Some say that an idea by itself is worth nothing. I sort of agree with this statement. We share ideas all the time, but most of them remain … just an idea.But when a raw idea is transformed into a vision, supplied with the solid technical foundation, a lot of will-power and hard work, only then will this wild idea have a chance to become a reality.
Several years ago, Hamid shared his big idea with me. It was cool, but at that time I wasn’t fully convinced on how to implement it in the best way. Even though he had a couple of prototypes, it wasn’t clear what problem this technology was trying to solve. It was like trying to boil an ocean.
After spending some time brainstorming and prototyping, it occurred to me that this idea had no future in its current form. So, I dropped it, but not completely, since it sparked another set of ideas, mostly around the building blocks and technologies. Ideas that I implemented as open source projects on GitHub.
Hamid was much more persistent with his grand vision. A couple of years after our initial attempt, he approached me again and presented me with a refined vision.
In the data visualization area, there are several major problems that many companies are trying to solve:
- Performance – how to display complex dashboards quickly?
- Latency – how to present this data real-time?
- Integration – how to connect to the client’s data with minimal configuration and coding?
- Rapid development – how to build solutions as fast as possible?
- Price – how to make all this affordable even by the small companies
Well, the last point might not apply to the titans of this business – usually, they are after the big contracts, but this good news for the small fish like us.
We believed that we had an answer to all these questions. So, we formed a partnership and spent the next several months working nights and weekends to prototype, brainstorm and implement a proof of concept for the first step – achieving the near, real-time performance on a set of complex queries over the large set of data using the standard SQL Server.
And it worked! It worked so well, we started building other components around the data engine, always keeping an eye on our five goals.
These days people expect a polished, smooth and fast UX and it takes great talent to make it happen. We were lucky to convince Renato, another friend who is a great UI / UX engineer, to join us and help to make our product not only work fast but to look amazing as well.Over time, we built both a great product and a great, diverse team of the highly energetic and highly motivated engineers. And this was not an easy task considering that that team is geographically dispersed over three continents, six countries, and numerous time zones :).
So, you can imagine the pride and joy we felt seeing a major healthcare company presenting a solution built on a top of our product at an annual summit they hold for all their clients!
The solution that we built from ground up, starting from designing a very complex database schema, defining a middle tier and presenting a fast, fluid web interface with a set of complex views, dashboards, forms, server-side activities and many more UI features. And now imagine that all this work has been done without a single line of code and in less than three months!
So, if you tell me that ideas are worth nothing, I would say that an idea will cost a lot of hard work, constant pressure and lack of sleep, but it’s damn satisfying to see the results!
It is totally worth it.