Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Opposite Ends of the Country (and beyond)

It has been a busy September at Firebrand. After a surprisingly busy two weeks in August performing demos and talking with potential customers, followed by a couple of weeks off with my family, September hit with several new additions to the Firebrand Community. Literally from opposite ends of the country and beyond.

Hailing from Oahu, we welcome Kamehameha Publishing, who has adopted our full Title Management software and Eloquence Metadata Solutions for Onix XML. Kamehameha Publishing is part of Kamehameha Schools, one of the largest private schools in the country - with thousands of students from Preschool to 12th grade. Publishing books on Hawaiian history and culture, Kamehameha sees opportunities to build their publishing program and broaden their reach. Title Management and Eloquence will become the foundation for this initiative. And do you think there was a bit of a struggle as to who would manage this project?

From the opposite end of the country, a bit closer to home hailing from Cape Cod, we welcome Paraclete Press to our Firebrand Community. Paraclete is an established publisher of Catholic books and has joined onto the ECPA Title Management Web program, to take advantage of Firebrand's Eloquence service. Paraclete was setup and trained rapidly on Eloquence - within a couple of days - and is now prepping their Spring 2009 list to be sent via Onix.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, who has joined on for our Eloquence services. Based in the center of Athens(Greece, not Athens, NY or Athens, VT), the school will be sending Eloquence title information for their published works.

Welcome Firebrandz!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Almost There! Title Management Version 7

Our major new Title Management Release 7 is just about ready..after months and months (and months) of work. In August, several of us on the Firebrand team met offsite to frame out the next several releases of the software, beyond 7.0. Due to the breadth of our functionality, migrating functions to the .Net browser based application is a huge task, and this version represents a major effort in that direction. Clients coming on board will be using the version 7 web applications almost exclusively - including the all new Production Scheduling with alerts, combined schedules across projects and titles and all the other stuff we have been demonstrating. Versions 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 then map out the migration of other key functions such as catalogs, publicity and more.

It is no easy feat performing a major architecture upgrade on so much software, while supporting backwards compatibility with existing clients. We are so committed to staying current on technology, that we are absorbing the pain (and excitement) of this migration. The last thing we want to be is a company with software on an 'old' platform.

Interestingly, this spirit is exactly what led me to leave a new career at Andersen Consulting to join Firebrand in December 1990. Fran, Susan and team at the time were developing Windows based business applications against relational SQL databases (Gupta SQLBase back then).

That was early...The now famous story is told over and over - while training new users at Simon & Schuster on our applications we first needed to teach users how to use a mouse - 'Please slide it on the desk, don't wave it in the air'.