The video starts with a smiling Chris Lenderman beaming into the camera. Wearing a PacMan t-shirt with a microphone attached to the collar, Chris introduces himself to his YouTube viewership, announcing that esteemed viewers shall learn about “wireless networking with Windows 2000.” He then turns to a Compaq LTE 5380 series laptop, first released in 1996, and the odyssey begins. Over the next 22 minutes, Chris expertly breaks down how to install Windows 2000. While using archaic words such as “CD”, he renders retro webpages and meticulously copies files in a process that would take milliseconds with today’s technology.
For most, this would be a strenuous, even infuriating challenge, but for Chris — eSimplicity’s Practice Director, and one of the numerous liaisons for tech-company Palantir — it’s a way of bringing a casual hobby to the world.
In conjunction with his work with Palantir, Chris’ day-to-day job is suffused with lines of code and extensive programming. He strategically tweaks systems. He makes systems easier to use by removing technical debt. He works in a non-stop environment that demands a high level of focus and a mastery of computer engineering.
But, like many at eSimplicity, Chris is best understood by his personality, background, and enthusiasm. On May 30, 2020, he officially kicked off his YouTube channel, introducing his love of retro computers to the world at large. In the nearly twenty videos posted so far, the viewer sees a different side of Chris — equally focused and technical, but immersed in the world of 90s computers. That same curiosity and creativity makes Chris a defining member of eSimplicity’s team.
Looking back to July 2019, Chris had a comfortable job at a Fortune 500 tech company. He was working on a range of consulting projects, emphasizing coding, software development, and system architecture. But, a phone call from eSimplicity’s Director of Operations Eric Ross encouraged him to turn his eyes to Bethesda, Maryland.
“He was really good at understanding what somebody’s needs are, as far as coming to an organization,” Chris said. “So that was a big deal.”
After another conversation with Nam Nguyen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Chris was sold.
“The way Nam has structured his company, it’s people focused.” Chris said.
Chris noticed crucial differences between eSimplicity’s model and those of other companies of its scope. For one, Nam’s vision reached beyond the typical structure of other technical service organizations. He allured Chris onto the idea of a company that values its employees and emboldened them to use their diverse skill sets on numerous projects — rather than merely completing assignments like items on a checklist and moving on.
Consequently, this resulted in positive outcomes and feedback from Palantir, one of eSimplicity’s most valued clients. Chris, alongside three other eSimplicity employed contractors, works on a very specialized project that requires continuity and thrives under the leadership of adaptable experts like himself.
“If you look at the contracting world, [eSimplicity’s contract with Palantir] is the exact opposite of how things are usually done,” Chris said. “You usually bring the contractors in for a short period of time. As strategic partners, eSimplicity is here to support Palantir for the long haul.”
Our partnership has flourished into a symbiotic relationship, and stands as one of many examples as to how eSimplicity’s model has facilitated mutual success. This niche is one that “simplifiers” such as Chris will continue to grow in.
“Nam is revolutionizing the way you would otherwise operate in this space,” Chris said.
And while that revolution takes place, Chris will simultaneously continue to tinker with charmingly retro machines.