REVSYS is 16 today
Well, technically, it's 21 years old, but it got held back 5 years. I was still employed at The World Company / Sunflower Broadband, the company that was the 2nd cable model ISP in the US and ultimately released the Django web framework. I did some consulting on the side and a few clients needed me to be a "company" and not just "some guy".
It wasn't super expensive to register or cumbersome at tax time, so I started working to find a name. I grabbed some ice cream with the then marketing director of Linux Professional Institute to help me come up with a decent name. I had recently watched the documentary RevolutionOS and floated using revolution in the name somehow. We settled on "Revolution Systems", which we eventually shortened to REVSYS for branding purposes.
So it was registered in 2002, but I left my corporate job to focus on it full time on May 5th, 2007. I put in my notice and it just so happened to line up with Cinco De Mayo so the customary after work drinks leaned toward tequila.
The early days
I wouldn't recommend starting a business just before a major recession. The Great Recession hit in December 2007 just a few months later and I barely survived it. However, once the economy started to pick back up after the initial shock wore off it was a feast of work as everyone had some budget, work to do, but were still in a hiring freeze so contracting was their only option.
After maybe a year, Jacob Kaplan-Moss also had left the World Company and wondered if I wanted to share an office. I had been working from home and coffee shops and didn't really feel like I needed or wanted an office but it was a reasonable price so we did it.
Soon after that Jacob joined me in REVSYS as a partner and I switched our focus from Perl/PostgreSQL/Ops consulting to Python/Django/PostgreSQL/Ops consulting.
Funny story about how that happened. Rikki Endsley was my editor at SysAdmin and LinuxPro magazines at the time and she asked me to write up an interview with Jacob about the creation of the Django Software Foundation and a brief tutorial on Django.
So I had to learn Python and Django for the article and I quickly realized it was soooooo much better than the tools I was using in the Perl world (some of which I had personally written hahaha) that I essentially immediately switched.
We operated just the two of us for a while and eventually hired Jeff Triplett as Employee #1. We made Jeff a partner in REVSYS in 2019.
We followed up that smart hiring decision with LOTS of smart hiring decisions to the team that you can find here.
While at a PyCon dinner, a long time friend asked if we "still primarily do rescue projects". I hadn't thought about it much, but we do actually take on a LOT of rescue projects.
Rescuing a project with bad performance, stability, or both.
Rescuing a project from the clutches of a team of ineffective programmers.
Rescuing a project's deadline by bringing a lot of senior developer velocity.
Rescuing projects isn't all we do, there are plenty of projects that are greenfield or even legacy projects that are in need of some help but don't really qualify as a "rescue" in my mind.
Some examples of our more interesting previous projects:
- Sony corporate homepage for a few years
- Keep CashStar from crumbling on Cyber Mondays
- Optimizing tasks into the queues of expensive proprietary software systems to allow the client to maximize their use of the expensive product (Cirrus Logic, Boston University, etc)
- Helping set the architecture of eMoney's foray into cloud based Django microservices and doing quite a bit of the ops and development
- Game for Netflix's German speaking market that was played by over 750k people over a weekend
- Help RueLaLa with a high-performance inventory caching expiration issue
- Integrating several POS systems into a cohesive whole for beer gardens with multiple vendors for a company named Porter
- Building and refreshing Python.org itself for the PSF
- Hosted DjangoBirthday when Django turned 10 in Lawrence
- Lots of Django upgrades for clients. Some relatively easy. Some insane. (Don't hack up the ORM internals ok)
- Tons of Python/Django/Kubernetes performance-related projects
Some of our current projects include:
- Politifact.com (the Liar Liar Pants on Fire people)
- Custom system for an event promotion company to track concert events they promote. Which is far more complicated than you may realize.
- Oil pumpjack inspection and repair tracking software
- Rewriting a popular Open Source library project website
- An interesting EdTech product that smartly uses ChatGPT in a way that truly helps students learn
- Business simulations at The Wharton School
- Helping to optimize 2TBs of dairy cow data in a heavily used mission critical app (if you're into milk and cheese in North American anyway). It's an older legacy code base that we've been helping modernize and optimize to improve it's resiliency and reduce infrastructure costs.
We also help a lot of companies improve their DX (Developer Experience) to be able to achieve vastly more efficient development by identifying and removing all of the small barriers that get in the way of your developer's day. Sometimes it's code or CI related, often it's people and process related.
Our experience as consultants allows us to have a razor sharp wide angle lens of what will and won't work for the current team and the project at hand. Each situation is a bit different, but the results we achieve on those sorts of projects are often surprising to everyone involved!
New Consulting Products
Are you still reading this? Wow you must really like us! While I have you then...
If you're interested we are working on a couple new consulting product packages. Specifically:
1 or 2 week Python/Django testing consulting and development. If you currently have some tests, we'll super charge them and lend our experience in making them easier to write and faster to run.
If you aren't currently testing your code programatically, we'll get you set up and going.
One of the best value-for-money aspects of working with us is to have us design your high-level architecture (tech choices, database schema design, etc.) in a way that does not force you to build for the scale you won't have in the first few years but MAY need down the road and make those changes easier when the time comes.
An architecture sprint can easily save your team several developer MONTHS of going down bad roads with good intentions.
Have one of our amazing writers (who are also senior devs) help put in place a good documentation set up for your project to accelerate your internal development or ease customers using your products.
If you have questions or an idea for something you think we might be able to help you with reach out, it's quite possible we can help just haven't thought to advertise it as a service we provide.
No big finish here. 16 years has been a wild ride and thankfully, I don't see this ride ending any time soon.
Heartfelt thanks to all of our employees, customers, and tech community friends for making all of this even possible.