People at Olive Tree
With all the exciting changes going on around here, we forgot to celebrate our own birthday! On July 4, 1996, OliveTree.com was created. The first items on our homepage were verses from John 1 and other verses that President Drew Haninger found in his morning devotions. Transferring over from the original site, ITB.net (ITB = “In The Beginning”), OliveTree.com added an online Bible search and later added free downloads of BibleReader for Palm.
We’ve come a long way in the last 16 years and hope to keep improving our website. If you’d like to help us improve OliveTree.com please take a couple minutes and fill out this Online Survey to let us know what you think.
Monday, July 9th marked the beginning of a new and exciting future for Olive Tree Bible Software. Stephen Johnson, Olive Tree’s Chief Technology Officer, was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Drew Haninger, who had been carrying both the President and CEO roles, will now focus his energy on the president’s role.
As CEO, Stephen will take care of the day-to-day operations of Olive Tree allowing Drew to focus his energy on setting the vision and strategy of the company, including developing his many creative projects and ideas. Stephen and Drew will work closely together to drive the technological innovation for which Olive Tree apps are known.
From the beginning, Stephen was involved with both the business and engineering sides of Olive Tree, from meeting with publishers to developing BibleReader for early platforms like Palm OS to making marketing decisions.
“When I started at Olive Tree in 2004, it was a small company, so you did a little of everything,” Stephen said. “We worked out of Drew’s basement and had company meetings in Drew’s living room or at Olive Garden.”
With the release of the iPhone in 2008, Stephen became the engineering department manager, and in 2009, Stephen took on the role of Chief Technology Officer. In order for Drew to focus on the core message of Olive Tree, someone needed to take over the daily responsibility of running the company. To Drew, Stephen was the obvious choice.
“For years, I watched Stephen grow into many areas of the company and knew Stephen could eventually take over this company,” Drew said. “He’s a young, committed Christian, experienced and knowledgeable about Bible software technology, and full of energy.”
Harnessing Stephen’s excitement in technology and business and Drew’s experience in Bible software, this new teamwork places Olive Tree in a position for immense growth and development. Olive Tree has experienced steady growth since its early days and continues to build apps that God uses to change lives. This transition positions the company to build on its momentum, and Stephen is excited to lead the amazing team at Olive Tree.
In a presentation on Monday, Stephen reminded Olive Tree employees that God uses their work to change lives. When they sync a user’s notes and highlights, they sync a pastor’s sermon on marriage from his desktop to his iPad that God uses to save a marriage or they sync a young woman’s highlights that she uses to share the gospel with a coworker.
“It is exciting and humbling to be involved in this awesome and eternal work,” said Stephen. ”I have the privilege of coming to work every day to collaborate with an amazing and passionate team.”
This leadership transition will continue to build momentum on a history of vibrant growth for Olive Tree and a commitment to a core message: that God uses Bible software to transform lives for the glory of His Kingdom.
There are always new things being discussed and planned at Olive Tree. Our newest and biggest project is what we’re calling by the code name the “Flying Eagle.” We’re not able to divulge any more details at present, but be assured that the talented and passionate Olive Tree staff is working hard to help you study God’s Word.
Here are some pictures from our company lunch today in which we discussed the details of Project Flying Eagle. As always, our lunch was delicious: sandwiches from a local sandwich shop, chips and salsa, fresh grapes, and soda (including the ever-present Mountain Dew that fuels many engineers!).
In line for food and drinks.
Mark A. is excited to eat his sandwich!
Stephen J. giving a presentation to the team.
Olive Tree’s President, Drew, and his wife, Sarah.
Elizabeth B: What is exciting about this version of Bible+?
Adam H: With Windows 8, Microsoft is looking for a very fast and fluid experience. Our goal with this version of Bible+ is to leverage that design and have the whole experience of the app be fast, smooth, and engaging.
EB: What are your thoughts on the Windows 8 experience?
AH: I love it. Microsoft has done an incredible job of providing a cohesive experience through Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox. On top of that, they’ve added features that make things work well and are fun to use.
