Today we’re joined by Lionel Farr, Chief Technology Officer here at Zift Solutions. Lionel is in the unique position of being the earliest member of Zift – seeing as he founded the company in March 2006, exactly 16 years ago. 

Lionel Farr Zift SolutionsTo celebrate Zift’s sixteenth anniversary, we’re interviewing Lionel about the early days of operations, his proudest moments within the company, and where he imagines Zift heading next.

Thanks for joining us on the blog today, Lionel. Since you’re in the unique position of knowing the company from the beginning, I’m curious to hear what the early days of Zift were like?

Lionel: To be honest, they were hard. When you’re just getting started with a business, you’re working on finding a market, the right product fit, money, and everything else that comes with the territory. There are a lot of hours that need to be spent building the company up – and not a lot of people to fill those hours. 

At the same time, though, the early days were fun. We were just trying to figure it out and had to think fast on our feet. There’s something to be said for the excitement of being young and scrappy.

I would imagine there’s been a considerable amount of change to the business since 2006. What are the biggest ways you’ve seen the company evolve in the last 16 years?

Lionel: I see the biggest growth reflected in the people who make Zift what it is. We started with two employees and now have more than a hundred. With each level of growth that a company achieves, there are new challenges and rewards that arise.

Think about it this way, if you have anywhere from one to 30 people on staff then you can make culture work with the personality of who’s on board. Once you have over 30 employees, though, there needs to be a real shift towards investing in culture. 

After a business reaches a certain level of revenue, too, there will always be a newfound level of responsibility. Companies grow and the focus on professionalism grows, too. It’s been exciting to see Zift step up to the challenges of growth and focus on both our employees and customers at the same time.

What has been your favorite part of being at Zift from day 1?

Lionel: Ever since I was a little kid, I was fascinated by this idea of building something. I was always curious if I could see success in that way or forge a path for myself by creating a product. My favorite part of being at Zift from the beginning is – hands down – seeing the thing that I created grow into what it is today. Yes, there were sleepless nights and a lot of time spent getting Zift built up. But it’s all been worth it a hundred times over.

Along those lines, what are you most proud of accomplishing in the last 16 years at Zift?

Lionel: Since the earliest days of Zift, we’ve had more than 300 people employed by the company. I feel proud to have built something that created that many jobs. Zift has created opportunities, not just for our customers but for our employees as well.

One last question for you, Lionel. Thinking of all that you’ve accomplished with Zift in 16 years, where do you see the company going next?

Lionel: Our company – its people, processes, and services – is all backed by a framework for extraordinary success. If we can continue to execute on our goals, serve our customers well, and be a market leader then I see us growing into an even bigger company than we are today.