Finding the right light

Welcome to the second edition of our new blog. Each of the partners at Megasol will be contributing their thoughts about once a month and we hope that you enjoy and follow them.

I thought I would explore the world of sea turtles and what they mean for our customers! What? Sea turtles? How is that relevant?

I am lucky enough to live on a beach and act as a turtle volunteer during nesting period. Mama turtle leaves tracks and so we normally know where the nests are laid. Sixty days later, we watch for the hatchlings to dig themselves a pathway to the surface of the sand and then leave – but to where? And here our story begins!

There is a strong analogy between hatchling turtles and financial start-ups.  Both are born into a world of unknowns, misdirection, and predators. Let’s start with our hatchling.

On the surface, the baby turtle will move towards the brightest visible light it can see. On dark beaches at night, this is the welcoming wash of spray as waves collapse or crash onto a reef – as in my case. However, if the turtle can see white street lights and brightly lit areas because house lights have been left on, or if they can see the lights in a swimming pool, they head off in the wrong direction, lured by false or misleading senses. For this reason, the road outside my home has special turtle-friendly lighting at a wavelength which works for us humans, but is basically invisible and unattractive for sea turtles. The lights on my balcony and patio are also turtle-friendly, so that if for some reason they have to be switched on – we try to leave them off during expected nesting days, 60 or so days after the nest was laid – they will not attract the turtles who will still see the crashing white surf on our reef as the brightest white light source. We are there to help them in many ways. Sometimes a baby turtle will emerge too early – during the daylight. Why? The baby turtles know when it is dark because of the cooling of the sand of their nest. They will wait down in the nest until the conditions seem right – then dig themselves a tunnel to the surface. However, a cool north-westerly wind or light rainfall can cool the sand, hence fooling the babies. Up they come – and are then at severe risk from predation or being lost. We step in with a bucket with damp sand at the bottom and a towel over the top to keep them happy until we can release them at the water’s edge that night.  It is also not always possible to know that a nest was laid. In one instance, a small mother turtle laid a nest under our hammock on the beach and the marks were not noticed. But the emerging baby turtles were noticed, luckily, since some of them had headed off towards the pool area and had fallen in. Fifteen babies were rescued – all had been following a white street light which had not as yet been converted and had lured them in the wrong direction.

Financial start-ups, whether private banks, lenders or payments services or gateways, suffer from similar conditions to our hatchlings. Internal pressures of formation can lead to doubtful decisions to launch early – the perceived need to start earning revenue to claw back the start-up costs! But, timing is everything – we have to have our ducks – sorry, turtles – in a row! We need a clear direction which defines our market; we need people who can help us to begin moving in that direction – both inside the company and as suppliers of the tools we need to get moving; we need hands-on skills to use the tools in which we invest, and we need patience to launch when all factors are right.

Okay – we have done our preliminary research, and we think that we have identified a market. We have attracted funding from the initial partners and external parties wishing to take equity. We are recruiting the right people. But those people need the tools. They need robust but flexible software applications which will be operating 24/7 at the heart of the business with as much automation as legally and practically possible. And they need ongoing help to put those tools to use in the best way possible.

And here lies the issue. Bright lights and heavy advertising sell products, everything from candies to pharmaceuticals to financial software. But is there fitness for purpose? Or just an attraction to the brightest light? “Must be good for us because we see their ads everywhere”.

Instead of being attracted by bright lights, we need to be attracted by the nature and environment of each light, specifically, the right kind of light. And that environment is conditioned by what we are looking for – software which will help us both launch and then grow for the next many years.

Where does Megasol Technologies fit into all of this?

You will not find Megasol advertising all over the place and attending monthly financial conferences somewhere around the globe. Our boardroom is not decorated at huge expense to look like something out of Star Wars or Sherlock Holmes. If we do these things, then we are providing the wrong kind of light – and a costly one for you, since all of these things have to be paid for – by you!

You will not find a large monolithic application which purports to do everything you want – a one-size fits all approach! Because your market is special, with specific services for a defined customer base provided in such a manner as to meet their needs, and not the perceived needs identified by a software designer.

So Megasol is illuminated by its customer base, companies who use our Corniche platform and who recommend us to others when asked for advice and direction. Much of the growth of our business comes from word-of-mouth.

Having dipped our flippers in the Megasol waters, what do we get?

Megasol is very different to other companies in our space for a couple of important reasons. First, our partners are the primary point of contact for our customers – apart from a couple of very senior staff who have been with us for many years. You will not be talking with a contracted support person on the end of a re-routed phone number that is answered with a script. Second, we deliberately control our growth. We see too many organisations fail their customers because of their desire to grow, grow, grow. And with that growth comes a decrease in service, in market focus and so on.

Our product, Corniche, is a core banking system built on Corniche API. We use our own API to construct Corniche services, both for the back-office, and for online services to clients of our customers. This Corniche API is included in every Corniche licence as standard – nothing more to pay. And it means the freedom for you and your development team, whether internal or external, to differentiate your product in your marketplace from all other competing products – with clearly defined branding, look-and-feel, and services.

This is why Corniche is used by banks, lenders in a variety of markets, sales financing, global travel wallets like iGo, and others who needed highly affordable and customisable software to meet their specific market needs.

Turtles come back to the same beach where they first entered the water to nest – some thirty years later. And we are happy that we receive repeat business from our customers as they move into new markets with the confidence in knowing that Corniche is the perfect base, and that Megasol will be around for years to come. It is, after all, a family business not subject to the whims of a shareholder base.

Thanks for listening…