Julian Hornsey, Managing Director at Redstone Computers, talks about the firm’s expansion into payroll and HR solutions, its specialised software company, and the time he saw a computer ‘eating’ floppy disks…
How did Redstone start?
When I left the comfort of a ‘proper job’ back in the last millennium and started my own business, the focus was very much on consulting and adding value to customers that I had built up relationships with in previous jobs.
What services do you offer?
Over time the Filofax got thinner as more and more of my contacts took retirement or moved on. So the company started to move into selling and adding value to third-party products.
Through doing this we built up a portfolio of small add-ons, which then spawned a new company Avalon Software. This specialises in resource management solutions for vertical markets.
What’s the strangest customer request you’ve ever had?
One of the most bizarre things to happen was in my first job in IT, which was as a support and training executive. This was in the days of duel floppy drive PCs using five and a quarter inch floppy disks.
While manning the phones one day, a customer phoned up to say that the computer was “eating the floppy disks”. I went through the routine for ejecting the disk, but no, the customer was insistent that the machine was eating them as he had already put three into the same drive. As the customer was nearby, I was dispatched to go and see him. On arrival, the customer repeated the story about the machine “eating the floppy disks” and on checking, the floppy drive was empty.
It was only when I asked the customer to show me exactly what he was doing, that I realised he was very carefully feeding the disk into the small gap between the top of the disk drive unit and the case of the computer.
What’s coming up in 2014 and beyond?
As well as a new web store, we are looking to partner with Moorepay to offer my existing customers a cost effective payroll and HR solution.
What are the benefits of working with a trade organisation like Synaxon?
Working with Synaxon through the whole process has been very easy and very smooth. And unlike some of my previous experiences, I do not feel that the team are now focused on the next new customer once they have had my direct debit form back.