We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremy Duvall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeremy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After I graduated from Georgia Tech, I got my first job at Danger, Inc., a legendary mobile computing company that created many of the precursors to the modern mobile ecosystem. Danger was later acquired by Microsoft, and I worked there for a while. So my early career experiences were at the cutting edge of software engineering, where I interacted mostly with computers and other engineers. After Microsoft, I worked in the technology divisions of some business consulting firms. There, my work was focused much more on people—on solving business problems that had a real impact on people’s lives—instead of just writing software all the time. Don’t get my wrong: the work that software engineers do is pivotal to the success of any business technology solution. The problem I saw in business consulting is that most firms didn’t fully appreciate how critical quality software was for the success of their ideas. Developers were just a commodity to them. I blame the ‘90s, the obsession with outsourcing: cutting costs instead of building teams that can create real business value. So I started 7Factor to bring together the best of both the worlds I had worked in. I created a human-centric agency that understands the impact of our work on our clients’ success and on the people they serve. But we’re also an agency that cares intensely about quality. We build things right, to be secure, stable, and scalable, because bad code usually makes problems worse. Sometimes bad code literally kills people. That human-centric focus combined with an obsession with quality engineering, that’s what I wanted to create when I decided to start 7Factor.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
7Factor builds custom DevOps and cloud-based software and systems for tech-savvy corporations and startups with high growth potential. We have a human-centric culture, with an emphasis on mutual respect for one another and our clients. We believe in kind candor, smart service, fast feedback, and continuous improvement. We’re obsessed with quality. Many of our clients are leaders or disruptors in fintech (iVita Financial), healthcare IT (Aveanna Healthcare), transportation (Delta Airlines), and other industries that understand the importance of secure, stable, and scalable systems. Our work in healthcare IT has lately felt really important. We recently partnered with Aveanna Healthcare to create our own healthcare-screening solution, WellEntry, which is helping businesses, schools, factories, and healthcare organizations prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. It’s work that has an important human impact. My proudest moments have been hiring every single person on my team. (We’re up to 21 people at the company now.) I really do think that 7Factor has the best software engineering teams in the business. I’m proud that they’ve chosen to stick with us and believe in the vision we share. Most startups are a rotating door for talent, but 7Factor hasn’t lost a single developer. We’re a company that recognizes that software engineers are incredibly smart and talented people who can contribute a lot to the success of any idea. We provide smart people with access to other smart people, and, together, we can build things that other people couldn’t. That leads directly to the greatest difficulty: It’s fighting that commoditization movement when cost-cutting and shortsighted budget constraints are the ruler of everything. I have to explain to clients why 7Factor is more expensive than some of our competition. (We’re also less expensive than others.) It’s because our engineering teams are so incredibly good. They deliver more value. They’re not just coders sitting in dark rooms, turning wrenches. They’re very, very, very smart people who are going to make your business better. You get more value from our teams. They’re worth it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I was at Georgia Tech, my friends and I would play racquetball on campus for three, four hours at a time. Afterward, we would always go over to Fellini’s Pizza on Howell Mill Road. We’d be hungry by then, so we’d eat a lot of pizza then just hang out. So if it’s a friend from my college days, we’ll probably find our way there, for the nostalgia value. For anyone else, we’d start out walking along 10th Street, through the campus then across to Midtown and Piedmont Park. Later, we’d head down to the Georgia Aquarium, which is one of my favorite nerdy things to do. Cross through Centennial Olympic Park, then you’re at the Tabernacle, where we’ll go to a concert in the evening. I saw Muse there on the Absolution tour, back when they were nobody. Best concert I’ve ever seen. We won’t get to repeat that experience, but any good rock band will do.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I worked at Danger, Inc., on the Sidekick, I was just this kid fresh out of Georgia Tech, suddenly working with legendary engineers who had contributed to the Linux kernel, people who had been founders at companies like Netflix. Incredibly smart, innovative people including Cid Halloway, Mike Bouche, Sean Curran, Godfrey Imudia, Allison Bellach, and Joe George. They adopted me and helped me grow as a professional developer. They taught me how to work on a team, how to be part of a good culture where you take care of the people to your left and to your right. Their mentorship is the basis of the human-centric culture I’ve created here at 7Factor.
Other: https://clutch.co/profile/7factor-software https://wellentry.io/
Chang Lin Judy Duvall Alyssa Tichenor Ryan Klee Thomas Bell