Dave Aiello wrote, "On August 22, 1989, Chatham Township Data Corporation was officially incorporated. When I look back at what I wrote at this time last year, the depths of the decline in the information technology business are brought home to me."
"How can I talk about this year in our company's history without mentioning September 11? I was in my office in Lawrenceville, NJ that morning, participating in a conference call. Most of my friends and family thought I was in New York City, or on the way there, when the attack occurred."
"I spent most of the day trying to contact friends that I knew were in Manhattan that day to make sure they were OK. It was only after I had gotten through to everyone I was trying to reach, or to their answering machines, that I had time to think. I can't remember ever asking myself what was going to happen to our business. That's probably a good thing."
Dave Aiello continued:
For several weeks after that, our business was totally disrupted. We received no payments from customers whatsoever. We couldn't get in touch with most of the people with whom we did business prior to 9/11. Many of them moved to offices elsewhere in New York City as a result of their company's disaster recover plans. Only a few thought to call me, and let me know how to get in touch with them.
I was fortunate to find a project to work on in Northern New Jersey that began on October 15. By that time, I had accumulated six weeks of non-billable time. I thought that this new project would only last for a month or so, and then I'd be looking for something new. It turned out that it lasted until the beginning of April 2002.
But, since then, project work has been extremely hard to come by. I think the economic conditions in the IT market are worse now than they were in October. It doesn't seem to matter if you have skills and experience, businesses are making do with who they have on staff and what they have in terms of equipment and software. This is a bad development for many businesses, including ours.
This year has not been without its successes, however. The project at Bear Stearns from October to April was very successful in the sense that we helped them deploy their second-generation client portal. We also succeeded in rolling out version 2.0 of the seminar registration system for the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association. This system has allowed the AAHA to register 1,800 officials for hockey officiating seminars throughout New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
During the period after September 11, I started a section of CTDATA.com called War On Terror. This is now one of the largest sections of our site, with over 225 stories. Journalists later coined the term "warblogs" to describe this type of web site. It could stand by itself, if we wanted it to.
CTDATA now operates three popular websites with significant amounts of weblog content: CTDATA, the Rensselaer Club of New Jersey, and AAHArefs.org. Combined, these sites offer about 1,500 pages of content. These sites are all based on the Slash Engine, to one extent or another.
The 13th year of CTDATA's history has been the most challenging by far. I am confident that we can survive this downturn in our business, and that we will emerge stronger from it, one day.
It's hard to know how different our business will be when we turn the corner, but we will remain focused on client satisfaction. Ask the customers that remain with us how well we look out for them, and you'll see why you should be doing business with us as well.