Ian D. Mead
This is our testimony of God's direction, guidance and provision for us over the last year. The writing of this was inspired by a good Pastor friend who had heard of a little of the story. It seems like no coincidence that this inspiration came just one week before the 1st anniversary of one of the main events.
This really starts back in late November of 1993. I was an engineering manager in a well paying job and quite successful in the corporate world.
At that time, I was wanting to better my programming skills, to better advise others that worked for me, and to maintain my knowledge. I was very reluctant however to spend the $200.00 on the software program that I needed to do this, but decided to proceed. Of course, one tends to live according to one's means and so money had to be watched. [I realize this is almost too detailed or technical, but it's surprising how the smallest of details can be a part of God's much bigger plan].
After buying the development software (a tool used to develop software programs), I decided to write a small program that would be useful to me as a learning exercise. This was a simple editor to replace what is known as "NOTEPAD" in the Windows world.
I spent the next three to four months developing this, and found that it was quite useful. I showed it to friends and colleagues where I worked and they also thought it was useful.
After some time, it occurred to me that if others liked it they may be willing to pay a small price for it. There is a concept for software distribution called Shareware - Basically you try the software for a limited time for free and if you like it you send a "registration" fee to the author.
So, I decided to consult a friend and colleague about this idea - he was a lot more knowledgeable about this at the time, and more aware of the electronic distribution channels. Well, his advice was not to bother trying. I would get a lot of people wanting changes and sending messages, and only a few people would register is what he advised - I did as I often do in a case like this, I thanked him for his advice and decided I was going to continue and pursue it as planned.
I won't bore you here with all the details, but I uploaded the software to CompuServe (this was around April 15th 1994), a very large online computer network and started to receive interest almost immediately. I was stunned when after just one month a large company was interested in 60 copies, and after some changes did purchase the 60 copies.
It seemed amazing in such a short time that this editor was progressing quite well. I just thanked God, not at this point for the monetary gain, but the satisfaction and encouragement it gave me. My wife and I were surprised and thankful.
As time went on I continued to develop this editor based on user requests, putting literally thousands of hours of work into it - God has truly blessed us, but it is not just handed to us on a plate: we should be good stewards of our time and work hard. As I developed this, I received more and more interest and recognition as an editor of choice over the next year or so, and it became clear that something had to change. I was working two full time jobs, one of them being the work with the editor.
What should we do?
In early 1996 we were convinced that a change was necessary, but what? I had a good job, good salary, good benefits and generally I was happy with my job - but I had always wanted to go into business on my own.
We prayed about this, and we felt more and more as time progressed that we should make a change - surely God had not blessed our efforts with the editor for us just to say it's too much, but dare we take the step and make it our full time occupation?
[It's helpful to understand a little of the Shareware concept here - Basically people would call us, fax us, send mail etc. requesting a registration for the editor (most recently called UltraEdit) allowing them to continue using it and they would in turn pay us $30.00]
On March 18th 1996, we had received 11 "registrations'" for UltraEdit. This was a good day, and of course was an encouragement to us - But will it stop - is one product enough? This was tough, I didn't have time to generate more products.
As I went to bed that night, I was praying about the situation, and I just felt like saying to God "If you give me 20 registrations tomorrow I will KNOW that I should quit my full time job, that it is your will". As soon as I said this, I was excited, I felt sure it was going to happen. I also prayed for forgiveness if I was wrong to ask - I don't like to try and make deals with God but really wanted his confirmation.
The next day came, but I didn't mention this to my wife. This was between God and me, and I would share it with my wife at the end of the day. Needless to say, I checked my e-mail looking for registrations, and I believe I had three in the morning - a good start. I was really excited that day, I called home a couple of times to see how the registrations were going - it was quiet!
I got home later that day and checked the mail - No registrations! I was disappointed. I checked the fax machine, there was an order for 10! I couldn't wait to log on and found additional registrations - a total of 21!!!
I am embarrassed to admit, at this point, being a technical person, I mentally noted that 21 was not 20 - I had asked for 20.
I shared this with my wife, and we just prayed and gave thanks to God, who really had answered our prayers - we knew now that this was the thing to do.
Later that evening, an additional registration came in - that made 22. As soon as I realized this, I remembered the night before - after asking God for 20 registrations, I had said to myself (I dare not say this to God - but He knows our every thought), I should have asked for 22 as it would be twice the number of the day before. Boy - did I know now that God was in control!!!
From this point we knew that I was going to quit my job. I told a few people almost immediately. I expected non-Christians to think I was crazy, but it's surprising how negative Christians can be also.
We started to make the plans, sort out medical and make sure we had everything in place. It took a while to do this, and I actually stayed longer than I probably should. I left the company at the end of May 1996.
Many people asked what I was going to do, had comments and opinions. With only the one product several offered a lot of doubt, but we knew the Lord's direction.
There were times when I would ask myself, or my wife if this was right - but nothing could then, or today take away that true knowledge of direction we had received. We knew this was God's will, He had given us such a peace and joy about it.
I left the company on May 31st 1996 and since then have been fully self employed still working on the editor, improving it and enhancing it.
God has opened up so many opportunities with this business, with special versions of the editor for some large companies. His provision has been so much more than we would have dreamed.
Today (March 11th 1997) we are swamped with work and orders for the editor. We pray for God's direction for the future, we don't know exactly what it holds. We know that if we trust God, He is faithful to us and will show us his will and direction.
I don't deserve God's blessing as He has provided for us. I don't ask God why in case He decides to take it away, but I know that I owe it all to Him.
In all that He gives us, we try to give back to Him. We don't give our tithes (a percentage of weekly income given back to God - biblically 10%) to get more from God, we owe them and more to Him, but as we increase our giving, it seems as we are blessed more and more.
