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Man on a mission

It all started back in high school when Brian Voss created a tracking database using FileMaker guided by a “How-To” FileMaker book. Today he directs product development at a top FileMaker consultancy based in New York City.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What was your path toward becoming a FileMaker Developer?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: It was definitely a winding journey. I’ve always been around computers. I remember playing on a computer as young as six or seven. But I never thought of technology as a career, it was always just a hobby.

    After high school I spent several months in East Africa teaching math and deferred my enrollment to New York University (NYU) in New York City. Then after I came back to the States I started working at my parents’ machine shop and experimented with FileMaker to manage documents. They manufacture large cast iron parts for agricultural and mining equipment, so there was a lot of documentation. After a few months of that I moved to New York and took on a multidisciplinary major with a focus on globalization and urbanism.

    While in college I applied for an internship at aACE Software, which provides medium-sized businesses with a FileMaker-based business management solution. From sales to fulfillment to inventory to accounting it touches every major aspect of an organization. The founder, Michael Bethuy, hired me and became a mentor who accelerated my FileMaker training by dropping me right into the thick of it, working with clients to solve their problems.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: How did you learn FileMaker?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: I jumped right into it by building that document management system for my parents. No official training, just a book I bought at Barnes & Noble and a set of specifications from my parents. It took about six months before I was proficient, and I’ll say the initial iteration of my database wasn’t the most elegant, but I worked out all the kinks, and 10 years later that database is still being used.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What do you like most about your career?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: FileMaker satisfies a natural curiosity and a desire to genuinely help others. I can do hands-on consultation and solve problems at the same time. I’m not a traditional business consultant, nor am I a traditional programmer. I span both worlds, and I love that.

    Also, unlike most other careers I think FileMaker development not only allows you to pursue your hobbies, but pursuing your hobbies lets you be a better developer. In my case I’m an avid reader, and I often come up with some of my most creative solutions after reading something entirely unrelated to the problem at hand.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What types of solutions have you built during your career?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: At aACE Software, our core accounting, CRM, and ERP solution serves as a foundation for being able to quickly implement real solutions for clients. aACE and FileMaker allows me to tweak the solution to meet the unique needs of our clients. Sometimes that means adding a field to an order entry interface that helps them serve their own customers better. Other times that means taking data that’s already there and building a report that helps them make long term strategic decisions for their own businesses.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What do you like most about FileMaker?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: FileMaker is the only platform I know of that lets me quickly and efficiently solve our clients’ business problems using technology. I could have gone to business school and become a management consultant. Or I could have gotten a degree in computer science and become programmer. With FileMaker I get to do both, and there’s nothing more fulfilling than the second-hand sense of relief our clients get when we’ve lifted a major burden from their shoulders.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: How long did it take you to build a successful career?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: I’m only 28 years old, but I’m old enough to know that success is a moving target. At this point I have a good paying job that lets me live comfortably in Brooklyn and still lets me pursue my many interests, like cooking and mixing cocktails. That alone takes others well into their 30s, so I like to think I’m pretty successful.

  • FileMaker

    FileMaker: What advice would you give to others considering becoming FileMaker Developers?

  • Brian Voll

    Voll: Don’t cut corners. Put in the extra effort to be proud of all the work that you do. Trust me, it’ll pay dividends in the end.

FileMaker developers like me are passionate about hands-on consulting and rapid problem-solving.
- Brian Voll, Director of Product Development, aACE Software
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