|Volume 1: No. 03|
Colston Sanger (firstname.lastname@example.org) is willing to share his experience with GID, a software engineering, UNIX and open systems consulting firm nominally headed by Professor Manny Lehman of Imperial College, London. (Manny is retired now.) GID is also extending into GIS and visualization, document image processing, groupware HCI, and network management. Colston and others are essentially still a startup: self-funded, keeping overheads to an absolute minimum. He strongly recommends forming a confederation with others to share costs and help each other out.
Working from home is not a problem, but you really need good connectivity: e-mail, network news, phone, fax, answering machine. Also a proper office chair with back support, which is much more important than a fancy desk. [See the April Spectrum for suggested workstation layout. If the chair has arms, make sure your elbows don't rub when you type. A hot water bottle makes a great footstool in Winter, and with a lap robe you hardly need to heat the house. -- KIL]
At an office, letters just get posted, copies just get done. As an independent, queuing behind all the old codgers at the post office is really irksome. Going out to the copyshop and finding it closed for lunch is also exasperating. But Colston enjoys the exercise.
Marketing is a problem. So is image. You have to look bigger than you are, and feel as if you mean to be around for the long haul. You can't get away with just b/w laser print on Conquerer stationery. GID invested in graphic design by a friend. [After a friend gives you a discount, can you reject the design? Beware especially of low-cost legal advice from relatives and their friends; it may be less than a best effort, or an ego trip outside the giver's area of expertise. -- KIL]