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Chapter 15: iText Software BVBA


Opening Quote  

According to Quote Investigator, the quote "First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh at You, Then They Attack You, Then You Win" shouldn't be attributed to Gandhi. The quote has a long and interesting history.

First Employees

We didn't have an office when we hired our first employees in Belgium. We trained the first employees in our own house.
Office at home

The first months, our employees had to work from home, until we bought the Dev Shack, a small house that became the first official iText office.
the iText Dev Shack the iText Dev Shack
© personal collection Lowagie-Willaert (see Google Photos for more)

The first iText Software BVBA employees (from left to right): Garry Vleminckx, Valérie Hillewaere, Frank Gielen (Spinnovation), Bruno Lowagie, Ingeborg Willaert, Michaël Demey, and Jeroen Nouws (March 2012).
the first seven iText employees
© 2012, An Nelissen

iText Summit 2012

In 2012, we had a first iText Summit in Ghent . These were the attendees:
iText Summit 2012
This is Paulo Soares:
iText Summit 2012
This is me:
iText Summit 2012
All summit pictures are © 2012, An Nelissen

We also made a series of videos during the summit.

Plug and Play Tech Center

These are some impressions of our Go Global experience at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale in 2012.
Plug & Play Tech Center  2012 Plug & Play Tech Center 2012 Plug & Play Tech Center  2012 Plug & Play Tech Center  2012 Plug & Play Tech Center  2012 Plug & Play Tech Center  2012
The picture on the bottom right shows me, discussing the business with Bernard Slede.

Our office space, sponsored by IBBT:
Plug & Play Tech Center  2012 Plug & Play Tech Center  2012

Invoiced revenue

In those days, I used to keep an Excel sheet with all the invoices. I kept track of the invoiced revenue of iText Software Corp. (blue) and iText Software BVBA (orange) in a simple chart:
invoiced revenue in the early iText years
As far as I remember, I converted the amounts to dollars, and the Y-axis went from $0 to %1M. 11Q4 and 12Q1 were two consecutive quarters with about $900K in invoiced revenue (which is, as I explain in my book, not the same as recognized revenue).

Visiting Adobe

This is me visiting Adobe's headquarters in San Jose for the first time.
First visit to Adobe in 2012 First visit to Adobe in 2012

This is Bob Wulff, giving me a tour in the Acrobat Museum at Adobe Headquarters in San Jose.
First visit to Adobe Acrobat Museum in 2012 First visit to Adobe Acrobat Museum in 2012 First visit to Adobe Acrobat Museum in 2012

My personal Website in 2012

I switched to using Drupal for my personal website, and the first years I didn't bother searching for another skin than the default Drupal theme. That wasn't very sexy, but I had too much work with iText to look after my website. My blog was dominated by news about iText. See for instance the headlines of March 1st, 2012.
screenshot personal website in 2012

Book Quotes  

  • Despite the change from the MPL/LGPL to the AGPL, we had a slow start in 2010, but sales started to pick up rapidly after I quit my job in the third quarter. By the end of the year, the revenue had grown to about $700,000. In the summer of 2011, the total invoiced amount at iText Software Corp. exceeded $1 million.
    We could have been happy with that result, but there was a small incident that made us question if we shouldn’t do better.
  • We were making money way too easily.
  • I also realized that I needed a better understanding of how customers had discovered iText, what they used it for, what made them decide to become a customer, what they liked or didn’t like about it, what was missing, and so on. I would need to build a dedicated sales team instead of hiring salespeople on commission to achieve this, and by doing so, further develop the business.

Soundtrack for this Chapter  

I listen to music, but my taste in music is questionable. I've selected a handful of songs for every chapters. Sometimes, there's a link to the chapter, sometimes I just like the song.

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