Dylan Marsh of Fyrware
Meet Dylan Marsh, founder of Fyrware
, a software development startup.
What is Fyrware?
Fyrware, LLC is a progressive software development startup located in Youngstown Ohio. We specialize in innovating user interfaces and re-imagining the way companies work with technology. Fyrware, LLC has five full-time employees and two interns. We’re located in the Youngstown Business Incubator
(YBI) building and operate out of an office suite that houses four of those people. The others are remote employees.
Our main product, nSpyre, is a completely real-time workflow toolkit. nSpyre tackles some of the most critical issues facing business development, such as managing remote and in-house staff, enforcing trust between employees and management, exposing visibility all the way down to code, and much more. Our product is delivered as a cloud application geared towards technology companies. nSpyre allows businesses to control remote staff like never before. Since our interface is completely real-time, we are giving managers a first glimpse at even the very small changes performed around the globe within seconds. Employees may collaborate on documents, code files, work tasks, sprint management, and more. Forget manual TPS (Testing Procedure Specification) reporting and old-fashioned time sheets. nSpyre takes care of everything so your employees can get back to work.
One of the most impressive features of our product is seamless touch support. This will allow companies to place kiosks around their offices; so all employees can interact with the interface in a more collaborative fashion. It doesn't matter if an employee is at the office, home, or even across the planet. nSpyre keeps you connected regardless of
existing tools and version control systems.
How did you come up with the idea?
The most frustrating experience as a developer is finding the perfect productivity tool. We were in this boat as developers and have decided to break away from manual reporting and drab interfaces. We had looked at many different tools, but all seemed lacking in important areas: automatic updating, operating in real-time, burndown charts with auto-updating, collaboration tools and methods, etcetera. Before we knew it, nSpyre was born.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
Everything you try to do costs more and takes longer than your highest estimate. It is appalling just how much it takes in cash resources to do even simple things like whiteboards, which are way more expensive than one can imagine. Waiting for people to get back to us, waiting for answers from others -- all of this added days and weeks to what we thought should have been hours.
Where did you find your first employee?
The YBI helped me find our CEO, Ralph Zerbonia. They gave me a few names and set it up so I could interview them and make my selection. I interviewed three off this list and found that Zerbonia had a strong startup track record, was personable and compatible with my views of how I wanted the business to be run, and respected that even though I was much younger, my skills and work methods were quite developed. He could see what I was saying from the start. If it were not for the YBI, I don't know that I would have had the same quality of selection that I found in the list provided.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
It’s a lot of coding, discussions and meetings with coders and management. Late hours.
When you are trying to keep equity, you do many things yourself. Ralph Zerbonia and I decided early on that we could accomplish our goals without diluting our stock ownership. So there were no tasks that we weren't prepared to do, saving our funds for programmer employees.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Youngstown?
Low cost of living and housing with big city amenities. Workers here have a great work ethic. People here put in a full day’s work-plus. They enjoy learning and doing, which in a startup is critical. Youngstown and its surrounding suburbs are a family-oriented community that believes in education, and provides major amenities for a family to grow in many different ways. The community boasts one of the nation's largest metropolitan parks with Mill Creek Park
, several colleges operate within the city and outlying areas, including Youngstown State University
, Eastern Gateway Community College
and Kent State University
. We are truly blessed with cultural activities and venues, such as the Butler Institute of American Art
, McDonough Museum
, The Arms Family Museum
, and Stambaugh
Auditoriums along with our newest venue, the Covelli Centre
This is a community that has an entrepreneurial spirit and has learned collaboration as a means of living and thriving. Recently we had the new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) established in a building owned by the YBI right behind us. This is an effort between the Federal Government and 30 leading manufacturers, including McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, NASA and Hewlett Packard to name just a few. Our Federal, State and local leaders are good people who get it and make things happen for the community.
What resources or organizations in Youngstown did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The Youngstown Business Incubator provided a space to grow the business among other high-tech companies on their campus, some financial assistance and loads of support, both staff and technical as well as sound business advice and assistance. Youngstown State University continues to be a good source of talent and expertise to us.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Our CEO is 60 and I was 20-years old when I hired him. People often mistake us for father and son, or worse yet, grandfather and grandson. We often walk together around downtown and often have people mistake our relationship. It makes for an interesting view of people and how they treat you based on who they think you are.
What inspires you?
I am inspired everyday by our employees and connections. People are so helpful and caring in our network. We never could have done this without the support we got from the local community and agencies.
What founders do you admire and why?
Bruce Perens is one my favorite founders, because of my deep roots with the Open Source community. We are dedicated Debian users at the office and we release our product completely free for Open Source projects. Fyrware works heavily with Open Source software and ultimately owes a debt to the founding fathers of this global initiative. Additionally, people like Ralph and Jim Cossler have been able to give our organization the wealth of experience and knowledge and connections they possess, in large part allowing us to do the necessary work with confidence that we are not alone.
Interview by Joe Baur