20 Years, 20 Stories – 1996: And so it begins…

Author Bio

Author Bio

I find it extraordinary to believe it’s 20 years since Confirmit (then Future Information Research Management) first began. As one of the very first members of the team, though, it falls to me to kick off our “20 Years, 20 Stories” series which Henning introduced.

Our founder, Bjorn Haugland, started FIRM in mid-1996 based on his idea to develop a new approach on online Market Research. Towards the end of the year, my colleague Espen and I began working on turning his vision into reality. I’d like to make this sound glamorous, but in reality it meant working day and night for the remainder of 1996 and throughout all of 1997 – and in fact, pretty much ever since! Getting involved right at the beginning, though, was exhilarating and there was a real sense that we were building something very solid and very special.

One of the things that made all those late nights and lost weekends so worthwhile at the time was that we knew we were in this for the long haul. Having a long-term commitment to work changes your perspective on how a job should be done, and completely overrides the temptation to cut corners or do things the easy way rather than the right way. There’s a quote in this article which sums it up nicely:

 “If you’re going to stick around for decades, you’re better off making investments in things that’ll pay off for a very long time. It applies both to software and peopleware.”

I’m not sure if I knew at the time that I’d still be here, working on that same (though tremendously evolved) technology, a full 20 years later, but I suspect I did. I’m certainly glad that we took the long-term approach in our development or we’d never have been able to build the world-leading solutions we deliver today.

What might have surprised me is how many of those people who were by my side way back in those very early years would still be here to celebrate our 20th anniversary. There are still a dozen or so “pre-2000ers” at Confirmit and a huge proportion of the team has been here for over a decade. Having people with us for so long continues that commitment that began back in 1996.

Throughout this series, many of them will be telling their stories, not only of how things have changed, but how they see things moving forward in the future.

Almost everything has changed over the last 20 years. We have offices and customers around the world. The Confirmit Horizons platform has been transformed into more than we could have ever imagined with mobile, text and social analytics, beacon technology, and more delivering a level of insight that is mind-boggling now, let alone back in 1996!

One thing has not changed. The fierce commitment in our organization to deliver exceptional solutions and service to our clients. And that won’t change in the next 20 years, either.