I sat down with TeraTech President and Co-Founder, Michael Smith, to truly understand the vision behind TeraTech. From its 1989 inception TeraTech (partially a play on “Microsoft”, micro = one millionth, terra = one trillion) has proved itself as experts in ColdFusion and gurus at solving complex web based problems.
In 1989, Smith, originally from England, came off a programming project in the Netherlands and decided to travel to see what he wanted to do next. He landed in Rockville, Maryland with the idea of opening his own business, one that focused on software quality, did not adhere to the typical 9-5 work-week, and that treated its clients and employees with mutual respect. “Certainly, the atmosphere is what’s important to me,” he notes. He met up with Liz Whitaker to actual begin this business on their own terms and with their own rules.
They began by working on Clipper Programming for the World Bank in 1989 and soon acquired ProBas, a basic DOS library, in 1991. Quickly, things started picking up and getting bigger. Also in ’91, they started doing Visual Basic for Windows programming. 1993 however saw the passing of co-founder Liz Whitaker. Remaining true to his goals, Smith continued pursuing his vision of TeraTech. In 1997, TeraTech took a turn that would ultimately change its course. Smith decided that the newly released Allaire ColdFusion web development language was the direction the company should go, and has since never looked back. In 1998, TeraTech became the leader of the Maryland ColdFusion User Group, and has held a meeting in Rockville every month since. 1999 saw the first annual CFUnited convention, hosted in Bethesda, MD, which has since grown from a weekend event to a 4-day, 1000 person convention attended by every big name in the ColdFusion community.
The sense of community stayed close to Smith. He realized what the CF community had given him, and wanted to find ways to give back. In 2000, he created a ColdFusion tag poster, set up classes training in ColdFusion and Fusebox, and began running websites www.cfbughunt.org as a public forum to track bugs, and www.cfconf.org which gives the latest updates on all events in the CF community. He has spoken at many ColdFusion user groups and events around the world.
This long journey is far from over for TeraTech. We are still striving to improve software quality worldwide and solve complex programming problems and sick servers.