In mid 2006, Steve Hayes and I were both working as independent consultants. I had known Steve since 2001, when the Melbourne XP Enthusiasts Group (MXPEG) had started up and we both became active members. When I became independent, he was kind enough to let me use the company name he had registered, Cogent Consulting, for invoicing. I paid him a nominal fee for processing my payroll.
Within six months, Steve and I decided to run some public training courses together to help market ourselves, and improve the Cogent brand for us both. Easy Access Training (EAT) was born. We ran a few reasonably successful public courses in early 2007.
The market at the time was quite buoyant, and pretty soon Steve and I both found ourselves turning away work because we were already engaged on projects. That triggered conversations between us about taking the opportunity to build Cogent as a business, and we decided to hire some staff and pay ourselves a salary rather than remaining effectively independent.
And so, on July 1 2007, Cogent Consulting was re-born as a structured business. Two and a half years later, we're a profitable consulting company with a dozen staff. Our values and policies are unlike any other local company that I know of, and we're proud of those unique attributes.
Sadly, Steve is now planning to leave the country soon, and therefore Cogent as well.
To say he'll be missed is an understatement. For me, Steve has been a friend, mentor and business partner for years. The shape of my career has undeniably been shaped by his influence, and the opportunity to help build a great company came with our partnership. For the rest of the staff at Cogent, Steve has been a thought leader and guiding influence.
I'm charged with being the steward of the company in Steve's absence. I'm quietly confident of my ability to do the job. Indeed, I've been sharing the role with Steve since the beginning, and we've got a good team around us to help. Cogent Consulting will continue on comfortably without Steve, which is perhaps one of his great achievements. It's culture will undeniably change though. Perhaps sometimes better, more often a little bit worse, but mostly just different. That difference is what I'll miss most of all.
Good luck Steve. I hope your new adventures are prosperous and enjoyable. With any luck, our paths will again cross someday sooner rather than later.