In 2001 I returned to South Africa after a 5 year stint in the UK. Charles Teversham and I had become great friends in London and played hockey together there. He had returned a year earlier than me but we had talked of working together when I got home. So when I got back and started a software consulting business I was lucky enough to be given a sawn-in-half desk covered in ants in the garage that Gary and Charles had already hatched a few businesses in. This was a new beginning for me. Nearly 11 years on, Alchemex is being given its place in the global Sage group; a new beginning for all of us.
Alchemex is a derivation from the word ‘alchemy’ (turning metal into gold) and is intended to mean turning data into information with Excel! But there was another reason that we chose this name. The book “The Alchemist” was top of mind at the time and those who have read this Paulo Coelho novel will remember it is about Following Your Dreams. We dreamt of owning our own business and this is what Alchemex was about.
In 2005 Alchemex’s first big dream came true. Softline Pastel called and asked if we could be in Johannesburg the next day to demo to Steve Cohen and his R&D team. The next day we shook hands with Steve to integrate into Pastel Accounting. I will never forget that at the time that we got the call I was teaching one of our staff how to put a plug on a computer cable. That’s how small we were but Steve and Softline believed in us because we believed in ourselves.
In 2009 the dream went global with the signing of the North American distribution agreement. But we still kept dreaming. Now in October 2011 a massive dream has come true and we should all be proud of where we have got to.
So Alchemex was more than a company – it was about following our dreams. Let’s keep it that way. Let’s dream that Alchemex can be the star of the Sage Group and for the Sage Business Intelligence product to become one of the greatest pieces of software ever. But let’s also dream for ourselves. With the big brother Sage now close at our side the opportunity for career growth and personal success has become massive. Dream that Alchemex can be the place that you want to come to work at every day and let us make that happen.
I am grateful for the love and support that exists within Alchemex too and how everyone’s personalities complement each other. If Gary and Charles could teach a catastrophic pessimist to dream big anything is possible. After Sage Summit in Las Vegas I am proud to wear the Alchemex symbol on my arm – tattooed there forever! Whenever I see it I will remember that we can make dreams come true.