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18 YEARS – FROM HONEYDEW TO THE WORLD

John

18 years ago today, I walked to our desk in the warehouse section of our good friends at E-Bis and the J2 Software journey officially began. Our young adult now has locations in multiple cities and service 600+ customers on 4 continents. When I think about it all I can say is that I am grateful.

Guided by a passion to Get Stuff Done and change the way people viewed security (it wasn’t called #cybersecurity back then) to help protect our customer’s information and prevent insider risks. It was going to be easy…… ah the naivety.

April 2006 when I proudly walked into that warehouse area armed with 2 laptops, a laser printer and a 3G data card the size of my left hand. Jason still had a month’s notice to complete at his previous employer so it would be a few more weeks before we got to share that desk and 3G card to get our message out to the world.

Jason and I would talk on the telephone after-hours as the first days flew by. Those were great times, difficult times, exciting ties. We were freezing in winter and melting in summer.

Driving in panic to Vereeniging for damage control as we learned by doing and boy did we do some celebrating on every win.

Back then we had customers who bought from us just so that they could stop people going to Facebook or playing Farmville and watching YouTube at work. It was a completely different time that feels like a 100 years ago, not only 18. The world has changed so much.

Today 18 years later, I proudly sit in my office in our London base. The world is new, cyber threats have changed and the risk is higher than ever. We have a brilliant, diverse team that always chases our goals of Getting Stuff Done (#GSD), over-servicing our customers and making a genuine difference in the daily operations of our customers and partners. We are well on our way to being truly global.

We have huge and scary goals for the drive to our 21st birthday and as they say, if your goals don’t scare you a little, then they are not big enough. We are consistently growing our team, and this is not going to change. I am driven to not only help the business grow, but to provide real value to our team. Our team are a group of extraordinary people who do extraordinary things every day. Just speak to one of our customers and they will confirm this. Thank you to each and every single person who has been a part of this journey. Hang on, the ride is not over yet.

My excitement to “go to work” remains the same as it was on Day 1 and the passion to build a global cyber security focused technology business, with roots in South Africa and branches around the world is still burning stronger than ever.

Birthdays give you a time to reflect and through all the setbacks, challenges, successes and losses, we saw multiple global recessions and a worldwide pandemic. We often got wounded, with the scar tissue to remind us but I am so ridiculously proud of what J2 has achieved in 18 short years. J2 Software and our team are the epitome of #resilience. We will do everything in our power to not only continue to survive, we will thrive.

I remember every small victory and every single difficult decision. The stresses around cash flow and gut-wrenching difficulties through chemotherapy and radiation. Every one of these experiences made us as strong as we are today.

We have had some brilliant people work with us over the years, and I look forward to seeing how all the new team members grow with us into the future. Thank you to every single person that has come through J2’s doors – each person has given us something. Good and not-so-good! We have learnt from each person along the way, even that one who hung around for only three days and the other who was less than open about the truth. Every person has driven our business to where it is today. There is a lesson in every experience. If we are not winning, we are learning.

Our team as it is today, is unbeatable. Managed by superstars our security and support teams provide the highest level of service available anywhere in the world. Our sales team is growing and absolutely smashing their way through new markets by showing customers and partners how we can make environments more secure, if you haven’t spoken to them yet – you should. Our renewals and operations teams make sure that nothing is missed along the way and when there is a query, they have all the answers. This is brilliantly supported by a finance and administration team that do the work of an army. Thank you, I am so grateful for this exceptional team of people. 

Thank you to each one of our customers – we have customers of all sizes in so many geographies. The customers are not just some named businesses, we work with a brilliant set of people at these businesses. Many of which have become friends and even more that I have learn so much from through the years. I thank you for your support and the trust that you have given our team. Without all of you we know that we wouldn’t be able to continue. We are proud to support customers across four continents (give us some time, more to follow).

We have a wide range of suppliers and while the products may stay the same, the people on the other side are always changing. This keeps us on our toes, and we will continue to try and stay ahead of the pack with your support. In fact, challenge us to be better, be more, do more. Let’s do it together.

To my family, and the families of our entire team, thank you for the support and understanding over the years and I will continue to do my best to make you all proud of our combined achievements. To our investors, old and new, thank you for the belief and continued guidance.

I am forever indebted to Kimmo and David for giving us the space to start in 2006. Gerry for the advice and marketing lists and to Natalie, who came in on a temporary assignment 17 and half years ago and has proved to be so valuable that we cannot let her leave. EVER….

To the seasoned leaders in our current team. WOW, thank you. Roy, you have been a game changer, fast tracking my planning through a superhuman effort. Janice, the way you have grown over the last few years in the business and the amazing work you put in is impossible to describe in words. Our whole team should thank you every day for making things easy for all of us. Jarred, the quiet, humble tech guru – your work ethic is second to none and if Jarred cannot fix it, then it can’t be fixed. You are the rock that everybody leans on. Gareth, our security genius. It is always amazing hearing you talk so passionately about security. Your drive to get our customers secured is exemplary. Thank you for your guidance and strong messages.  Portia, your hard work and dedication, even in difficult times is so appreciated. From sitting at the desk to leading the technical help desk, exceptional work.

We have many shining stars and if we go through each of you here, I will run out of space. Each one has their own unique talents, and we look forward to continuing to develop these into the future. We are building something amazing.   

Finally, to Jason congratulations and thank you for taking the gamble with me all those years ago – look around and take a second to understand what J2 has managed to achieve. Thank you for the support and trust and I look forward to driving this bus into the future. We will have to have a virtual celebratory drink later; we are 18 and now we are allowed to 😊.

Happy birthday J2, our good-looking young adult. Have an excellent year.

Thank you everybody once again.  

John Mc Loughlin

Group CEO

J2 Software

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