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Chapter 19: A Strategy for iText

Trivia

Opening Quote  

When we drafted a strategy for iText, we immediately knew we were going to need "a bigger boat."

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My First ISO Meeting

I attended the ISO committees for PDF for the first time in Austria, in May 2013.
Austrian Standards Institute My badge and portable for the ISO meeting in Vienna
© 2013, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

New Office in Belgium

In January 2014, the Belgian office moved to Business Center De Punt in Gentbrugge. On December 30, 2013, Ingeborg was working with heavy machinery to get everything ready.
Preparing the new office Preparing the new office Preparing the new office
© 2013, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

Location of the First Board Meeting

iText had its first two-day board meeting in Redwood City.
Location of the first board meeting Location of the first board meeting
© 2014, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

A fragment from chapter 19 was presented at Guberna's Director's Day on February 23, 2021.
LinkedIn post by GUBERNA

This is me in San Francisco in 2014.
Bruno Lowagie in San Francisco
© 2014, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

iText @ Events

The revenue allowed iText to pay for a booth at events. That wasn't possible when iText was still free as in free beer. This is our first salesman Garry at an event in Berlin.
Garry Vleminckx 2013 iText Booth Berlin
© 2013, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

This is the iText team that went to Berlin for iText in 2014 and me explaining the difference between the LGPL, GPL, and AGPL.
iText Summit 2014 team
iText Summit 2014 Bruno Lowagie
© 2014, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

This is me at Devoxx in Antwerp.
Bruno Lowagie Devoxx 2014 iText Booth
© 2014, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

Company Structure

The company structure in 2013 wasn't optimal.
iText company structure before the reorganization

By 2015, we had a structure that was much easier to explain and understand.
iText company structure after the reorganization

iText Website 2014 - 2018

During one of the board meeting, the other board members complained about the structure of the iText website. I decided to write a new website from scratch during the two-day meeting. That explains why it is a "bare bones" website.
iText website in 2014

I changed my personal website to have the same design.
personal website in 2014

In another board meeting, we decided to change the logo to what may be the definitive iText logo. That logo won a Hermes Award.
iText website with the new logo in 2015

Eventually, the whole website was redesigned. This was the first time we outsourced the design of the website; all the previous websites were created by me personally.
iText website in 2016

This is what the website looked like in 2018:
iText website in 2018

Book Quotes  

  • When Duff presented the plan, he put it this way: “The main goal is to convince Ingeborg and Bruno that iText could be worth several tens of millions. Then we need to find a buyer who feels the same way.”
  • We vowed that we wouldn’t go for windowdressing. We didn’t want a superficial update of our business so that it would give a favorable impression to potential buyers. We wanted a full upgrade of every aspect of our business that would result in a valuable company in three years, M&A or no M&A.
  • With every new board meeting, we felt more at ease. Before we installed a board, Ingeborg and I were the only people in charge; we took every single decision and assumed responsibility for the choices we made. The board gave us relief, something we hadn’t expected. The weight of the company was no longer on our shoulders only. We could count on the support of a strong board.

Errata  

  • On page 256, I refer to "our new companies" and I count on the reader to assume that these companies aren't related to iText. It could have clarified by writing "for the companies we founded after exiting iText Group" (reported by Paul Jowett).

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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