Happy Anniversary to Us

Posted on: October 21st, 2008 by Craig Rairdin 17 Comments

It was ten years ago today that Laridian was incorporated. Time flies!

I started working on Bible software for Windows CE in April of 1998 while I was still at Parsons Technology. Parsons had decided it wasn’t interested in software for PDAs. That didn’t really matter since the sale of Parsons to Broderbund in 1997 had accidentally left me under no non-compete nor any intellectual property agreement of any kind. So I was free to launch a Bible software company even though it looked a little questionable.

(Interestingly, this would get tested in 2002 when the stockholders of Mattel sued Mattel and its executives over the lack of due diligence in the purchase of The Learning Company, which at the time was the owner of Parsons Technology. I was a witness for the plaintiffs (the shareholders) and was deposed for a day and a half. A team of lawyers went through my notebooks and phone logs covering the last couple years I was at Parsons. When they discovered I had started Laridian before leaving Parsons they really dug in — looking for a way to discredit my testimony. They were unable to find any evidence of any wrong-doing on my part, and eventually the shareholders won the suit and received several million dollars from Mattel.)

We incorporated on October 21, 1998 and our first sale was on November 28, 1998. I resigned from Parsons on December 11. Jeff Wheeler and Jim VanDuzer followed me in January.

The product now known as PocketBible for Windows Mobile was our first product. At the time it was called PalmBible and Windows Mobile was called Windows CE. Sometime in 1999 or 2000 some idiot at the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Palm, Inc. a trademark on the word “Palm” pretty much in any imaginable context. Palm started flexing its newly found power and threatened everyone using the word “Palm” in the title of their software. We received a letter saying we needed to change the name of our product. Microsoft had just come out with a new type of device it was calling “Pocket PC” and promised not to trademark the word “Pocket”, so PalmBible became PocketBible.

We didn’t know anything about electronic commerce at the time. Parsons sold a lot of products through its Web site but none of us were involved in the technical implementation of online sales so we didn’t know where to start. Fortunately Bob Parsons had started a Web hosting company in Phoenix by then so we called him up and had his company implement our Web store. As is normal with such things they did about 90% of it and called it good. We had to finish up a number of things, but that ended up being a good thing because it forced me to learn how the site worked and how to write VBScript and SQL.

Laridian was then and has remained a virtual company. We’ve never had office space; we all work from home. For a long time we sold our products only through the Web site, and only by download. So there wasn’t any inventory. We even provided our own computers for the first couple years (and worked without a salary), so the company didn’t even have any physical assets.

Over time that has changed a little bit. For a long time we distributed our physical products through distribution partners but we got burned three times by three different companies. So now that’s all handled in-house. Our “warehouse” is a storage garage, and we make trips there as necessary to replenish the stock of products one of us keeps at home for direct orders, or to put together larger orders for stores. (We sell our iPocketBible audio Bibles through Christian bookstores. Right now those are our only physical products.)

We’ve all had to make adjustments in our homes to work full-time from home. I had a small 9′ x 12′ office off our family room when the company first started, but I quickly outgrew it and needed more storage and work space. We ended up building an addition on the house so I could have a bigger space (and better sound-proofing). Now I have about a 14′ x 20′ office with a small storage room attached. This works great as I’m completely isolated from the rest of the house. This is important because we taught our five kids at home so there was always a lot of activity during the day. The kids were good about letting me work, but they still made a lot of noise. (My oldest three are married and out of the house now; the youngest two go to the Christian school run by our church.)

I worked ten years and two months for Parsons Technology, and that was my longest time at one job. In March I’ll have been working full-time for Laridian for that long. I think we’ve accomplished a lot and hope to keep doing it for another ten or more. We all appreciate those of you who have made us your PDA Bible software source over the years. You’re a big part of what makes it fun to do this job. Thanks for ten great years!

17 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Congratulations, Craig. Interesting to read the history of Laridian. I don’t think I’ve ever come across that before. I would agree that you’ve accomplished quite a bit in the last 10 years, especially with the number of changes in the mobile market. I can’t even imagine developing for Windows CE circa 1998. I know that I had a version of PocketBible for my Jornada 720 that was significantly different than the one I later bought for my Windows Mobile device (layout, use of keyboard, etc). I look forward to what the future holds.

  2. Donald says:

    Congratulations, Craig and company! I thank God literally for Laridian. I’ve used several Bible products on my PDAs and PocketBible blows them all away. What I really appreciate is the value for the dollar which no other company comes close to touching. I was overjoyed when the desktop version came out (even though I use Macs, I use the Windows version under Boot Camp) and the synchronisation has always worked flawlessly and is extremely useful. For me, Laridian is the model of what a software company should be like. May God continue to bless you and your co-workers – I look forward to many more years of Laridian!

  3. Victor Toh says:

    Congratulations, happy birthday. Thank God for you… I get into his Word everyday largely with the help of PocketBible.

