Has it really been ten years since Jeff Prosise, Jeffrey Richter, Lewis Frazer, and I started Wintellect? No way! It really is true that when you’re having fun, time flies. When we started we had no idea we’d survive the Dot Com Crash, the Housing Bubble, and now the Great Recession. At the beginning we were scratching our heads about “Next Generation Windows Services” (AKA .NET) and now we’re doing it on Windows Phones. As a friend pointed out, ten years is like three lifetimes in the IT world.

What’s different about Wintellect is it’s a completely virtual company. We’ve got people scattered from Seattle, Washington, to New Hampshire, to Florence, South Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia and many places in between. A few folks work in our central office in Knoxville, TN, but the rest of us work in our bath robes out of our houses. A few go for clothing optional computing, but they shall remain nameless. At first I was really worried that it would be hard to build cohesion and community when all our interactions are through email, IM, and the occasional phone call. After a while we figured out something. If you hire truly outstanding people and get the hell out of their way, it all works out. Every year we get everyone together for a retreat and shove an entire year’s worth of screwing around into a four day period. I have to say it’s a highlight of the year for me because I laugh more in four days than I do all year.

Having dinner with my neighbor recently he congratulated me on being in business for ten years and asked me what I was most proud of. Back when we started the company I used to joke that you should always take a job where you are the dumb guy so you learn so I started a company where I’m the dumb guy. After ten years, I’m very proud to say I’m still the dumb guy. We’ve grown over seven orders of magnitude since we’ve started and every single person we’ve hired has brought phenomenal strength to the company that the four of us didn’t possess. Be that in marketing, HR, sales or technology, each person is that “A” level person you always trying to find. Hiring has always been a problem for us. We want those great people and are willing to wait until we find them to the point we’ve turned down work instead of settling for anyone less than a star. I love that I’m working harder than ever just to keep up.

Enough with me talking about my totally awesome coworkers how does our being in business ten years benefit you? Through free training at our T.E.N Event! (Tenth “anniversary” Educational .NET Event). On December 16th we’re offering three free 1.5 hour sessions on CLR & C#, Advanced Silverlight, and Advanced Breakpoints from Jeffrey Richter, Jeff Prosise, and me. The virtual training is limited and since Bethany sent out the original invites, we’re already 40% of capacity in less than a week so you need to sign up now in order to secure a space. Also, see Bethany’s post on free prizes (Devscovery 2011 passes, Amazon Gift Cards, and even a free Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate license) for tweeting with the #wintellect10. I suggest that you tweet that you got a spot in the free training with the #wintellect10 hash tag to make your friends jealous. As an added incentive to sign up we’ve partnered with cool folks at Syncfusion to give everyone that attends a free license for their excellent Silverlight Reporting Controls. Additionally, Syncfusion will be giving away two copies of their acclaimed Essential Studio Enterprise Binary Edition at the event.

We look forward to talking to you at the T.E.N Event and here’s to another ten years!