How is Raincode seen from an outside perspective?
For this 3rd edition of the newsletter “The People Behind”, we asked Bonnie Castello, friend of Raincode and fellow IT entrepreneur, her American point of view on this matter.
Charlotte: So, who are you, Bonnie?
Bonnie: ha ha! A lot of people have been trying to figure that out for a long time! I am quite similar to Darius, Raincode’s CEO, I guess. I am the head of an IT company that I started 32 years ago with a partner, in San Francisco, California. Our company specializes in helping clients to modernize their legacy systems. So that’s one facet of who I am… I was born in New York and moved to California, where I lived for many years. And now, I’m living in Las Vegas.
You said you’re helping your customers to modernize their legacy systems. How is that different from what Raincode does?
Good question. We build software that automatically parses and translates applications from a number of old languages, most of which are marketed by Computer Associates. We can automatically translate them into newer modern languages.
So we’re similar to Raincode in term of the technology. And I think this is why Darius and I became friends, because we share the same understanding of the problem that we’re trying to solve. Of course, we’re solving it for different reasons. Raincode is building compilers and different technologies to be licensed by the customer. We have built and are building our software to provide a service to our clients.
How did you two meet, by the way?
Actually, we met through a friend we have in common, whose name is Don Estes. So Don introduced Darius to my partner, at the time, many years ago at Forecross. Eventually I came to meet him and we’ve been friends ever since.
When was that?
Oh my gosh… maybe 15 years. A couple of years ago, my company was doing a project for the National Bank of Belgium, so I had to spend a lot of time in Brussels, which I loved. During this time, I got more of a chance to visit Darius, meet his family, so I’d say that in the recent years, we had more consistent contact. And every time he comes to the USA, he likes to come to Las Vegas or to California…
How would you describe Raincode from your position, from your company?
I think I see Raincode as having the most expertise of any vendor I know in parsing and compiling technology… I’d say it is because of the way Darius sees things. He has massive technical competence and he has attracted to Raincode so many people who are fearless, inventive and who enjoy the challenge of building something others might think impossible. But he also brings a very practical, real world business approach to the technology that Raincode develops. It’s a combination of extreme knowledge in Raincode’s area of expertise plus a business sense. These two things you don’t see a lot together. I can name many companies that have excellent technical capability but no business sense. And I know companies that have achieved great success selling the worst technology on the planet! It’s rare to find both together. And to me, Raincode is unique because they have this.
Could you tell me more about how small companies from abroad, such as Raincode, are perceived in the USA?
I think that all small companies, whether they are US or European-based, are pretty much seen the same way. We have to work much harder to prove ourselves, that it’s more about size, which translates to staying power, than it is about location.
How do you see the Raincode’s atmosphere?
Darius and I sometimes talk about what he looks for in hiring people and what he considers to be important in terms of everybody feeling comfortable with the other members of the team. And that doesn’t mean that everybody must agree with one another, but that everybody must feel at ease in working together and being able to say : “You know, I don’t think that’s a good idea”, or being able to voice your opinion, even if other people may not agree. So that’s a positive atmosphere, I believe.