We started OpenTech in 2003 in my garage. We purchased a patent for a self-service system that rented self storage units and processed customer payments. It was just a piece of paper, no software, no hardware, no service, limited funding, and minimal experience in the self storage industry. Before we started coding, designing, marketing or selling we invested many hours talking about what kind of company we wanted to be. There were a two non-negotiable principles that we identified:
Doing it Right — each of the founders had worked at companies in our past that did things that we felt were not right. We witnessed what happens when companies take short cuts, bend the truth, and get greedy. We knew OpenTech would not be a “get rich quick” plan. Our goal was to build a company we could be proud of and one that would attract quality employees, partners and customers. We decided that “Doing it Right” was a perfect guiding principal for our business.
I look back and think those early days were some of our most important. Over the past 17 years we have had to make some tough decisions and I think it is those decisions that define a company. Lots of companies have a mission statement, but the real test is what they DO, not what they SAY. For example, when we first launched the INSOMNIAC 500 we sold 5 of them quickly and before we knew the hardware we selected for the kiosk was not of the quality we wanted. We had kiosks in the field failing to work properly at an alarming rate. We had several options how to remedy the problem but only one was the RIGHT one and it would be very expensive for a young small company like ours. We replaced all the 500s with new ones that were manufactured with much higher quality components. It was a very expensive test of our commitment to “Doing it Right”.
Being Open — it is kind of ironic we started the business by purchasing a patent, which typically is used as a tool to lock others out of new technologies. Instead we saw it as a way to ensure every self storage owner on the planet could benefit from the value of a self-service kiosk. It is with this principal in mind that we launched the OpenTech Alliance Partner Program, which promotes open interfaces to all the technology solutions we develop.
Going forward as we continue to develop new innovative products and services to help self storage owners run their businesses we will continue to be the kind of company you want to do business with. The self storage industry has become our home and the people in it our friends. Not everyone in the self storage business will purchase one of our products or use one of our services, but we think of all of them as friends. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our company.
Chairman and CEO
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.