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Archive for February, 2009

Laridian’s Jim VanDuzer: First Responder

Posted on: February 11th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 38 Comments

So we’re at Jim’s place in Pennsylvania this week, having our annual board of directors meeting and doing a little skiing at Blue Mountain. Jim’s on ski patrol there, which requires that he receive training as an Emergency Medical Service: First Responder. We’re on our way to the local Panera Bread to drink some coffee, tap their WiFi, and have our second session of meetings.

As we’re approaching the mall we come across a very fresh accident. The driver of a mini SUV has apparently run a red light and been clipped by a semi, causing the SUV to spin and the driver’s head to break out the driver’s-side window. Jim pulls over, grabs his med kit and heads to the scene to offer assistance. There he finds that the driver is covered with broken glass and is bleeding from a cut on her ear. Pictures after the break…

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How Our Blog Came to the Rescue

Posted on: February 10th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 1 Comment

If you’ve ever needed to contact us at Laridian for assistance, you’ve probably been fortunate to have been helped by Patty. If you go way back, you may have even talked with Patty on the phone. Patty has been our front-line provider of customer support for several years, is knowledgeable about our products, and genuinely interested in helping you resolve any problem that you might be having. (Well, maybe not any problem… but for sure any problem with a Laridian product :) ).

However, as competent as Patty might be, she’s still just one person. So, we recently began a search to find her some help.

As we were seeking a new person to help on a part-time basis with technical support and customer service, we knew we were looking for some one with a special set of talents:

  • Knowledge about our products,
  • Knowledge about our subject field (the Bible, mobile computing, etc.),
  • Excellent written communication skills,
  • Ability to follow instructions,
  • Desire to help our customers,
  • And, finally, patience, because (as difficult as it might be to believe) sometimes the frustrations of an unexpected problem can bring additional challenges to a support situation.

Knowing that we were looking for some one special, we chose to advertise for our part-time position in three venues:

  1. craigslist
  2. our local newspaper
  3. here at this blog

Additionally, in order to test written communication skills and the ability to follow instructions, the application process included some very specific instructions.

For some (as yet unknown) reason, the ad never appeared on craigslist. So, we didn’t receive any applicants from that source.

The ad in our local newspaper did generate some responses. However, none of these applicants followed the specific instructions that we provided. As a result, these applicants didn’t receive any of our attention. After all, if one cannot follow the application details, how will one perform at a detail-oriented job? (Hint: if you ever apply for a position with Laridian, or even as a beta tester, make sure you follow all of the provided instructions. That’s always our first filter, and it is surprisingly effective.)

Fortunately, the article here in our blog did generate interest from several interested and qualified persons. Many, but not all, followed the instructions, and thus made it past the first step. The remaining applicants were all strong candidates. Plus, most were also customers, and therefore already had knowledge of our products.

The second step was a brief questionnaire, sent to each remaining applicant. The questionnaire was designed to further explore written communication skills as well as to obtain more information than what had been originally asked for.

The third step was to further filter our qualified applicants. Craig and I independently reviewed the resumes and responses, then independently ranked the applicants based upon our own individual criteria. When we compared our results, we found that while our rankings weren’t exactly the same, we did seem to be in general agreement.

For the fourth step, I then conducted telephone interviews with the top few applicants. During a 60 to 90 minute conversation, we discussed the company, the position, and the candidate.

The result? If you need to contact us for assistance, you might still be fortunate to be assisted by Patty. But if not, you’ll probably be fortunate to be assisted by Brett. Brett has been an ardent Laridian customer for several years and is excited about the future of mobile computing and its impact on Bible study.

Plus, we learned that “advertising” here in our blog is an effective way to seek candidates for job openings. You all are a remarkably qualified and diverse group!

ESV Study Bible Clarification

Posted on: February 2nd, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

There has been some confusion about the status of the ESV Study Bible for PocketBible/MyBible. We frequently get asked when it will be done. The answer is we don’t know, because we’re not doing the development work for it.

As you know, Laridian is the only mobile Bible software company that offers a complete publishing solution that allows the owners of Bibles and Bible reference materials to self-publish in our format, and we’re one of very few non-mobile Bible software companies to do so. When we were approached by Crossway to publish the ESV Study Bible notes, one of the options we presented to them was self-publishing using BookBuilder. This was the option they chose.

In order to save the time and effort of learning our system, Crossway is actually using a third-party to create this product. The company doing the work is one that we also use. They know our system inside and out and have tools that make it easier for them to publish books for us than it would be for Crossway to do it on their own.

The result of all this is that we aren’t in control of the schedule for this product. We hear it’s coming soon. Unfortunately not everyone at Crossway (and maybe not even everyone at Laridian) understands how this project is being done, so there’s been some confusion when customers contact them (or us) and ask about the status. So this is the official word: This is a Crossway project, not a Laridian project. We hear it will be done “soon” but don’t know the exact schedule. When it is done, we’ll post a message here on the blog and send out an email to all our customers to let them know. You’ll be able to purchase it right here at the Laridian Web site.

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