As you may recall, in November of last year we launched a new partnership with Awake Coding Consulting
, an open-source software consulting company led by Marc-André Moreau, who is also the creator and leader of the renowned open-source project, FreeRDP
(read about our partnership launch here
Now that some time has passed, I thought it would be interesting to chat with Marc-André and ask him about his experiences, insights, observations and expectations. Below, you’ll find my questions in bold, followed by Marc-André’s responses
It’s been five months since we launched our partnership. In your view, what has changed since that time?
So much has been going on over the last few months, that it feels like it’s been a year already since we partnered! I’d say the two biggest changes have been sharing the Devolutions’ Montreal office
and hiring our first employees. When Corey Clayton and I started the business, we used his parent’s basement as our first “office,” and so this has been quite an upgrade. I then hired my fiancée Stéphanie Gagnon to handle the accounting, and we hired our first full time developer, Benoit LeBlanc. We’re growing fast, just like Devolutions.
You mentioned sharing your office with us. Please talk a little about that. Has it helped create any synergies with your team?
Absolutely. Devolutions has generously provided us with everything we need. Sharing the office space with you and your colleagues is great, because our expertise is different and yet complementary. With a room filled with experts, you don’t need to go very far to find the best answers to your questions.
Please talk a little about FreeRDP. Are there any major improvements you’d like to highlight?
One of the most important recent events has been releasing the open source mobile ports of FreeRDP
for Android (aFreeRDP
) and iOS (iFreeRDP
). Of course, releasing them is one thing -- fixing and improving them is another! We’ve been very busy on this front, as well as everywhere else, and have made significant performance improvements to graphics and audio processing that allows for smooth 3D rendering and video playback in a remote desktop session. We have also been working hard to create a simplified interface to the multiple ports of FreeRDP, which allows them to be embedded as plugins or add-ons within other applications, such as Remote Desktop Manager.
What’s your vision for FreeRDP over the remainder of 2013?
We are currently preparing the 1.1 release, but we already have a lot of new features planned for 1.2. Our primary goal -- aside from adding new features -- is really to stabilize and unify FreeRDP on all platforms. According to ohloh.net
, FreeRDP has surpassed over 250K lines of source code in 2013. We have clients and servers for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and we have clients for Android and iOS. We even made the news on Slashdot
recently regarding a FreeRDP server port to Wayland. We are getting bombarded with bug reports and code contributions, and managing all of that takes time. The complexity of FreeRDP is a strong barrier to entry that we want to lower. Improving documentation, code and project structure, configurability and the modularity of FreeRDP is what we’re aiming for this year.
About the leader of Awake Coding and FreeRDP, do you see any changes in the way you manage your company and the FreeRDP project?
I now have employees working on FreeRDP, which means that I have an increased financial investment in the project. It also means that I have more responsibilities with regards to the business, as more people rely on it to be successful. That’s something that I consider when making decisions. I've been working crazy hours for years already, but getting to the next level requires even more work! I’d say the hardest thing to deal with is having less time for unpaid, but necessary, FreeRDP community work, such as bug fixing and maintenance
What about your coach? How has he helped you become a more successful entrepreneur?
Claude Roy’s coaching has been invaluable, and I would definitely not be at this stage today if it wasn't for him. It may not always be obvious to young people, but the wisdom of more experienced people should be heeded. For instance, Claude has helped me understand that while offering extremely specialized development services has served me well for years, unfortunately, it does not scale well. I need to work on expanding my offering with development contracts that leverage FreeRDP, but with significantly less core development involved. Another avenue I’m considering is developing a product using FreeRDP that targets a specific vertical market, such as restaurant point-of-sales solutions.
Do you have any advice to other young entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams?
Take a leap of faith and put your heart and soul into what you believe is right. Plan and believe in your success -- but always be prepared to fail. You will hear a lot of success stories from others, but all of them had their fair share of failure, and so will you. Connect with others; especially those who have gone through the complete entrepreneurial cycle. Never give up. Rough times will only make you stronger. If you’re stubborn, try softening a bit, because unfortunately you are not always going to be right J
Do you have a question for Marc-André? Please feel free to comment below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
, and I'll include it to my next interview with him!