20 years TMS Software…
TMS Software is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Time really flies. Bruno Fierens was one of the first “Delphi people” I got in touch with after starting software development with Delphi. Of course, I had no means to meet him in person.
I started using Delphi when I was 16 years old. That means I was still in high-school and had no car. Driving to Belgium would have meant planning a vacation. Anyhow, communication was restricted to netmail email at first. For the young generation who does not even know what netmail is: Before the internet we had to dial into mailboxes and they offered forums with direct mail. I used the FidoNET which featured several Delphi forums. That’s how I got in touch with other software developers in the beginning. Why am I am telling this story? To make it clear that TMS has been a Delphi supporter from day one. Further, responding to high school students that hardly could afford their Delphi license was important to Bruno. I always received an answer, and my feedback was even taken into consideration. In 2004 when I was in college, I met Bruno for the first time. It was either at SDN or EKON. The recollection differs as both conferences were close to each other in the calendar that year. US speakers did not even fly back but travelled from the Netherlands to Germany directly instead.
I honestly was quite nervous to meet Bruno in person because I was using some of his VCL controls on a daily basis by then. Still, we got comfortable talking to each other quickly breaking the silence with some chit chat about German car brands – one of the topics Bruno and I have different favorites… We also talked a lot about Delphi, of course, and after the personal meeting stayed in touch emailing frequently. Obviously, I had to finish my studies first before I could realize my dream to work with Delphi every day.
Noawdays, the adverb has changed. Bruno and I email daily. The amount of feedback on my part has not become less. I am sure I could find at least one email per month from Bruno in which he tells me to take a day off so that he can catch up … Reason for these daily exchanges has been a visit to Belgium in 2017. One February evening, I decided to give Bruno a call and ask for a meeting in person. I was willing (and able) to drive to Belgium in order to pitch an idea to him. I was still using his controls and other tools for software development on a daily basis. As always, Bruno was open to the idea and a couple of days later, I visited his beautiful offices in Wevelgem, Belgium. Bruno had no idea what I was going to suggest, but the idea to transfer my 5-Minute-Snack into videos was born that day. I had noticed that my 5-Minute-Snack blog posts were very successful and appreciated by the Delphi community and it came to me as the logical conclusion. Obviously, at the time I was not doing any work for TMS and they did not have an Evangelist yet. Bruno loved the idea suggested to start with the VCL Google Maps controls and that is how it all started.
Today, I look back on dozens of videos, blog posts, conference sessions, trainings, and – surprising to a lot of people – books. It all started with a spontaneous drive to Belgium and an open-minded CEO. Obviously, Bruno had known me for years at the time, but he had no idea if the idea would be profitable.
That is what makes the difference with TMS. People listen to your software development needs and try their best to accommodate you. There might not be a solution today, but your feedback sure is not forgotten for future endeavors. If I learned one thing working for TMS is not to be afraid to try. You might fail, but on the other hand you might also create something that will improve the software development experience.
On that aforementioned day in 2017, I was honest with Bruno mentioning that I have no idea how good or badly my videos might be received. He handed me a little note from his desk:
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”Salvador Dali
And with that quote in my mind I have produced all content for TMS ever since.
I am quite certain we will come closer to perfection in the next 20 years! Congratulations to TMS for 20 years not only providing top-notch software building blocks but for offering the one-of-a-kind one-on-one customer support that is rarely to be found in the industry.