We talked to Jason Taylor of Code Authority on how the Custom Software Development Company is navigating through the COVID-19 times.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jason Taylor: Everyone in my immediate family has been practicing all of the COVID-19 prevention measures pretty well. I would give our family about an “A-“ grade on that. Nobody has caught it in my direct family yet. My oldest is attending her Freshman year at Dartmouth, and my youngest opted to attend high school in person in Frisco. Nobody is high risk except my old Dad – and he is pretty much locked away from the world at his own will. Just like everyone else, we’re ready to get back to normal!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Code Authority.
Jason Taylor: I started Code Authority in 2001, hoping companies and startups would need to hire pre-built teams and outsource development projects. For the first two or three years, it was just a few people and me. I was able to convince them to help me complete projects. It grew and grew and eventually was acquired in October 2019 by Improving. Around 2012 we created CodeLaunch, a unique startup accelerator event and model, hoping to elevate and accelerate startups. CodeLaunch was a big reason for the acquisition, and consequently, our family at Improving and I are working together on a big 2021 CodeLaunch upgrade!
How does Code Authority innovate?
Jason Taylor: Code Authority turns software concepts into reality. Whatever idea a client may have, we work to develop a product that fits their vision. We offer custom software solutions built by our creative development team and full-service digital marketing that improves visibility and kickstarts business growth.
Code Authority President, Jason W. Taylor, founded CodeLaunch, a travelling national seed accelerator competition, and startup expo. The eighth annual CodeLaunch, taking place on November 5, features Finalists competing for over $100k in exclusive services. It’s an event, unlike any other, where entrepreneurs, startups, and investors collide. CodeLaunch is proof that “innovation” flows through our blood daily.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jason Taylor: Our clients with active projects slowed or stopped their projects pretty much simultaneously in late Feb and early March. Just like everyone else, they were fearful of moving forward with the expense due to the uncertain future. We were not eligible for any PPP or public funds since we are owned by a PE fund. We had to tighten the belt and let some people go that we otherwise would certainly have saved. That was the worst day of the whole episode. Friday, March 27.
The rest of us took voluntary pay cuts for a while and kept our business above water for the most part in 2020. I am thankful that I was able to lean on my improving family for leadership and help guide us through the storm with their organizational guiding principles. I am also thankful a few clients were accelerated by the pandemic and ramped up their service needs.
Demand for our services has been steadily returning since mid-July, and I am hoping to start hiring again soon. CodeLaunch happening on November 5 is going to give us a needed boost.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jason Taylor: Yes, very painful termination and furlough decisions that set us back almost immediately to a footprint about the same as Code Authority in 2016. I learned the government didn’t accomplish anything but more unemployment by leaving PE ventures out of the payroll support dollars that were otherwise made available.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Code Authority in the future?
Jason Taylor: I really enjoy Golf, and also, right about the beginning of the pandemic, I discovered Fallout 76 and the Wastelanders DLC. That was a gift, and both of those things are really good activities that allow me to forget about reality and chill out for a while.
My forecast is that we will strengthen throughout Q4 2020 and hire and grow again throughout 2021. I think a safe and good vaccine is coming, good treatments are already in place, and public sentiment and desire to overcome and move on will win out over fear in the next few months.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jason Taylor: I think we compete with every other dev shop out there, not just local North Texas dev shops but everywhere and including offshore. We try to find the clients that know they want an all-local team that works together, and I’m hoping I can get my team back in a F2F delivery model in Q1.
I believe our guiding principles and values, which were already in place but now are strengthened by Improving, are illustrated in our dedication to the CodeLaunch event we are producing, even right in the middle of the pandemic. There is no better differentiator than our dedication to and history of CodeLaunch.
Your final thoughts?
Jason Taylor: Code Authority believes in startups and the people who execute them. CodeLaunch is evidence of that. A startup requires passion, drive, and creative mindset. They require determination. Code Authority and CodeLaunch take pride in our support of the startup ecosystem. We want to see startups succeed and thrive, and we want to be a part of it.