Simon Taylor is president of Comtrade Software, which provides IT infrastructure management solutions. The company is headquartered in Boston, with offices in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Slovenia.
One of my very first jobs, when I was in my late teens, early 20s was being a 401k representative, essentially a call center representative, at a Boston-area financial services company. I started that position in 2000, and was there during 9/11. I was taking calls from people who were losing their pension plans and were seeing the markets get devastated as a result of a horrible tragedy and that horrible day. It really shook me up.
I saw as a very young person a lot of individuals lose a tremendous amount of money simply because they were afraid and simply because of all the horrible things that were happening around them. They wanted their money out of the market and they wanted to put it under the mattress. That was very difficult, it was a painful experience, but it really inspired me to want to make a move to an industry that was a little bit more tangible, an industry that was involved in creating products that actually supported people and supported businesses
The company did a tremendous job of doing their best to help these individuals, but it was one of the most difficult times for the marketplace. The stock market crashed so suddenly and had come off that massive late '90s peak. The general public was not really ready to deal with it psychologically. We all did everything we could to keep people from moving their money from the market but a lot of people make that decision regardless.
That was a fundamental shift for me. I realized I wanted to be building stuff, to help get rid of that sense of powerlessness. I've ended up running a software company where we do just. We build back-up and monitoring software that actually goes into people's companies and data centers and protects them from outages and protects them from loss.
There's an interesting symbiosis that has occurred in my life between that initial shock that I underwent so early in my career and what I've ended up actually doing, which is building back-up recovery. If you think about what backup and monitoring software is, it's about up time. It's about business continuity. It's about regardless of what's happening in the world, making sure that your data and your business is up and running 24/7. What I see there is that sort of full circle of my first job being entirely driven by market forces and my current position being about offering up technology products that provide the value of business continuity.