We are like a bit like a band where everyone plays the guitar and I am the only one on vocals.
Hi! I am Simon and I have been running c-Seven since 1998, but have been on the internet much longer. What started off as an interest in programming and BBS boards in the late 80’s grew into an obsession in the late 90’s, which ultimately turned into my career.
Over the past 24 years we have helped clients from all different walks of life from individuals to corporations and not-for-profits.
To be honest I have no real qualifications to do what I do except for my real-life experiences.
My story is not a typical one.
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As a teenager my parents hid the wires to the modem on me as they didn’t want me tying up the phone lines (kids today won’t know this problem) and were suspicious of what I was up to. I ended up dropping out of high school at an early age to pursue my hobbies and moving out on my own.
After my house burned down in the mid nineties (not my fault, even the psychic below me didn’t see it coming 🙂 ), I went back to high school. In my keyboard class, I ended up spending more time repairing the computers (with very little former knowledge) than actual keyboarding. In the desktop publishing course (previous name for graphic design), I scored a 101% in the class and was finished the class half way through the semester and was teaching others how to do what I felt the most basic of tasks. By comparison in English I got a 63% as I couldn’t care less about Shakespeare.
During this time I also did an internship with a dial-up internet service provider (you kids today don’t know the struggle). What seemed to be a bad accident when I broke my leg skateboarding, turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I was forced to sit in front of a computer for 6 months. During that time I taught myself Photoshop, html/css/ bit of js, 3d and more. After high school was over, my parents said I could now go to college, to which my response was “slow down”. My philosophy was that in order to learn this stuff in school, a teacher had to learn it first, so by the time they are teaching it to me, it is already slightly dated technology.
Following the internship, I went to work for a larger dial up service provider doing technical support. My training was “there is the phone, when it rings, answer it and try and help the customer.” I eventually became a supervisor and built tools for the other techs to help them do their job better. These efforts led me to be part of the application development team the company put together. My boss was full of bad ideas and my honesty was too much so I ended up going back to the tech support role while they churned through developers getting someone to do as they were told.
While still in my tech support role, I started getting requests to build sites for others and also had packaged up my tech support tools into a product and pitched it to a couple telco’s. They all wanted it, but for free and said I could give it to them for the exposure (see cartoon here about exposure). The company I was working for went under a year after being acquired which led me to just work for myself full time.
In 2001 I started my own content management system call Mantis as I was tired of making text edits for people and not much else like it existed at the time (coincidentally WordPress started the same year). What started off as a text editor in Flash Technology (if you missed this era then lucky you), grew into a suite of online tools used by hundreds of website. We had a sweet office downtown, but after I bought a house and had to start to commuting (a whopping 20 minute drive), I began to rethink the setup. My whole team basically sat there with headphones on and I was getting more work done at home than at the office due to a variety of factors. When the lease came up and their raised the rent substantially, the only thing to get over was my ego (as it was a really nice office).
After doing work for an adoption agency (I am also adopted) in 2010 and almost dying :|, the cause hit very close to home and I felt like I realized my path and purpose in life. Helping empower people through technology to get more awareness for what they do and serve their audience better is something I can contribute to society and I am good with that. Granted we do get paid for our time, there is something to be said about having passion for what it is you do and seeing through the lens of the same people you are trying to help.
In 2018, we stopped developing Mantis as WordPress had clearly won the race and many of my earlier concerns about it had been alleviated.
In 2020, the world changed and so did c-Seven. I decided we were no longer going to offer things like design or content creation because I knew people who could do 100% better than we could and design is very subjective. We like to just stick to the programming (cause it either works or does not work) and more importantly the consulting. I am am less of a consultant and more of a web therapist. The repeated sentiment I get is that I bring the calm to the table.
In 2022 we hired one of longtime design agency clients to rebrand us as I feel they knew us better than we know ourselves (let me know if you want an intro). Now that our site reflects who we are, I feel can write about things more honestly and actually enjoy writing. Wonder how I would score in English class today haha.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully I didn’t talk myself out an opportunity, just being honest about who I am and who you would be working with. Let me know if you ever need anything!
Fun facts about me
If I can raise 2 kids and keep my wife happy, I think I can handle your website needs 🙂
Skateboarder for over 30 years
Skateboarding has given me so much, I try to give back when I can. I sit on the board for the Toronto Skateboarding Committee and try to help get parks built in under served areas. I have learned a lot from skateboarding over the years. Checkout this article I wrote on it.
While I love all animals, my place is only so big so we have 2 cats and a dog whom are all rescues.
Why learn it in school if there is a Youtube video or Udemy course on it. Over the years I have taught myself photography, videography, audio production, hardware building, microcomputing (Raspberry Pi), 3d creation/printing, drone piloting and more (none of which we offer).
Carpenter (Thanks YouTube)
I gave up Netflix for about a year and only watched how-to videos and ended up building quite a lot of stuff. Thanks YouTube
#1 Iron Maiden Fan
I think Iron Maiden may be the greatest band ever. I have seen them 7 times and will see them again. There is a lot you could learn from this band so I wrote an article on it which you can read here.
I wear glasses and like technology which technically makes me a nerd. If you call yourself a name with pride, it lessens the effect when others call you it.
The rest of the team
No recruiters, I am not giving you their names and phone numbers 🙂 We take our employees’ privacy and mental health seriously. This industry is pretty brutal, and I have seen it break project managers and programmers alike. The phrase “the customer is always right”, does not apply to the web. We are firm believers in our corporate culture and do not tolerate yelling or beratement of our staff. Over the years I found the best way to manage the expectations is for the clients to deal with me directly.
But since you asked here is some a bit about the team and why you deal with me.
Ang is not his real name, but if you think you are changing the spec he is going to be angry. Often abrasive in his approach, he brings the questions to the table that nobody else asks or people don’t want to hear, but need to. To make sure nobody’s feelings are hurt, I translate this into non-fighting words.
Tim is not his real name, but he is a bit timid. Amazing hardworking programmer but not the most social butterfly and is uncomfortable around clients so we just keep them away to keep him happy.
Alec (more like smart-alec)
You get where this is going. Amazing programmer, but dude… you can’t say these types of things to customers.
Look into my mind...
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