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Meet Gabriel Richards of Endertech in Torrance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Richards.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been a computer geek since I was a 14-year-old boy in 1992 and inherited a used 8088 PC from my uncle. I spent the summer before my freshman year tearing that computer apart, rebuilding it, and connecting to the early networks of the time, Compuserve… Prodigy… AOL… and the early Internet… anyone remember Gopher?

I first turned my computer hobby into a business when I was 17, starting Pennywise PC Consulting… through which I built and sold computers to people, then tutored them on usage.

Soon I went to college at UC Irvine… but not as a computer science major… rather, a philosophy major! I’ve always loved deep thinking… pondering the meaning of life and the nature of existence… but within about 2 years had discovered that this would not be the path to a happy and stable economic existence!

I had spent some time working as an intern for Merrill Lynch exploring my interest in finance… but soon discovered that I’d prefer not to claw that corporate ladder. An influential uncle of mine was an entrepreneur out of Phoenix and I preferred his lifestyle… self-reliant, in control of his own destiny… and in control of his own time.

So I left Merrill Lynch and leveraged my computer skills to get a part-time job on-campus as a Computer Resource Specialist for the campus wide Honors Program, of which I was a member.

In that position, I had responsibility to manage the program’s admissions database and its website, and soon learned to combine database and web technology to build content management systems and other advanced database-driven web-based programs.

Considering how the Internet was exploding during this period (1998 – 2002), I figured I could take my talent for developing advanced websites and make a business out of it, and hence Endertech was born. The name came from the character Ender in the book Ender’s Game, a fabulous science fiction story that my uncle Earl from Phoenix had given me to read as a boy.

It took 2-3 years of grinding it out… cold calling businesses out of the yellow pages to get opportunities… building sites for super cheap… until finally I developed enough of a clientele to open an office and go full-time. Shortly thereafter, we got good SEO position in Google and larger organizations started finding us.

Things have just grown organically from there and by now we’ve built just about any kind of website or web application you can imagine. Today we employ 22 people internationally, including 15 here in our Los Angeles area office, and other core team members in both Vietnam and Ukraine.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The experience of operating a business for 17 years is sure to have its ups and downs.

I’m glad so say the general trend has always been up… but there have been dips.

Generally, the biggest struggles center around times when a big project ends and we have to move our resources on to new projects. Although it always seems as if there is something new around the corner… sometimes that corner can require a lengthy walk… so maintaining the payroll while the next opportunity brews can create stress.

Of course, like any mature business, I’ve also dealt with untimely turnover. A key employee quitting with little notice can wreak havoc on a project schedule and thus a relationship with a client. So those can be stressful times.

What I’ve learned over the years however, is that patient, wise hiring decisions can help mitigate both of these situations and smooth out the bumps in the road.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Endertech story. Tell us more about the business.
Endertech specializes in advanced web & software development for small and mid-sized businesses.

We operate four divisions: Design, Software, E-Commerce, and Cloud.

These divisions complement each other as many projects require services across all four, so we can really give our clients and end-to-end design, development, and support partner for their online initiatives.

I think that Endertech is distinct in Los Angeles for its ability to handle very custom and complex web application design & development, considering our small size. For a company of only about 20, we have a really high-powered ability to tackle unique business requirements and craft high quality, elegant solutions.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I was born in Los Angeles… so that’s huge luck right there…. and then I was born to two parents who loved me so much that I was able to develop a real confidence in myself… that’s big luck too.

I then had my uncle in Arizona show me what it meant to be an entrepreneur and how that lifestyle could be rewarding… more luck.

Once I started buckling down and getting to work… I think luck became less of a factor and Endertech began making its own luck by simply doing good work.


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