I could have written a lot more here, but I believe this tells the story of God's direction in our lives, and his provision for us. I truly pray, that if this is read, it gives encouragement and hope to the reader, and most importantly Glory to God.
Well, it's now November 7th 2002 - 5 1/2 years later and many are asking what's going on - what's happened in the last 5 years or more years? That's a good question and a lot has happened.
In 1998 I took on my first full time employee - Troy. He has worked hard and well and is still working for me now. A little later I employed another full time individual who has recently left as she and her husband moved away to work full time in Christian ministry. I now have another full time employee, Stephen, who has been with us for a short while and is going well.
UltraEdit has continued to grow and we now have sales in over 120 different countries and territories with sales to individuals, corporations of all sizes, governments and other institutions.
We get a lot of email and it's difficult to keep up at times but we do. We always try to respond quickly with accurate information and a friendly manner. With some this is a challenge but we do what we can. We are not perfect and oftentimes this shows.
My biggest surprise in the last five years is the number of responses we have had to posting this story. I expected some responses, and to be honest I expected mostly negative responses from non-Christians (and all are welcome) but this has not been the case. Most responses have been from Christians who needed some encouragement or inspiration and this has provided that. This again shows the amazing way in which the Lord works.
We continue to be amazed at God's goodness to us in all that has happened and strive to live in a Christlike manner. It's not always easy and I can't say we do very well at times but that is our desire as we continue and look forward to the future.
February 13th, 2006. How time flies! As I look back on our history and on the last 4 years I am still amazed and thankful for all that has happened. I can't believe it was just in the last update that I talked about Troy joining us which was now nearly 8 years ago. The last two years particularly have been very eventful and I am excited to share some of the events here.
In early 2004 as I was seeking direction for IDM it was clear to me that it was time to expand IDM. This was not for the sake of expansion but through God's direction it was clear that it was time to move IDM to the next level and to further the work of helping others and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of others around the World and in the US (more on that later). At the same time, there was much to be done with the continued enhancement of UltraEdit and to satisfy the needs of our many appreciated and respected users. It was clear that to do this, I could not continue to do all the software development and to work all the issues that came to my inbox daily. The opportunity arose to bring on an individual to partner with me in the expansion of IDM and to move the company forward to benefit all. One of the goals in doing this was to change IDM to a company that would still be there for the benefit of the users of our products, and the employees should I not be for some reason - please don't read anything into this. Richard Knott joined us as VP of IDM and has had a great impact on what we are doing. This new direction and transition has been challenging at times, a lot of fun, and well worth it for all, not least our users.
As part of this expansion we have since employed 3 engineers who work diligently on the products as well as additional support staff, and other committed individuals. This together with additional outside services have allowed us to expand our features and our products. The benefits are for all, with the many new features in UltraEdit v11.x and V12(on it's way) as well as the greatly enhanced UltraCompare and of course UEStudio and UltraSentry. There are several names that I could mention, but the main point of this is that I believe we have been led into the next decade of UltraEdit and IDM products and I see a great opportunity here.
As I promised earlier, I wanted to come back to an important issue in what we do. As God has continued to bless IDM in so many ways we have sought out opportunities to help others around the world. Orphanages in Cambodia, China, Africa, Asia, Jamaica and more have all benefited directly and significantly because of this, abused and exploited girls and women in Russia, Africa and Europe have benefited directly and significantly because of this, as have many others in the US and around the world. To each of the team at IDM, and to each of our users, I want to say thank you, because of the work and support of our products we are able to make a difference.
2006 promises to be another great and challenging year. Expect new and exciting things from IDM. As always, all thanks goes to God for what He is doing and has done and we look forward to the future.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Well, again it's been a long time since the last update. I've been asked several times over the last few years when I was going to update our story of what God's doing at IDM. As I prepared to do that today, I just read through this whole amazing story and was moved to tears at His goodness and what He has done in our lives over the years - I and we are so thankful!
Much has happened since the last update, and we have all seen the turmoil of the world economy, the uprisings and changes around the world and many other changes. Through all of this, IDM continues, despite the ups and downs that we have all been through, to do well and have a great team, products and users! It has been difficult at times, but we have continued in faith trying to do our best, and God continues to see us through and provide for our team at IDM. This allows many of us to continue helping many, many people locally, nationally and globally as mentioned in my last update. In that regard, I have a very touching picture on my desk of five orphans on my lap and around me from my trip to Haiti. It was one of several very moving experiences over the last few years.
The team has continued to grow (albeit more slowly), and we have moved offices since the last update. We have continued to develop and enhance UltraEdit, UltraCompare and our other products, and we introduced a new exciting product UltraFinder last year. On top of that we have moved into the Linux and Mac platforms and continue to work hard on growing and enhancing our products on these platforms.
We really are blessed with a great team that works hard and diligently, most of whom have been with us for many years now and with great leadership (not myself :-)).
What's really exciting and amazing to me is that we are now in our 20th year since I started work on UltraEdit. It's very exciting to see, and we have great work going on in the v19 series and preparations for v20. Again, without the great leadership and team that we have, yourselves as users and supporters of our products, and God's direction blessing and provision, we would not be here today preparing for the next decade. It's still very challenging, but we are excited as we move ahead!
On a personal note, my wife and I have had the privilege of seeing two of our three daughters get married this year to wonderful young men that love the Lord, one of whom is in full time ministry. We truly are blessed and thankful!
Thank you again for reading this story and update. Maybe I should say more, but for now, this is it. Thank you, and as always, my desire in writing this is always that God be glorified.
Ian D. Mead