Monday, February 9, 2004
Interview: Adam Kolawa, Parasoft
Adam Kolawa is CEO of Monrovia-based Parasoft (www.parasoft.com), which provides software tools. Adam came from Poland in the 1980's to get his Ph.D. from Caltech, and ended up founding Parasoft in 1987 with a group of Caltech graduates.
BK: What are Parasoft's products, and how do they help your users?
AK: Parasoft offers a suite of Automated Error Prevention products and solutions. They are designed to help development organizations to locate errors early in the development process and assist them in actually preventing future errors from occurring. We have products for Java, C/C++, Web Services, Web Development,. .NET and Database development. All of our products help our users by automating processes and best practices that are very time consuming to do manually.
BK: As programming languages have advanced, and become easier to code (i.e. Java), have you found the need for your tools increasing or decreasing?
AK: Actually not, programming languages may advance, but developers continue to make mistakes. Most errors have more to do with that mistakes that people make than the programming language they use. And as technologies advance the need to produce more reliable software increases - leaving less room for errors.
BK: I understand the company has never taken outside funding. Why did you decide to go that route, and was it difficult to grow the company without funding?
AK: It is much more difficult to build a company this way. But it gives us the option to be creative and do what we want rather than committing to exit strategy. When you take outside funding you are often planning your own exit strategy.
BK: I have lots of entrepreneurs bootstrapping their businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who subscribe to my newsletter. What advice would you give them on how to make their company a success?
AK: First of all, don't think about how much money you are going to make. Concentrate on having a product on the market that people need and/or want and know how to sell it. Don't start thinking about an exit strategy when you start out. It is important to stay focused on your goals and vision for the company rather than an exit strategy.
BK: How many employees does Parasoft have?
AK: 250 worldwide - about 150 in Southern California
BK: How has the trend toward offshore outsourcing affected your business, or has there been much effect at all?
AK: It has helped us because we have products which can help companies on either side of the outsourcing debate. Our solutions help companies who want to avoid outsourcing, by enabling them to improve developer productivity, cut costs and improve software quality. We also have solutions which enable companies who choose to outsource development projects to manage the process and maintain an accurate read on what's going with their projects. We can also help them ensure that they get the level of quality they expect. Management often has no idea what's going on with their projects until the end when they find out the specifications weren't understood, or that basic best practices weren't followed, these and other issues can lead to added costs and project delays. With Parasoft AEP Solutions we can give management accurate reads on development progress throughout the entire process.
BK: Finally, what are Parasoft's big goals for this year?
AK: Our goal is to grow and to continue growing. We have also set out to create the AEP category within the industry and are very committed to making that happen.