AH: Sure! The Share Charm, which debuts with Windows 8, enables apps to connect not only to the Windows operating system but also to each other. For example, when I’m reading a Bible passage in Bible+, I can bring up the Share Charm and am presented with a list of other apps that interact with that verse, such as Facebook and Twitter. This Share Charm feature is entirely dependent on the apps that the individual user has installed on Windows 8, giving users a lot of flexibility in customizing their experience.
EB: What would you say are the top highlights of the app, Adam?
AH: A major highlight to me is the fast experience of the app. Reading, searching, the verse chooser…they’re all incredible. Searching is still unbelievably cool to me. It’s accessible from anywhere through the Search Charm, and provides an amazing scope of search results, from a broad view of your whole library to a detailed look at individual books. Within a Bible, results are grouped by each book, and can easily be filtered by section, like the Gospels or Prophets. On top of that, searching is fast.
AH: The experience around our Windows 8 app is about beauty and simplicity with a focus on the reading experience and speed. We’re excited for the future features and development that we will add to the Bible+ Windows 8 app.
EB: What was the most enjoyable part for you of creating this new app for Windows 8?
AH: I think the most enjoyable part was seeing how Microsoft made it easy for developers to do what they wanted in order to provide the experience our users want. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all apps can leverage Windows 8 features to create an awesome user experience.
AH: I’m sure I have a tendency toward a starry-eyed view of this app, and not just because of my part in creating it. I genuinely feel that it’s a joy to use. My prayer is that it can help someone connect with God’s Word in a way they never have before.
Download the Windows 8 Release Preview here to check out the Windows 8 Bible app for yourself!
Happy Father’s Day to all you men who have been blessed with children! Fatherhood is an amazing gift: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps. 127:3).
I have two little redheaded boys, Gabriel (4) and Asher (6 mo.), that I have the wonderful blessing and responsibility of raising. They continually bring me joy and happiness!
For those who are fathers, Father’s Day is a day where you are celebrated. And while I wish you blessings, I also want to encourage and exhort you, spurring you on to love and good deeds as a father. Fatherhood is a weighty calling. You aren’t just raising a pet or a plant. You are raising a child who bears the image of God and has a soul that will never die. No pressure!
As fathers we are called to do for our families what Christ did for the church (Eph. 5-6). We are called to love sacrificially so that they may flourish. We are to be a sanctifying presence in their lives, which means helping them combat sin and grow in righteousness. We are to be consistently washing them with the Word of God (which means we need to know it well), and bringing them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.
The only way we can do this is through Christ. Fathers should point to Christ, who is the only way to the one, true Father. When we are faithful fathers, by God’s grace, our children will be “like arrows in the hand of a warrior,” and we “shall not be put to shame” (Ps. 127:4-5).
Happy Father’s Day! May God richly bless you with his grace as you lead your family by faith!
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Last week Olive Tree attended its first ever Spanish speaking conference, Expolit. Olive Tree representatives Daniel Scott and John Cruz spent the whirlwind 5 days conversing with Spanish speakers from all over the Americas. With the new Spanish localization in BibleReader, many long time Olive Tree users are excited to share BibleReader with their non-English speaking family and friends. Daniel reported, “We met one gentleman from Paraguay who has been using Olive Tree for over 10 years. He first was on Palm, then a BlackBerry, and now uses it on his iPhone. He loves it!”
This was a conference of many “firsts.” It was the first time Editorial Unilit published a hard copy study Bible (Biblia del Discipulo) at the same time as releasing an electronic version through Olive Tree. Daniel had a chance to talk to a group of pastors about using BibleReader and Biblia del Discipulo for Bible study.
Olive Tree and Unilit also gave away two Kindle Fires in a drawing held at the Olive Tree Booth. Along with the Kindle Fire, these two will be given a small Spanish library with the Biblia de Discipulo, the Comentario de Matthew Henry, and the Nueva Diccionario de la Biblia from Editorial Unilit.