Interview with Charles Warner

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by The Sandman, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

    Charles Warner is the President of Invision Power Services. Several months ago Charles answered some questions for an interview with us. I had planned to do some follow up qustions but somehow it fell through the cracks and we never got around to it. Rather than delay any longer I've decided to release it in its current form. :)


    Can you give as a brief bio?

    I am 24 years old and was born in Torrington, Connecticut. I moved to Virginia about 11 years ago with my family. I have two older sisters who love to give the other staff of IPS interesting bits of childhood embarrassments to annoy me with.

    What would you want to do for a living if you weren't the President of IPS?

    More than likely I would be a meteorologist. Many of my coworkers find great amusement in my fascination with weather.

    What are your favorite books? Movies? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages?

    I rarely watch movies. I read quite often and the subjects range from Consumer Reports to history and mathematics. My latests trend is reading all I can on language history.

    What do you drive?

    VW Jetta at the moment. I am trading it in soon though.

    What do you consider as your accomplishments up to this point?

    Probably the success of IPS. In the begining it was touch and go, as any new business tends to be. It took a little over a year to truly stabalize the company.

    Any failures you'd like to tell us about?

    And ruin my image?

    What is your opinion on the open source vs proprietary software debate in general? What about forum software specifically?

    I am not sure there is a debate as much as there is a difference of view. Both open source and proprietary software have their uses and target market. We use a good mix here and it really depends on what you're doing if an open source product exists that is developed and supported well enough or if you might need to pruchased a proprietary product.

    How do you see the internet in general changing over the next 5 to 10 years? What about online communities in particular?

    I believe online communities will become the norm around the Internet. The majority of people either hardly use the Internet (just for email, weather, and news) or live and breath it. The latter group will be those that continue to drive the community movement.

    Tell us about the formation of Invision Power Services.

    It was quite an eventful first month. When Matt and I decided to branch off on our own and start IPS that decision was certainly not taken lightly. We knew that not only would we be risking our personal worth but also that the Internet can be unforgiving. Everyone has seen people start new projects with lofty plans only to lost interest a few months later. We knew we had to work hard in the begining to secure the future.

    What's new at IPS?

    Our new offices are quite nice. The upstairs is finished so our support staff will soon move up there. We have quite an elaborate wiring procedure to ensure no downtime. Not to mention we will be making the staff lug their own computers up the stairs. I will sip lemonade during this time. Perhaps even provide commentary.

    Give us your perspective on IPB 2.1.

    Matt has done a great job with IPB 2.1. It contains many features and improvements that our customers have been asking for. Many of our largest customers cannot wait to upgrade. We have had some high-end customers waiting for certain features for months because they really wanted to use our software but it was missing one feature.

    How is the development and integration of the other IPS products going?

    Quite rapidly, actually, with Josh and now Adam taking programming load off Matt. We have many products that are in development that we have chosen not to announce. While there are certainly advantages in getting interest going in a product before it is released, we've chosen to keep some a secret so we can avoid the constant "when when when" topics. Suffice it to say that, when some of these products are finally announced, they will be released very soon after.

    Describe your typical workday schedule. Surely there's more to being President than paying bills and signing checks.

    My typical work day varies depending on the time of the month. It's generally suggested not to bother me on the first of the month as I pay all the bills and become grumpy at all the red markings in the balance sheets. After that I am known as an incredibly cheerful person. I can provide paid actors to testify to that fact.

    Other than that I take a lot of sales calls and I am currently working on some site reorganization.

    Any truth to the rumors that you lock Matt in a basement while he's coding upcoming releases?

    I do waterproof the basement first. Lifetime warranty on a dry floor no less.

    You haven't been very active on the IPS Company Forums lately - how come?

    I rarely post on our forums or any forums for that matter. I am not too social online which is surprising considering what I do. I'm much better at communicating in person. Anyone who has ever conversed with me over IM for any time then spoken to me on the phone is surprised when I go beyond one-word replies.

    There have been a few instances of IPB users claiming to be treated poorly by IPS, of being censored or banned from the Company Forums, for making negative comments about Invision. Clearly, this represents a small subset of your community, but nevertheless a vocal one. Do you have any comments on this issue?

    As with anything, there are two sides to every story but I cannot comment on any specific incident because of our privacy policy. With that said, it is our policy to not ban any visitor to our forum unless they directly violate a posted policy or customers complain to management that a vistor is disrupting their experience. We take it very seriously when customers complain about a visitor disrupting their use of our forums.

    Another complaint I hear regarding Invision involves the move away from free software. Can you explain the changes that took place and the reasons behind them?

    We did extensive polling and reseach before deciding to go completely commercial. The vast majority of customers responded they would prefer totally commercial products so the company would have the resources for development and support they desired. Moving away from free to commercial has indeed allowed us to improve in all areas and develop many new prodcuts along with improvements to existing products. Many people do not seem to realize that it costs money to develop and support even free products.

    What are your thoughts on blogging? Do you have a blog? Will blogging become more popular or will it fade away?

    Blogging is a great medium and I enjoy reading a blog here and there on the Internet. I had a blog a few months ago but quickly lost interest.

    It will definately grow in popularity. As with anything it will need some evolution to become more mainstream but it is already heading in that direction.

    What is your favorite vacation spot?

    Las Vegas. Where else?

    What do you know now that you wish you'd known 10 years ago?


    Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.

    Cats terrify me.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. TheNakedMan

    TheNakedMan Former vB Customer

    awesome read.

    Sounds like a good guy to work with
  3. DomainMagnate

    DomainMagnate Enthusiast

    Yes, very interesting, useful and funny :)
  4. Nbleven

    Nbleven Think Different.

    Great interwiew... fun article!
  5. Jambo

    Jambo Neophyte

    Nice interview Charles! :)
  6. phoenixdown21

    phoenixdown21 The Man with the Plan

    That was an interesting read.
  7. WiZu

    WiZu eXcommunity Founder

    It was... nice. He sounded sort of 'mean' to me, dunno why.
  8. Tha Champ

    Tha Champ Enthusiast

    Any truth to the rumors that you lock Matt in a basement while he's coding upcoming releases?

    I do waterproof the basement first. Lifetime warranty on a dry floor no less.


    Great! :p
  9. MrDiaz

    MrDiaz Planet Diaz admin

    hey he sounds like an awesome guy. I hope I can meet with him sometime.
  10. LinLinoz

    LinLinoz Aspirant

    Yep, Cats scare me too.

    Infact, anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber....
  11. Davidcam12

    Davidcam12 Neophyte

    It's really interesting..Charles is terrified by Cats...It's too funny...great experience...I hope we will get more next time...:tup:
  12. HallofFamer

    HallofFamer Habitué

    umm IPB should've always stayed as a freeware, or simply served as a paid-ware right from the beginning. I can see how many customers left when Invisionfree 1.3 turned into a paid service when IPB upgraded to version 2.0.

    CMOBOSS Devotee

    Great read. another informative, and yet comical interview. Thanks Howard ;) (and of course Charles... )
  14. DaveL

    DaveL Habitué

    How long ago did they introduce pricing??? That was many many years ago and IPB is now a completly different product to what it was back then.
    IPB is worth its price tag.