Dreamers, shapers, singers, makers

As Lauri announced, our company is called Offbeat Solutions. But in the announcement, he also quoted Technomage Elric from Babylon 5 in a way that deserves a closer look.

“We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocation of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things.”

— Technomage Elric, in Babylon 5 episode “The Geometry of Shadows”

Never mind the lasers, scanners and holographic demons for a while. Let’s instead look at being a dreamer, shaper, singer and maker.

Any single part just won’t cut it

imageI believe these four bear an excellent link to successful technology consultancy – especially a forward-looking one. We practice them all, and they all link together to support one another.

We dream of a more productive, more straightforward way to solve problems with software. We feel the future, and we have an idea on how to wield it.

But future doesn’t come for free, so we shape it. We stay in contact with Microsoft, with open source circles, with software methodology evangelists, with business decision makers. We give them feedback from the field and test drive the next step.

True leaps happen within the community, and community needs leadership. Thus, we sing. Sharing our experience with our customers, competitors, fellow developers – not only it challenges us to become better, but also powers the innovation cycle and raises the IT business standards further.

And yet, it would all be for naught if we didn’t actually make it happen. Almost everything valuable in the software world is realized through actually working software. If we kept to a role of a philosopher, we’d bear less risk, but we’d also be irrelevant. Besides giving the real hands-on experience, it powers our dreams, thus restarting the cycle.

On competition

Some of the previous might seem like new age altruism to you. Where’s the business in sharing your findings? Won’t you give up the competitive advantage?

Yeah, sure. However, we have a broader view of the issue. It consists of these points:

  1. There is more than enough to do on the IT scene. No single deal really makes the difference.
  2. The main threat to IT business comes from software having excessive cost.
  3. The key way to drive down cost is to manage quality and productivity.
  4. For the last statement, having good people is pretty much the only real cure.
  5. Therefore, sharing information is not really all that critical (compared to the people).

But with that said, isn’t sharing information then fake charity, and building the community just an illusion?

No. First of all, people are not inherently good or bad developers. Good people grow within organizations driven for – and by – improvement. The stronger community we have, the more it pushes companies towards improvement in substance (instead of growth in numbers). Sharing information works here: It accelerates the growth and skill level of the community.

More good companies results in more good developers, and more good developers push down software cost, creating more and more opportunities. And finally, the more demanding customers we have, the more opportunities there are for the best of the market.

Of course, there’s no quick win here. But Offbeat Solutions feels that business success and money is a result of doing things right, and we are here to improve ourselves and have fun. If it produces results, so be it.

"The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage."

— Arie de Geus

August 18, 2010 · Jouni Heikniemi · 3 Comments
Posted in: Entrepreneurship, General

3 Responses

  1. Rod - September 28, 2020

    I am a dreamer, I leave the shaping to those I help. I love music and it's acrutments, yet do not wish to sing. I do enjoy making others more than they are

  2. Rom - April 2, 2021

    Such a great quote.

  3. khách sạn tình yêu - September 12, 2022

    First off I would like to say great blog! I had
    a quick question which I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself
    and clear your thoughts before writing. I've had a
    hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure
    out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Appreciate it!

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