• Essays & Articles
  • Custom Software Development:
    The Village Bank
    (2004 – 2006)

    w: Nelson/Roberto  • p: Nelson/Roberto 

    Custom Software Development:
    The Village Bank
    (2004 – 2006)

    In the spring of 2004, I was working as an intern for The Village Bank in Auburndale, Massachusetts when the Senior Vice President of Lending, Amy Corda, called me into her office. Mrs. Corda was looking for a way to coordinate the sales efforts of the Commercial Lending Department. She explained that her team was having troubles keeping track of the numerous documents that were needed to determine a prospect’s credit worthiness. The lack of organization was causing a lot of confusion and slowing down her team.

    In an attempt to get her team back on track Mrs. Corda had developed a Microsoft Access database to track the information her team needed. She explained that most of the existing software was not very good and lacked the functionality or customization that she was looking for. While the database was helping, Mrs. Corda lacked the program experience to create what she envisioned. Hearing that I had some programming experience she brought me into to see if I would be able to help her with the database.

    After spending some time looking at what she created, and listening to her challenges, I felt confident that this was something I could help her with. I told her that her database was a good start, but to create the program she had in mind, we would have to start from scratch. The only problem was that I had one week left in my internship, after which I would be returning to school. I suggested that I could return in the fall during my next internship to begin working on the database. Mrs. Corda was interested in having me return but was eager to get the development of the database started since her team was struggling to keep up with the workload.

    That’s when I had an idea, my brother in Panama had recently completed his degree in Computer Science. I could hire him to help with the programming while I attended school. Mrs. Corda loved the idea and had me write up a proposal, which the bank quickly accepted. We agreed to weekly meetings at the bank where I would get feedback on our work, and if everything went well, there would be a job for me in fall.

    I spent the summer attending class, meeting with the bank, and managing my brother. Our first iteration of the “commercial pipeline” did not go over so well. While it had everything the bank was looking for people were hesitant to use it. After getting feedback and watching the way, people interacted with what we had built my brother, and I went back to the drawing board. For the second time, we redressed the software from the ground up, using all the feedback we had collected. In our second iteration, we focused on adapting our software to the needs of the individuals who used the database every day, making sure it worked in a way they understood and were happy with. This time the software started to catch on, and in the fall I returned to the bank to formally roll out the database.

    Over the next year, I continued to develop and refine the software. It soon became a critical part of the Commercial Lending department’s work day and helped the team keep pace with the growth they experienced during that period. By the time I left the bank, in the fall of 2006, I had created another database for residential lending, and the Commercial Pipeline had been used to close over 700 loans, representing over $200 million worth of business. The experience taught me that even though I knew nothing about commercial lending, I was capable of building software that could have a huge impact on the business, simply by listening to people’s needs and making sure my program addressed those needs.

    636 words

    7.25.17

    Nelson/RobertoSeparated from my family during El Salvador's civil war, by death and adoption, I was reunited with them at the age of 16. I do entrepreneurial art projects that are meaningful, relevant, and push me creatively.

    p: Nelson/Roberto 

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    Adventures in Web Hosting:
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    (2016 – Present)

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    Nelson/Roberto

    Nelson/Roberto

    My name is Nelson de Witt, but I was born Roberto Coto. Separated from my birth family during El Salvador’s civil war, by death and adoption, I was reunited with them at the age of 16.

    I’m a jack of all trades that has done everything from business process design to video production to server administration to film photography. I’ve run, consulted on, and wrote a book about Crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve taught myself everything from Ruby on Rails to narrative story structure.

    What do all these things have in common?

    I’m a skilled problem solver who can tackle complex issues and find solutions that combine art with outcomes.

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