trusted partner for some very large multinational concerns. That wasn’t a painless process, and I learned as much from our failures as from our successes. Maybe more. No matter what, I’ve always believed in keeping promises. To me, upholding the trust we’d earned from our staff and our clients came first. Eventually, we also learned to balance code, cost, and compliance effectively – and even started turning a profit.

Creating a new company to leverage what we’d learned was just a natural extension of that evolution. I felt that for any new company to be a viable enterprise in the long-term, it had to be a bootstrap endeavor. Looking back, that was the smartest decision we made. It forced us to evolve to better align with what our clients needed. But it also meant that we had to watch as other companies burned bright and faded away – or actually succeeded, in a few cases. All the while, we kept our eyes on the road in front of us. Not the one they were taking. And worked. And worked. And worked.

We waded in with open source CMS development, then licensed software. Soon we were being asked for mobile apps, UX, documentation, and pretty much anything else that would fit under a fixed fee. The slow burn approach kept us honest, but it also required a lot of my life energy. There were many times when we took a beating financially so that we could make sure a client was happy. We truly used client successes as our yardstick for success, rather than immediate profit.

In that way, we gradually earned our good name and distinguished ourselves from our competitors. By keeping our promises and honoring the spirit – not merely the letter – of our work agreements. With both our customers and our team players. No matter what. Even when our margins suffered to do it. And through it all, we steadfastly refused to blow a single deadline or budget – regardless of the cost. Eventually, our clients came to trust Redsqware to deliver, under almost any circumstances. They began to engage with us whenever they had a complex project. To offset the risks associated with that delivery.

As code itself became increasingly commodified in certain circles, competing on cost became more and more difficult. Keeping promises through development activity alone became an extremely demanding way to work. My absolute refusal to “stick it” to either our customers, our staff, or our contractors simply meant that we had to grow more quickly. I also saw that the next plateau of continued, sustainable growth required another evolution to match market demand. Into a company that offered service, support and maintenance on a subscription basis. We expanded our reach and broadened our commitment to customers by doing so. A natural complement to the fixed price services we were already selling.

Sometimes, things got messy. But more and more, we were able to apply the breadth of what we’d learned; operationally, technically, and personally. So when they did, we just fell back on our original mission. Keeping promises. We had learned that customer satisfaction wasn’t about being 100% right 100% of the time. It was about owning our work, being honest, and accepting accountability. Again, we adapted successfully. It was then that I realized it was really the knowledge and client experience that we’d accrued – and the relationships we’d nurtured – which represented the greatest value to our customers in the years ahead.

The repositioning of Redsqware into a consulting services company doesn’t represent a change in what we do as much as a change in how we think about ourselves and articulate our core value to customers. The truth is, we’ve already made those changes during the natural evolution of our operations and business relationships. Focusing on end-to-end ADM offshoring is simply the next phase in that continued evolution. The net result is the same. Promises kept. Fun had. Good friends made. Great work delivered. As we’ve grown, we’ve been lucky enough to to be selective with new business relationships. We want to continue to preserve that chemistry, adaptability, good faith, and willingness to learn.

I feel very, very privileged to have clients and team members who believe in what we do at Redsqware. Every day, I’m reminded of that in some way. Because there is no secret to our success. It’s all about people, and hard work. Still, I know we’ve been extremely fortunate. I know that by some estimates, as many as 75% of new companies fail. And yet today, we continue to narrow and sharpen our edge.

The truth is, I would not be here writing this without those amazing people, who have walked with me on every step of our journey. When we need input, they never fail to humble me with their generosity and sincerity. With customer feedback, employee dedication, and constructive criticism. Time and again, they’ve sustained us with invaluable capital, resources, and insights – and honored me with their trust.

As we once again shed our cocoon, stretch our wings, and look to new horizons, I offer them my deepest gratitude.


Jon Gifford

I co-founded Redsqware in 2012 after 21 years in digital and advertising (plus a painful learning experience in the startup game). Having searched at great length (and without success), we decided to just become the kickass agency development partner we'd always wanted for ourselves. We've always had the same three goals; to uplift clients, empower people, and to create extraordinary tools together. I know that acting in the best interest of customers and team members is always the right thing to do. Because they're usually the same thing if you're doing it right. I know in time companies who do quality work, act with integrity, and provide phenomenal service set themselves apart. I believe in my heart that the more open the web is, the better off we'll all eventually be. I don't own a self-driving car, but my pickup truck is old enough to drive itself. I'm not into accolades or social media fame. I'm into fairness. I'm into people who care. I'm into responsible risk taking. And I'm really, really into people with new ideas. I'm a father to three amazing children, and a husband to a wonderful woman. In my free time, I wander beaches on both coasts finding waves and new friends, skate our halfpipe with the kids (ow), and lurk online for foster dogs.