Mike Schudel is one of the co-founders of ServiceBox and our chief developer, and we thought it would be fun for you to meet him. He agreed to do a sit-down, and share some things about where he comes from, why he helped create ServiceBox, and where he sees the company going.
SB: Thanks for doing this Mike. Let’s start at the beginning…what’s your professional background? What experience do you bring to ServiceBox?
Mike: I’ve been working in the IT industry for 25 years now. Most of my experience is in consulting…understanding the problems my clients face and proposing solutions to make their jobs easier and more efficient. I’ve worked in a bunch of different industries, in government, life insurance, travel insurance, oil and gas, etc., which is great, because the variety of experiences allowed me to see how different industries problem solve, and enabled me to bring all those different techniques into one organization.
SB: What’s your role at ServiceBox?
Mike: I’m a co-founder with Jon Clifford, CIO, solution architect, lead programmer, sometimes book keeper, sometimes HR person, etc etc. Being a small startup requires founders to wear a variety of hats and this has been probably the biggest challenge as well as the greatest joy in this adventure. Working as an IT consultant for so many years, I learned how to do that job inside and out. Now I’m having to learn about how to manage people, work with customers, help out with corporate growth strategies, and so on. It’s been exciting!
SB: How did you meet Jon Clifford, and what made you want to create your own service software company? And which of those two things came first?
Mike: I met Jon Clifford many years ago working at one of my best jobs ever at TMC. This was a medium sized consulting company in Regina that was a pleasure to work for. Jon was, I believe, at the time a university student working there. He approached me with an idea then about doing a wedding/event planning web site. We worked on it a bit but I ended up moving to Edmonton and that, coupled with the fact that the cloud really didn’t exist at the time, meant that the opportunity just wasn’t right. Years later, I had moved back to Regina and Jon asked me to help him out with a little field service management app that he wanted to build for a friend of his. We both saw the opportunity to market this to other companies and Jobbox Software was born.
SB: Right, and “Jobbox” eventually grew into what we now call “ServiceBox.” Now I know a parent should never admit to liking one kid more than the rest, but is there an aspect of ServiceBox that you like the most, or take special pride in?
Mike: I’d have to say the dispatcher mode of the scheduler has a special place with me. Early on, Jon and I were trying to bring companies into ServiceBox and we met with a company in Regina to see if we could get them to buy in. At the time we just had the week view of the calendar with all the scheduled slots mashed together. They were lukewarm on it, but during the meeting their dispatcher showed us how she organized work for their techs on a cork board with one column per employee. That evening, I went home and created a proof of concept for the dispatcher mode, we sent a screen shot of the new mode for the scheduler, got a second demo appointment with them, and sold the product. It was our first big company, 20 users.
SB: In terms of development, what direction would you like ServiceBox to go? What features would you like to see added to the platform?
Mike: There’s a few things I’m excited about for the immediate future. One is checklist improvements. This is our next priority in the system, to make them more robust and usable by our clients. I’m also looking forward to re-writing the printing of quotes, invoices and work orders to make them more robust and customizable.