“Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.”
We bought this Picture in an Exposition right when We began the JVSP Project
This story begins at the end of 2002. It is the story of my professional life over the last 14 years, closely linked to the company named Raccoon, a leading consultancy firm in the elearning industry in Spain, Mexico, and Colombia, which I founded on that date, and of everything about how I have arrived at the creation of JVSP, the company that we officially launched in June of 2017.
In the months immediately following the bursting of the dot.com bubble https://in.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble, a friend from the university got in touch with me to commission the development of the corporate webpage of his company, a project that gave birth to Raccoon. Immediately after carrying out a couple more projects, we started to have opportunities to develop web based software projects for the Human Resources areas of big companies.
I remember many anecdotes from those early days. There’s one that I’m especially fond of: we were about to sell our first “big” software project, an intranet, to a client with a lot of potential. The client wanted to see our offices to proceed with the signing. In those days, that office was a house I shared with my girlfriend, a house with two bedrooms and a living room in downtown Madrid. We were working at Raccoon, my close friend and consummate professional, Jacobo Guillén, and I. (Jacobo is now Utilities and Industry Sales Manager at VASS https://is.linkedin.com/in/jacoboguillen )
We went to IKEA, and bought 6 work tables—the famous GLASHOLM/FINNVARD model http://www.ikea.com/is/is/catalog/products/30221463/. We got back to my house and emptied everything out and stuffed all the furniture in the master bedroom. ALL OF IT.
Then, we put the 6 work stations together, made a sign for the door (which we stuck on with scotch tape) with the first Raccoon logo (it was horrible 😬) and six friends came with their computers to work that afternoon.
The client arrived and we showed him the office. We met in the room where Jacobo and I had our work spaces (we shared a desk), and the next day, the client confirmed the project. At night, the entire house was put together again and my girlfriend—who is now my wife—had no idea. Only one leg of one couch suffered a small mishap. Of course, Jacobo and I were exhausted by the end of the day.
From the beginning of this adventure, we worked with a Uruguayan engineer and the time came to go and visit the man who would later be one of the partners of the company, Martín Furno https://uy.linkedin.com/in/martinfurno. If I remember correctly, this was at the end of 2003. I will never forget sleeping on an inflatable mattress surrounded by the noise of our project servers (we already had several portals and intranets in place) while plugging a hole in the mattress with my butt to keep it from deflating.
Server room where I slept in Montevideo
By this time, we were working for some important companies like Bupa (NOTE: Never hire a client’s relative, no matter how close you are; you will end up short a friendship and short a client) Saint Gobain, Direct Line, Voith. I remember those days with mixed feelings; on the one hand, there was the satisfaction of making our own project grow, the trips, the freedom, and on the other, I remember the never-ending software projects, the fear of server crashes, or the meetings where I had to explain the inexplicable.
The learning began. To compete in software development, we needed project heads with experience, but at the same time, we couldn’t hire them; we didn’t have enough money.