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I met John whilst painting murals for The Magic Wave and Blue Dream hostel. At first we became ‘friendly acquaintances’ as he was generally popping in to see the owners, but I didn’t know exactly what he helped with. Turns out he is the man behind the organisation! Making life that little bit easier for the people who run these busy places. John popped into Phanganist to explain more about what he does on the island.
What is your Phangan story?
It’s a long story. I was in France working for a distribution company, I was chief manager there. It was just a nine to five job, I did that for two years. It was a crazy job so after those two years I became crazy! I just realised it was not the job for me, or the life. And so, I decided to move on. I took my bicycle by plane to relax in Cambodia, I did all of Cambodia with my bicycle so afterwards I felt very relaxed but also tired, so I decided to buy a motorbike!
I travelled Vietnam and Laos by motorbike then afterwards I arrived in Bangkok in order to work and find a job. I stayed six months, it was just holiday really as I didn’t find anything suitable. I came to Koh Phangan to check out the Full Moon party, I arrived at Blue Dream instantly on the first day I made good friends with Jeremie the owner. I was just going to stay three days but stayed three weeks.
One day Jeremie was doing his accounting, it was all thai style, lots of bills and mess and he was a bit lost, so I said, ‘why don’t you use software?, it is a lot more easier’. He told me that this was difficult to find here on the island, he knew nothing about this kind of software. I told Jeremie that we could make a deal, I can make some software for him and his business, and when it is finished, he would find me my first three customers.
I knew nothing about the hotel or restaurant business, so Jeremie and I developed the software together. I have the technical skills and he has the ideas. Now we have something good.
I then went back to Bangkok to leave my apartment then came back to koh phangan because I felt the good opportunity of this business.
What happened when you came back, is this when the business started?
Not straight away, it was when the development started, a long labour of just development and trying many things. I was lucky because I was able to try the software in Blue Dream so I was able to make something that corresponded to the need of a guest house or hotel.
How did the business start?
After I finished the development, although I am always improving on it, it was really easy to start because some of Jeremie’s friends came and saw the software working and were interested in it. I made demonstrations, Jeremie spoke and the first deals were done.
Who were you first three clients?
The Magic Wave, Beach Bed and Bar and Ringside. But my first customer who actually Jeremie did not find, was found by a friend of mine who is now one of my salesmen. It was an Indian restaurant in Pattaya.
Why the name Spinaal Technology?
Because the spinal cord is the centre of the body, the information in the body. So Spinaal Technology came because that software is the centre and platform of any business.
What does the technology enable businesses to do?
It can manage your hotel, booking, checking in and out, all the payments and orders. The cool thing is the software is connected to the main website booking so you don’t have to go to it. Everything is automatic, you gain a huge amount of time! You can also manage a bar, taking orders, there is a specific function with that where I created an electronic tag reader, each customer gets a tag, like a key and they can pay at the end of their stay. You can manage stock, make the accounting, purchases and get plenty of statistics and reports.
Although this takes up a lot of your time, what do you do in your free time?
Working and partying! It has been two years of working working working, but I’m a perfectionist, until I reach what I want then I will continue working, I cannot stop. I want to make my customers happy, and if they have a good idea I try to do it. I do assistance and updates with my clients. Provide all the material, touch screen computers, receipt printers, tag readers, anything. When I go to party I think Eden garden is my favourite. I am lucky with my job as I can move, not just stay on Phangan but Phuket, Krabi and Pattaya so I can travel, I don’t consider my job boring.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Doing more development of the software and turnover. I want to go all around Thailand and maybe outside to start to look for business partners and I just want to make my work my baby.
What is your life philosophy?
Day by day, only work can pay.