Our 20 year journey from Space dock to beyond!

Boldly going where no IT nerd has gone before…

It REALLY does feel like a long, long time ago!  But on this day 20 years ago, Northstar Technology Ltd was born.  Although the idea had been simmering away for a while, this was the day is when it officially got started!

I had been working for a software company in East Grinstead back then, but after 2.5 light years of working in the real world following 3.0 years of college, I decided to try taking the helm of the ship myself.

So what's happened in the past 20 years?

Quite simply… A LOT!

For a long time I was wandering the known universe on my own, doing what I could to look after the IT support needs smaller companies and even the London branch of an international bank on my own.

In fact the bank (now a name relegated to history), was the very first client of Northstar!  I still have a photocopy of my first two client cheques on the wall behind my desk.  I think it is a nice little reminder of where the business has grown from.

Christian & Harvey celebrate our 20th anniversary

Northstar was born just as we were about to enter a new century.  There were many changes a foot, but here are a few that spring to mind…

  • The demise of the floppy disk, anyone remember an 8″ floppy disk?
  • The rise of USB memory sticks which have become the modern ‘floppy disk’, not quite as fragile but they can hold immensely more data.  Please don’t rely on them to store single copies of files though!  Plenty of people do!
  • The Y2K (year 2000) bug, fizzled into nothing, although us nerds say that’s because we were prepared for it!
  • Email overtook the post and fax (not to mention telex – for a history lesson, check this out (yes I actually worked with this stuff, although it had advanced onto PC software by the time I entered the industry).
  • The birth of flat screens, I still remember who I sold my first one to.  Mr Daly at Channoil (who is still a client to this day), purchased one from Northstar this was an iiyama 15″ display, and it is still a favoured brand which we still sell to this day.  Now a 15″ screen is not much more than a tablet (although they weigh a lot less now), and curved screens are all the rage!
  • Laptops (properly now referred to as notebooks) really have become portable computers.  One of my earlier ones, was about 3 kilos!
  • We all carry smart phones and transmit countless emails while we do anything from commuting to work or dare I say it sitting on the loo!  There is also more computing power in your smart phone than NASA used to put man on the moon!
  • The internet has moved at light speed to become what we all rely on today, from online banking to social media.  But thank goodness the bing, bang, bong sound of a dial up modem connecting you online has become a sound mostly relegated to Hollywood, and of course we now have the glorious luxury of super fast broadband, OK well some of us do!  Unfortunately not all of this modern phenomenon is as great as it sounds, as the internet has also brought along a multitude of problems too.  From online bullying to mental health concerns, from physical posture issues of sitting in front of a computer for too long or staring at our smart phones to the Dark Web!  Here is a recent article from The Metro about the shady part of the internet.

It really has been an exciting time to work in an industry where nothing stands still and innovation seems to hold no limits, much like our imaginations!  So what’s next?  Perhaps ask Alexa or Siri!

Northstar IT 20th Anniversary logo

I have witnessed so much change over my almost 23 years in the industry, and it’s always exciting to see what is coming next…

It’s part of the reason that I was so drawn to work in this relatively new industry.  That and my old CDT teacher told me a career in Architecture (my first ambition) would be far better placed in this one.  With the benefit of hindsight, he was right!  Wherever you are now, thank you Mr Weller!

But if I am really honest, it has been the last 7.5 years which are the most exciting.  This is when we moved to our current base of operations, Unit 6 in the star system of Lancing, West Sussex.  I had set course to build a support ship with a crew that could equally deliver on my passion of customer service in the IT Support market, with a greater collective of technical knowledge.  Don’t let anyone tell you a nerd can’t be passionate!

During this time, we’ve grown from a team of just Myles and I, to now being a team of 9 (10 if you include our trusty Ambassador Harvey).  I am sure we’ll be welcoming another member of the crew very soon, with another Support Engineer and some additional support in Operations too.  If you would like to know the current crew a little better you can read more about the crew from their individual crew records here.

The journey isn’t without the odd asteroid or alien invasion to keep us on our toes, but so far we haven’t yet had any Klingons on the starboard bow!  Although as many of our clients have been introduced to our in house acronym, “PICNIC” who needs Klingons, when we have you?  But seriously, we wouldn’t be us without you.

We’ve invested in doubling the size of our base of operations from Unit 6, to now include Unit 7.  We now have a dedicated meeting room, which is lovingly referred to as “The Holodeck”.  I honestly couldn’t think of what else to call it, as it is a crew room, a breakout space, a meeting room, a kitchen and a training room!  It seemed like the perfect name really.  We now have a dedicated Engineering Lab, so equipment can be worked on in a large clear space, with everything that is needed close to hand, as well as air conditioning to keep those busy engineers (and warp cores) cool while they work.  But the most important space, really is the new Main Engineering department.  This is where it all happens!  This is where our Engineering Crew are looking after our client’s day to day needs, to make sure your all important base of operations is in full working order.

I hope the next 20 years are equally exciting as the past 20 have been!  We have some intergalactic ambitions to double the size of the crew, and we’re investing in better systems, to increase the value in what we deliver for our clients, so you get more of what your’re used to, and even a great deal more on top of that!

We will continue our mission to promote value and good customer service to clients new and current, here and beyond as our journey to go boldly go where no IT Support company has gone before!

"Second star to the right... and straight on 'til morning"

- Captain James T Kirk,Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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