Holland Consulting Shutdown


Effective February 1, 2005, Holland Consulting has started shutting down its current operations for existing clients, and is no longer accepting new clients. I have accepted a full time job, which will prevent me from providing the kind of service my clients have expected from me.


I liked to tell people and tell myself that I grew my business by word of mouth. Unfortunately, in retrospect, that wasn't really true -- virtually my entire client base was built from referrals by people I was in loose partnerships with over the years. There were some referrals, but relatively few. Unfortunately, I have out-lasted all those people who were feeding me leads, and for the last several years, my business has been on a downward slope.

When the opportunity to take a good job with a good company came along, it became pretty clear that this was the right choice to make.

What now?

Effective immediately, you should be looking for a new computer support person for your company. I will still be available until February 27 as usual. After that, I will be working for my new employer. I will do whatever I can to help ease your transition. I have no secrets about how I did what I have done, I will happily answer any questions you or your new service provider has about your existing system.

As a condition of my accepting this job, I requested the ability to deal with emergency problems at existing clients for the next six months to aid in transition. I am happy to report that they were very understanding and immediately agreed to those terms. This gave me very good feelings about my new employer -- I would not have taken the job if they had not met that request.

By "emergency", I mean, your entire office is down and you are in critical need of assistance that your new service provider is not able to provide yet. This does not mean new machine configuration or virus or spyware problems, or your DSL connection has failed.

You can contact me in the same way as before, by calling my normal number, my answering machine will tell you how to contact me (probably by pager), but also leave a message (I'll be working in a basement office, there may be issues with the pager operating reliably, though it has worked in all tests so far).

This does not mean you have six months to not get a new service provider. I expect within a very short period of time, I will be assisting your new service provider, not fixing problems myself.

Couldn't you still take care of us on weekends and evenings?

Practically speaking: no. Your business runs the same time I will be working. My new employer already will be expecting a certain amount of weekend and after-hours work. Plus, to be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to having weekends and after-hours that I know I have free from time to time. I may even take...vacations!

For finding a new support person, I'd recommend talking to your clients, customers, and business associates for referrals to people who do Good Work at a fair price.

What should I expect from a new service provider?

Be advised that a lot of my clients are running very old systems. I have no problems leaving perfectly functional systems in place, but keep in mind, Netware 3.x that many of you are running is over 15 years old, and has been no longer supported by Novell for at least five years, and Netware 4.x is over 10 years old. There aren't too many people who still know Netware 3 or Netware 4 out in the field anymore. You will probably end up having to convert to a new platform, most likely, Windows 2003 Server (most of my clients would not benefit to upgrading to newer versions of Netware -- Netware 6 lost most of the simplicity and rapid-repair I loved about Netware 3). So expect that most people will look at your existing system and say "YUCK!".

You will probably end up paying a new service provider more than you paid me. Windows servers are higher-maintenance, and most service providers are much better about billing than I was. This isn't necessarily a bad thing: you don't need your new service provider to face the same fate I did, anyway. I was really underbilling my clients.

You will also find relatively few people support OpenBSD firewalls, so expect to that your new service provider will probably want to put a new firewall in place (and expect to pay more, unless you can reduce your needs to a simple $50 router, rather than a full-featured firewall.

Again, I will happily help your new service provider with anything they need to know.

What about holland-consulting.net

Well, at this point in time, I am planning on keeping it active and updated with computer security and reliability commentary and OpenBSD support that people have come to expect here.

Holland Consulting home page

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