  4. David Gustafson says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I knew I liked your products but until I read your story I didn’t think of you as a “regular guy” but rather just a big company. It’s a great service you provide and I actually consider your products in deciding what new smartphone I buy. So, I’m assuming you’ll have something for the Android platform in time. Any comments on that?

  5. No news on Android, David. We’ll have to see how it does and if it remains a Java-only platform.

  6. Joel says:

    Congratulations Laridian. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. I think I first bought PB for my Cassiopeia E105 in June of 1999 so I guess next year I’ll be celebrating my 10th anniversary with Laridian….man I’m feeling old!

  7. Wayne Smith says:

    As a user of QuickVerse IV,V,VI on a now ancient PC in the mid-nineties I’ve enjoyed your quality products. I still use the STEP files from QV VI in another compatible PC desktop program.
    The Word of God has become available around the world, being invisible in form as software, but mighty and powerful to bring the Good News daily. Thank you for your honest – open – helpful work and service to spreading the Good News His Kingdom!


  8. Bruce Gilliland says:

    Keep up the good work. Your software came to my attention when I got an old Palm III several years ago, and it was the main reason I moved to a Windows CE PDA a year or so later (more memory and a better screen). With the native iPhone software coming and the new Windows desktop software, PocketBible is clearly the program of choice. If I ever have to get an integrated phone/PDA (iPhone or Smartphone), your software on the device will be the deciding factor.

    PS: I still have my QuickVerse version 4 software around somewhere.

  9. Dale Durnell says:

    Craig, (Jeff, Jim, Patty), et al
    My, has it been that long? Oh, how time flies when you’re having fun. Well, happy birthday to you and as the kid’s song says — “and many more”

  10. Joe T. says:

    Congratulations Craig!
    I’ve been using the Bible software since the Servant Software days on my first Palm. I now use MyBible on my Palm TX as well as the Windows version and could not be happier. As you all have been blessed by God, more so for your Bible software users like me and the rest of us.
    Laridian has and is still being used as a mighty tool in the hand of an almighty and holy God!

  11. Adam Coleman says:

    Congratulations on a great milestone! I installed MyBible on my first Palm, a IIIx, the same day I got it, and have been using MyBible ever since, now on a Palm TX. While Palm boasted thousands of developers, few have managed success on both Palm and Windows handhelds and transitioned to smart phones as well as Laridian. Quite an achievement in itself, not to mention Pocketbible for Windows. (Speaking of which, I am still looking for the version of MyBible that will synch with PocketBible.)

    Congrats again, and may God continue to bless you and yours,

  12. weemeng lee says:

    Wow 10 years already! Congratulations!

    I think I first bought the Palm version and as I upgraded my PDAs/phones, I love the fact tht I only need to buy a reader for the device and can re-use the bibles I’ve bought. It has come to a point that when I got a new PDA/phone, I’d first ask myself if Pocket Bible would run on it.

    The electronic search function has really helped me a lot as I struggle to find the exact verse with my “failing” memory and I can only remember fragments of the verse.

    Please continue your good work.
    Thank you very much!

  13. Ronnie Meek says:

    Congrats! I enjoyed reading your story. I’ve used your software on my old Palm III, my Treo 600 and my T-Mobile Dash (Windows Mobile). I now have a G-1 and am anxiously looking forward to a version for the Android.

  14. Charles McKinnis says:

    Lets see, I used Laridian on my Jornada 680 that I bought in May 1999. I used it to study and take notes in class. When I moved to a Cassiopia E105 upon the death of my 680 I ran it again, and still use it on my T-Mobile MDA.

    I’ve loved using it, and it was really neat to read the background. We home school our kids too.

    I bought an iPod Touch as “just an mp3 player” and love the functionality. Since I’m not on the iPhone cell carrier I will probably buy a G1 when T-Mobile rolls 3G to my area. It is nice to know that when/if an android version comes out I can buy a reader without buying the world.

  15. jack albert says:

    I am purchasing a new palm treo 800w with the windows mobile 6 operating software. I wish there was a way I could call someone to see if I obtain your bible software I can also write notes. I am a writer and make a lot of notes when I study the bible. It looks like I might be able to but just want to contact someone from your company that can tell me yes, no or yes if….

    Thanks and may the next years anniversary be the best ever.

    God bless


  16. You can contact tech support at support@laridian.com and they’d be happy to answer your questions.

    Your question is also answered in the product description you’ll find at our Web site.

    You can, in fact, add your own notes to each verse of the Bible.

  17. Mike Allenbaugh says:

    Have been using Laridian software on Palm devices for years and would not change software for any reason – People at church are used to it too – they ask “How is that worded in the NLT, NIV… whatever – it really gets funny when someone wants to know what it says in Hebrew or Greek and out comes the old Palm TX. The world moves on and I will have to use an Android or Windows device soon – the choice will be made by whichever one will run the laridian software.

    Great Job!!!

©2017 Laridian