Behind the List with J. Alejandro Rosado Jr.
CEO of 12:34 MicroTechnologies Inc.
Q: What led you to start your own company and what challenges did you face?
A: Prior to this, I was working for a huge corporation, and it's a totally different environment. Having grown up in Lancaster, speaking to a lot of business owners, small businesses were not being served properly from an IT perspective. It was the right time and niche for me.
I started this company in 1998 by myself and was out doing the work, and the biggest challenge was after about the third year, I needed help because my reputation expanded, and I was suddenly not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. I started to hire several other people, and that led to payroll and insurance policies and all of the other things that go along with a company — all of the stuff you have to do that you don't think about when you go into business for yourself.
12:34 MicroTechnologies serves small to mid-size companies. What is different about the technology needs of these companies?
Our specific niche is businesses that don't have their own IT department, businesses that have less than 50 computers. They try to do it themselves, often somebody in a job that's not related to IT, and they're winging it to try to make the computers work in the business. Long-term, that's not a good approach. So that's sort of our niche, providing complete outsourced IT services to businesses that don't have their own staff. They still need remote access, collaboration, productivity, efficiency.
How do you and your company keep pace with changes in technology?
Every year we go to the Microsoft partner conference. We're one of the few Microsoft partners in Pennsylvania that attend that conference religiously. That gives us a really strong relationship with Microsoft. All the other vendors we work with as well, we attend their events.
Each week, we have a tech meeting where all the technicians get together and share what they did last week and what's coming up and also what's going on in the industry. It's an ongoing challenge, though. It's so different now, because the technology industry has grown faster than any other industry on the planet. The industry in the past 14 years has grown way faster than the previous 20 years before that. Even what we could do just two years ago has greatly expanded over the previous five. Look what you can do with your phone. New industries have popped up overnight, all the apps. You can have the entire Internet in the palm of your hand.
Which makes it fun! We're all geeks, we all love the industry. Everybody loves technology, and that makes it fun for us.
Why is your company's involvement with the Lancaster chapter of SCORE, which provides mentors in business, important to you?
I didn't know when I started the company that SCORE even existed. Knowing everything they do, it would have been nice to know that 10 years ago. I would have done some things differently in the company.
I find their mission very appealing. The small businesses that are coming to them are my customers. It's advantageous to us to be part of that conversation. I want people to start a business and be successful. The more successful they are, the more need they have for technology, and hopefully they're coming to us for that.
How can young minorities be encouraged to become entrepreneurs and business leaders?
One of my favorite sayings is, what would you attempt to do if you weren't afraid, if you knew you couldn't fail? I grew up in an interracial family, so race and being a minority never meant anything to me. Whenever I see racism, I still don't get it.
I think we all have the same opportunities. The biggest challenge is just getting off your butt and doing it. The resources are there, whether it's SCORE or some other organization, to help you get started. I think if you have the right mentality and you're willing to work hard, you can accomplish anything you want to. No one is stopping you but yourself.
About J. Alejandro Rosado Jr.
J. Alejandro Rosado Jr., 41, was one of Central Penn Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2011 and was honored by J.P. McCaskey High School that year as its Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
He said he dropped out of college in the 1990s because only Y2K programming was being taught, not the network engineering education he desired.
Rosado lives in Lancaster and has a 7-year-old son, Xavier. His interests include the arts; he plays alto saxophone in a community band and is involved in local theater and Opera Lancaster. He also enjoys playing chess.