Club Alan: Seiden Signs Liam, Corners Youth Market
April 29, 2019 Alex Woodie
The Seiden Group solidified its position in the futures market this month by signing the young British-born IBM i phenom Liam Allan to a long-term employment contact that will see him involved in training and open source development work, among other activities.
Allan’s signing with Seiden Group is a reunion of sorts for Allan and Alan Seiden, the company’s founder and CEO. Allan credits Seiden with roping him into the IBM i gig via Club Seiden, an intersectionalist group devoted to exploring emerging digital and social connections involving the IBM i operating system and the open source ecosystem.
“The real reason I’m even in this industry is because of Alan,” Allan tells IT Jungle in an exclusive interview. “A guy named PHP Dave – he has a different name now, but that’s how I met him – invited me to Club Seiden. That’s how I met Trevor Perry and people of the like, through that group.”
Allan’s whirlwind career on IBM took off following that fateful day four years ago. Allan was an original Fresh Faces of IBM i member back in 2017, and since then has worn the mantle of an IBM Champion.
The addition of the 22-year-old Allan to Seiden’s roster gives the Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey consulting company no fewer than three Fresh Faces and four IBM Champions – a veritable smorgasbord of young and famous IBM i talent.
Also calling Seiden home are other Fresh Face alumni Stephanie Rabbani and Josh Hall, “and other people you haven’t heard of but who are also great. They’re all great,” Seiden says. “The highest percentage of IBM Champions of any company, pound for pound.”
Amid the graying IBM i installed base, youth is rare, but it’s a marketable commodity at Seiden. Does the company have an obligation to share the riches with IBM i vendors that have been less fortunate? Seiden passes.
“There’s a lot of fresh faces,” he offers. “There’s definitely a youthful feeling to what we’re doing at Seiden Group. We’re able to bridge the cultural divide between the newer and veteran developers, I’d say.”
There’s something to the Seiden Group formula that attracts these younger thinkers, the PHP-on-IBM i guru suggests. It has to do with the integration of open source into a traditional IBM i ecosystem, and the spirit of discovery and learning.
“And even the fun that we bring to a serious business,” Seiden says. “We always want to build and share knowledge, and also be social and be friends.”
The social side of Seiden Group was on display with RPG Five, the funk-blues fusion band that features Seiden, Rabbani, Steve Will, Ted Holt, and Jorge Diaz. (It’s a little known fact that Allan, whose music preferences trend a bit heavier, managed the sound boards for the group.)
“It’s very laid back,” Allan says of life at Seiden Group, “but we get the job done.”
All joking aside, Allan is already involved in some substantial projects at Seiden Group. He’s involved in one engagement to migrate a production system to IBM i using Node.js. And more work is undoubtedly on the way.
“We found our clients to be very enthusiastic about working with him,” Seiden offers. “He gets very quick and effective results at the same time the clients feel motivated and inspired to go further.”
Michael Privett, director of IT at Southeastern Paper Group, had good things to say about Allan following a three-day training session with the young IT professional.
“Liam is great!” Privett says in a Seiden Group press release. “He’s smart as a whip and a very impressive consultant who performs well beyond his years. My team is staying engaged. I see excitement. Good call to have hired someone with his abilities!”
Seiden offered some high praise for the young developer. “In just a few years, Liam has accomplished more than many people achieve in their entire careers,” Seiden says in the press release.
“You have to pace yourself,” Seiden said during the IT Jungle interview. “Don’t’ get all your dreams achieved too quickly. You have to save some.”
Allan doesn’t seem to mind. He says he was attracted to Seiden Group because it gave him the freedom to try new things and to meet new people (he previously was associated with Profound Logic, where IT Jungle editor/RPG Five banjoist Holt still hangs his keyboard).
“It lets me try new things, most specifically, that hasn’t really been done in the industry before. As Alan said, there’s job security in that. Times are changing. I imagine I’ll be in it for the long run,” he says. “I enjoy the people I work with. They’re a great bunch of people. The social side of it is helpful.”
“He’s been a great friend,” Seiden says. “He’s been advancing the state of the art of what’s possible on IBM i and opening people’s eyes.”