Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Intuit’

Startups and the Cloud

In Random, Social Media, web 2.0 on June 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

If you want to know what was happening minute by minute, please go search the twitter hashtag #SandCloud.  There are pictures, video and commentary there…

That being said there were some interesting things I listened to today:

1) Scott Cook’s take on creating a startup…he had an especially poignant story on having to let employees in his early days know that the company had run out of cash…to pay them


2)We had a panel of VC’s who talked about how they select companies to back and how they groom entrepreneurs into growing their companies

3)The panel of CEO’s expressing how cloud computing changed their business model.  The biggest thing I got out of their stories was how the cloud has changed both the makeup of their staff (no more IT departments or professional services) and how the subscription costs of cloud computing changed their accounting from a cash flow point of view.  The DimDim CEO was particularly eloquent about how his business grew.

More later…

Adobe Max and the Intuit Partner Platform

In technology on November 21, 2008 at 4:19 am

The new Intuit Partner Platform was showcased at the Adobe Max conference this week.   Great Job Guys!

This was the culmination of an enormous effort this year by our development teams, our business unit and Intuit, not to mention several 3rd parties that we worked with to provide things like our billing subscription service for the developers, our development framework and our ability to get QuickBooks desktop name data into the cloud.    In the background, the thing you don’t see is that we used technology originally developed for QuickBase (the product that occupies the other half of my brain) to deliver this new platform.

The economy may be down, but this is a pretty exciting time to be a part of the team developing a new generation platform that ties together all kinds of web services.  In the process we are enabling all kinds of new businesses to be created by developers who will generate new innovative solutions for small businesses that are already using QuickBooks.

Workplace and QuickBase at Web 2.0 2008 in New York

In technology on September 18, 2008 at 2:24 am

In continuation of a phenomenal year for me, I’ve had the pleasure of managing one of the best product development organizations I’ve ever been associated with.  QuickBase alone is a very important product and has changes the way work groups share data or map a process but keep that data in the cloud, bypassing your IT department.   Using that very same technology, we’ve created a completely separate and different product offering…a platform called Intuit Workplace that allows 3rd party developers to create compelling apps (using Adobe Flex) and sell them in a marketplace head to head with competing solutions.

We’ve partnered with several online software as a service companies to deliver the Workplace experience in such a way that these 3rd party developers can sell their apps and we will provide them a place where end-users looking for QuickBooks connected web apps can buy them and will allow them to share data that is housed on their backoffice machine.  We’ve created a shopping mall for web products that help people share info…

This has been one of those “soul of a new machine” or “dreaming in code” years for me.  It’s really awesome to be a part of the current conversation…solving the socialization of business data issue while the conversation is still in debate.    As Quicken, Turbotax and QuickBooks have shaped a generation of people on how to use their computers to manage their finacial lives and businesses, I think Intuit, QuickBase and Workplace are once again shaping how people share and interact with data.

Can you tell I’m excited?

QuickBase at the Web 2.0 Conference…

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm

So the QuickBase team is at the Web 2.0 conference showing off both our corporate workgroup product as well as our new developer platform beta. We're sitting here watching the twitter feeds from our gang on the floor. As development manager of QuickBase, it's pretty exciting to see all our hard work getting blog and press attention.

Intuit runs many of its intern processes right on QuickBase so it's not that we just happen to use the product, we live eat and depend on it every minute of the day. As you can tell I'm pretty excited to be a part of this…it's just plain awesome…

Why am I doing this?

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2008 at 1:12 am

About 29 years ago, I touched my first computer.   It was an IBM 360/1500 at Fairfield University.  I was a freshman at Fairfield Prep on the same campus.  In between the 2 semesters we had mini-courses, which were a 2 week break from normal classes and an opportunity to investigate topics that you wouldn’t normally be able to take.  Some people took classes in architecture, other in meditation (the most highly sought after class, of course…who wouldn’t pick a class you could sleep through for credit). 

I chose the class in APL programming.  This happened to be taught by a Junior student because none of Jesuits knew much about the computer, let alone APL.  So I took that class and the same class next year.  During this period I wrote my first major computer program.  Domino7 was the character sequence on the 3270 terminals that called a random number generator.  This was just what you need to write a computer game.   Being a child of the post Viet Nam Cold War era I wrote a program that allowed the player to pick a city and blow it up.   Back then Don Imus used to have people call his WNBC radio program out of New York City and as for people to get nuked if they ticked you off.   “Nuke ’em….boom….Yay!”  That was the inspiration. During my Junior and Senior year I taught the class.  I keep forgetting that when I go through the list of things I’ve done.  My Senior year, I had 10 members of the varsity football team in my class.  I wonder if any of them remember the class 🙂

Anyway, playing around with the computer led me to apply for schools that had a computer engineering program because I, at the time, couldn’t figure out what the heck computer science was and engineering sounded more prestigious.  Being from a blue collar steel-worker family, and being the oldest child, I had to figure out how to pay for school.  Knowing that RIT and Northeastern had co-op programs, bingo, there I was at RIT in cloudy and snowy western New York, fighting my way through my EE classes, cruising through my CS classes and finding out that I was pretty good my Liberal Arts classes.  People have often told me that I’m not really an engineer, I just play one in life.

That’s when I got my Co-op job at DEC which eventually led to an 11 year stint in the end.  There’s a whole story about that, that I should elaborate on, but I’ll leave that for a different entry.  Eventually I made it through all the weed-out EE classes and took my full time job at DEC in the low end workstation firmware group.  If anybody cares, I wrote the SCSI and NI drivers for the firmware on several vax and alpha workstations.  In the process I had my first taste of leading teams.  

When things got bad at DEC in the early 90’s I started looking and finally got a job at Teradyne before the DEC wave crashed.  I worked at Teradyne for 11 years touched just about everything but the analog side of the tester.  Those wavy things are scary 🙂

Anyway, during that time I got to go on all kinds of trips to big places like Texas, California, Germany and India, although I remember several trips to Allentown, PA.  I worked on Solaris and the NT on the digital side of the testers and got my first chance to manage teams and never looked back.  I really wanted to move to a company on the web where all the action seemed to be about 2000-2001, but couldn’t get out.

After watching Teradyne react to the commoditization of testers and chips with outsourcing, layoffs and a weird refusal to build smaller testers like the J750 and their inexplicable surrender of the memory test market to Advantest,  I then went to a company called Lakeview.  It was strange place where I lived the ups and downs of 2 previous companies all compressed into a 2 year demise.  It ended by a buyout by private equity.  I survived all the downsizing but I was unhappy.  Knowing that I always wanted to get out of the hardware industry, I got a job at Intuit QuickBase where I am now.

Intuit is an awesome place and QuickBase is an phenomenal product.  I stepped in just as the QuickBase Developer program was being scoped out and tomorrow, in conjunction with several other team within Intuit, QuickBase will present our new development environment based on Adobe Flex at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

In the end, I’ve lived my dream.   Stuff I’ve worked on was used by the armed forces during the first Gulf War, was used to test chips in every cell phone and disk drive on the planet, and is about to change the world via networked collaborative technologies.  So maybe I wasn’t as wildly successful as Gates or Jobs, but hey, I’ve done some incredibly complicated things and nobody can take that away from me.  In the process I’ve worked with a lot of really smart people along the way who can claim the same thing.

Here’s to changing the world, flipping one bit at a time!