The MS Internet Brand acquired by DRP Group
So, lots of people have asked me to write a little bit about what has happened recently with the MS Internet brand being acquired by drpgroup, what it means to customers, what services will be offering, why we did it and so on.
I’ll start with a bit of the background story. MS Internet is named after me, well my initials actually (MS). This name served me well as a hobbyist and free-lance web designer / developer from about 1998. Around 2006 I was studying for a doctorate in NMR (within cancer studies but developing tools so more quantum physics than anything else ) and decided that I was too poor so tried to develop MS Internet at a business. I found a few projects and hired Ben Dunn (still with us and still a talented designer / developer) and we got on with it. I was always short on time because I was trying to do two pretty full time things at once so I tried to make lots of component parts of websites to help make us more efficient. These components became our simple CMS, Starfish1 (www.starfish1.info) and just by being the same price as the competition but offering the CMS as an up-sell we got a lot of business. The fact that the system was designed to make our life easier too was a bonus! Anyway, it turned out that this was a pretty good idea and we ended up with a mountain of work. We then took on Matthew Hayward (sales) and Luke Renfrew (developer) in quick succession, started working on Magento ecommerce sites and also started making iPhone apps. Once we had a strong foundation we just turned to growth. By Q3 2010 we were 14 people which made us one of the largest companies of our type in our area. “Great?”, you’d say. Well yes it was and I’m very proud of what we did. But, I’m a product guy. I like to make things, I like coding, I like innovation. Sure I enjoy networking and plotting global domination and I think I have good comercial sense but I do not enjoy accountancy, HR, administration etc and to be honest all that stuff really stresses me out.
Separate to all this we had been working with drpgroup, in particular through Ben Wallace, director of drpdigitalmedia, providing build services and cover in certain areas like .NET. We had loosely spoken about how great our collective strengths were and I have to say that I felt an undercurrent for a while.
In January I had my viva-voce examination for my doctorate. This is basically a 7 hour face-to-face grilling on your project including a presentation and a page-by-page defence of your thesis. This should be the most stressful day of anyone’s life on face value but because there was so much going on in running MS Internet I actually found it strangely relaxing. On reflection a few days later I decided that I didn’t want the stress any more and I realised that as much fun as the growth had been the job I had was not what I wanted to do with my daily life. I could see that with another load of growth I could step back into products again but I wanted to get back to making products and it wasn’t fair on my family for me to drag them through the same stuff all over again. So, I spoke to Ben and Ben spoke to Dale. Then I spoke to April (FD of drpgroup) A LOT! Then on 4th April 2011 MS Internet became a part of drpgroup.
What does this mean to customers? Well, in some ways not much? we are the same people selling the same products so there is no loss of continuity. One difference is our location. We are not based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham any more. We are now in a very nice 70,000 sq.ft. facility in Hartlebury, near Kidderminster. The biggest difference is that we have a lot more resources now including in house print and video production. Going forward this is hopefully a good move for everyone. I am less stressed out, the MS Internet staff have great facilities and a ton of resources and for the customers the product is getting better and better. So, all in all this has definitely been a positive move all round.