Jan 05 2005 Kelly Norton

This has been in the works for quite some time now, but I couldn’t say anything until the official public announcement was released. Connexxia, the company that I helped to found back in 2000, has sold to James Tower, Inc. up in sunny North Mankato, Minnesota. There is a press release over on their site, though I can’t link to it because they have one of those crappy Flash interfaces. For now it can be found on their site by clicking on the “Press” tab.

The terms of the agreement, which I know since I was still a shareholder at the time, still can’t be disclosed. I can pretty much just regurgitate what’s in that press release. They still plan to continue the services we provided and since they have lots of good overlap with their existing services, things could conceivably get better for the clients. Maybe their corps of developers can finish some of the cool things we were never able to reach. But, to be honest, I don’t really know what they have planned. I had left for MIT well before the serious negotiations began. I’m just glad that I’m in Boston now and not headed to North Mankato; I never want to live anywhere that sounds like it was named by Eskimos.

Connexxia Logo - designed in 200 by me, Peter and Shawn

I joined up with Peter Flur and Shawn Coyne back in 2000 to start Connexxia (I now use the phrase “helped to found” to describe my contribution because at some point I lost the title of founder for bad behavior or something). They had a great idea to use the web to help organizations maintain strong connections with their constituents and I was working at a technology consulting firm that seemed destined for failure. It wasn’t until a few months later that we decided to target colleges and universities first. Peter and Shawn set out looking for funding among friends, family and former business associates and I started writing the first version of the framework. At the same time, we were all working to officially found the company, put together research to support our business case, establish what exactly we would offer and to flush out the other thousand details necessary to get rolling. In that same period, Jim joined in the coding efforts and he and I hammered out the first full working prototype mostly over the few weeks before the first charter client went live. The next four years were made up of equal parts of excitement and frustration that ultimately made for a truly rewarding experience. I understand now why the only preparation for starting a company is actually doing it; so much of it depends on total confidence in your own insanity.

It will be interesting to see where Connexxia goes from here. The sell, as best I can tell, seems like a good thing for the company. But for a few of my former colleagues, who have decided they prefer the warmth of Atlanta to the frigid quiet of North Mankato, it means they will soon be out of a job. If anyone knows of any opportunities for some talented software developers, with a lot of real experience in hardcore .NET and TSQL, or for a talented system administrator, who single-handedly maintained the entire telcom infrastructure for Connexxia, please drop me an email.