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Bootstrapping Using Services From Atlanta: PMG Founders Joe LeCompte and Robert Castles (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 6th 2015

Adding to our roster of Bootstrapping Using Services case studies, here’s PMG from Atlanta.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Tell us a bit about where you come from, where you were born and raised, and in what kind of background.

Robert Castles: I was born in Columbia, South Carolina. I spent the first half of my life there through to college. I have always been interested in technology as early as I can remember. When I was 11 years old, I begged my father for a Radio Shack Color Computer so that I could take it home and learn how to program. This is while all my friends were looking for baseball mitts, which I also like. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for that computer, which I got.

My dad then helped me get a job at 15 to write software for a small insurance company. I helped them out. They had a bunch of bad data and my job was to fix their data. I enjoyed that very much. It was a great opportunity. That set my life path moving forward.

Sramana Mitra: What timeframe are we talking about here? What kind of a computer were you playing with?

Robert Castles: The first that I’ve played with and cut my teeth on learning programming was that Radio Shack Color Computer. He did get it for me. I think I had to wait for my twelfth birthday.

Sramana Mitra: What year was that?

Robert Castles: That was 1983.

Sramana Mitra: The reason I’m asking is I’m trying to get a sense of what kinds of computers we’re talking about.

Robert Castles: These were pretty old computers with 4K of memory. The paid job was on an IBM computer. I had moved up to IBM GW-BASIC. That was when I got my first paid job.

Sramana Mitra: What about college?

Robert Castles: I did go to University of South Carolina and graduated with a Computer Science degree, exactly the same as my father.

Sramana Mitra: What about you Joe?

Joe LeCompte: I was born in Chicago. I went to school at Rice University in Houston and got a Mechanical Engineering degree. After graduating, I went into the chemical industry doing research and development. I did a lot in polyethylene and polypropylene. After a few years, I started looking for some different opportunities and went to one of our biggest customers down here at Atlanta. I went from the chemical industry to the packaging industry. We produced flexible packaging for companies like Frito Lay and Coca Cola.

Right around 2000, I realized that I wasn’t very excited about what I was doing and started looking around for different jobs. I was getting excited about hearing all these things about the Internet. Through a friend of a friend, I was introduced to Robert. I took my secure corporate job and decided that I would leverage that into a 50% pay cut and join PMG as a project manager.

Sramana Mitra: You said your friend introduced you to Robert. Robert, at that stage you had already started PMG?

Robert Castles: That’s correct.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you start PMG?

Robert Castles: I started PMG in 1997.

Sramana Mitra: What was the concept of PMG? What was your thinking?

Robert Castles: Way back then, we wanted to build web applications for businesses at the same timeframe when there were a lot of companies building websites.

Sramana Mitra: So this was a service company?

Robert Castles: Yes, completely services based.

Sramana Mitra: Based in South Carolina?

Robert Castles: No, we were at Atlanta at that time.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services From Atlanta: PMG Founders Joe LeCompte and Robert Castles
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