Q&A with Dean Guida, Infragistics President & CEO

DevToolsGuy / Thursday, December 12, 2013

We sat down with Infragistics President and CEO, Dean Guida, to chat about the year in review, how Infragistics got its start, and where it's headed in the future. Read on!

Looking back, 2013 has been a really great year for Infragistics – How does that make you feel?

It feels great! It's great to be a part of this awesome team. And things just keep getting better. One million developers in our community and one million people using our enterprise mobility products – these two achievements alone would be enough to make it a great year, but on top of that, being recognized as the number one component vendor by the IDC makes it extra special.

One million community members. That's a lot of developers! What are the benefits of such a robust community?

First off, to be able to help that many people with our software is great. We love being able to help developers take their apps to the next level. We take enormous pride in our customer satisfaction – I think our most recent survey said that 94% of our customers would "delightfully recommend our product" – and that's huge.

Secondly – and most importantly – our community provides us with the chance to improve. We know that success stems from growth, and that's where our community comes in. We take it all into consideration and encourage everyone to participate. We want to hear it all: product feedback, industry trends, what's happening in software development around the world – they help us understand the needs of the market, and without them we could never be as successful or have such great products.

How has being named the number one component vendor impacted Infragistics?

It feels good for sure. We started out by building user interface controls for Windows 2.0. Now, I'm pretty sure a lot of people on our team now were even around then, let alone writing software! But since then, for the past 25 years, we've been building UI components. That's a long time! So it's very gratifying to be recognized by one of the largest analyst firms out there.

You've been at this development thing for a while - how did you get into this field? You've been doing this your whole life, essentially.

Yeah – believe it or not, I've been working since I was a kid! In high school, I worked at a TGI Friday's to save up money for a car. I did everything you could: cook, busboy, waiter, all of it. I had finally saved up $4,500, but instead of buying that car, I took that $4,500 and bought a computer. An IBM PC ii 360k drive, a real top of the line IBM PC! I'll never forget it. I fell in love with that device. I loved the sound of it, I loved writing code for it - I loved everything about it.

So as I started writing more software for it, I went on to school to study engineering. When I was in school, I was in the work study program getting paid $3 an hour, where I wrote the code for an $8 million payroll system for the University of Miami. My boss there told me it couldn't be done, but I told him it didn't matter if it couldn't be done, he was only paying me $3 an hour! But once I did that, I knew I was in love with technology. I graduated from school and became a freelance consultant, writing software on Wall Street and other large enterprises, and then I was able to turn that passion into Infragistics when I was 23 years old.

Where did the idea of "Infragistics" come from?

Well the idea was already there. I had merged my company with my competitor at the end of October 2000, right in the middle of the big dot com era. So it was hard to find an available URL that wasn't being squatted on. But what it really comes down to is the two parts of the word: "infra" meaning infrastructure, and "gistics" meaning enabling. We are infrastructure enablers. If you view the user experience and interface as the infrastructure, it's our goal to enable that great user experience.

What do you think makes development so popular?

You know, building software is such a fun, intellectual and creative process. It's a process where you can dream up something, write the code for it, and see it happen instantly. That's very gratifying. It's an exciting process where you get to be an inventor, but you don't need a lot of capital or resources. All you need is the hardware to create it on, time, and creativity. It's very fluid and meaningful to be able to think of something, create it, test it, and there you have it.  I think that's why it's really flourishing, because it's so rewarding.

So what do you think is the next big thing in development?

Really, I think technology will become more invisible. People and their experiences are more connected than ever, so as they evolve together, the software that connects us to each other and our experiences and our work will continue to evolve and be more seamless.

The next big thing will be new ways to get people the information when and where they need it, and not having to work so hard to get it. It's part of everyone's lives now, but it's only going to be more important in the future.

So does that tie in to what's in store for Infragistics in 2014?

Definitely, I think we have a few really great things on the horizon – one being the ability to design great experiences with Indigo Studio. The ability to have an idea, meet with stakeholders, to take that conversation and those requirements and build out a real experience and testing it on a native device is huge. So we're working on improving the ability to produce code assets from that. You can do that now, but it's going to be even better.

In addition, Enterprise Mobility is another area we're working really hard in. We're already delivering solutions for people who have a lot of information and resources locked up in the enterprise, and need to securely push that data out to their devices – documents, social streams, analytics, everything. We're enabling the mobile workforce. Mobility is more than just going to a coffee shop, it's going from conference room to desk, meeting to board room. It's being able to access your data and work with it everywhere. That's going to become even more important as we move forward. It's an exciting time for Infragistics, I'm excited for what's in store!

To learn more about Infragistics, visit www.infragistics.com – and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates!