I was the technology director at an empirical research center. I loved my job, like quite a bit. Everything we were doing was fun and refreshing and rewarding. Heck, I designed the modernized version of the Supreme Court Database (supremecourtdatabase.org). Tech work in the academic space doesn't get much sexier than that. We were working on some very cool stuff. Then one semester, at the request of my dean, I agreed to work on a system that could modernize the scheduling process for our school, and everything changed.
That initially small and seemingly innocuous request turned into a multi-year, multi-resource Everest that quickly became the most daunting project I ever participated in after more than two decades of I.T. work. There may have been a few panic attacks and more than a few missed dinners with the family in the mix, but in the end, we summited.
I don't know when it occurred to me that the only part of my job I enjoyed was the goal of perfecting this scheduling system. While obsession isn't the perfect word, it is probably the closest that describes my state. I merely became obsessed with creating the best answer to this problem. My family saw this. My co-workers saw this. And in time my superiors saw this. So my decision to leave my university post to start a company around this technology came as a surprise to exactly zero people. From minute one, I was nothing short of giddy at being able to devote 100% of my time to perfecting what we had started.
Our first decisions to date:
1. Re-branding from something that had been boringly known as the scheduler to ofCourse Scheduling.
2. Forming a hand-picked dream team of early principals that could jettison us into the next stratosphere.
3. Figuring out how to put a full-time shoulder to make it all better.
Now we have multiple, diversely skilled minds percolating on the possibilities. The whiteboards are filled edge to edge with colorful awesomeness, AND these proposed modifications are to a system that has already been building production schedules for better than seven years and is by all accounts already quite spectacular.
There is so much more to our origin story, but there is no time to share it now. There are more pressing and exciting matters to tend to at the moment. But one day, perhaps even in this newsletter, we will have time to go into the curious and textured history of this initially modest endeavor.
Regardless, I hope you are one of the fortunate ones that get to drive the Tesla of scheduling systems. As you can imagine, it's a memorable and gratifying ride.
As always, see you on the scheduling pitch.
August 10, 2016