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Within a few months, I realized that if I restricted company activities to consulting, then I would be
limiting my earnings by the number of hours I could work. The solution was to branch out into general
use software. Our first software product, a disk management package for the System/36 called “F1 Manager”
was released in January of 1985. Initially, it met with a lukewarm reception as it only helped with disk
space management. Within a year, we augmented the product to allow the System/36 backups to run
concurrently with processing. This turned out to be a good feature for a lot of customers and over the
life of the product, F1 Manager sold quite well. To this day, I still have a few customers who
are continuing to use the product and paying annual maintenance fees for support.
Over time, we came out with other software products for the System/36 and then moved into the AS/400 world in 1988, taking delivery of the first machine from IBM in Westchester county. We got one of those lowly B10 systems that all current systems are now measured against. Initially, when the AS/400 came out, we tried to repeat our success with F1 Manager with a similar product for the new platform. That one never caught on, but another one of our System/36 products that handled inter-system communications became quite a hit on the AS/400 in those early years.
I soon picked up additional consulting customers and found that things were quite busy. In fact it was more than I could handle on my own, so I started expanding consulting services by hiring people that I knew could do good work and meet the high standards that I set for myself. Our high point came in the late 1990's during the dot-com madness. We had a staff of 15 and were doing a lot of web development work in addition to our heavy load of AS/400 consulting and software development.
From the start, our philosophy of software development has been to offer general use utility products that any IBM System/36 and then AS/400 shop could use to make the life of the IT professional easier. We have never considered software for specific applications like accounting or order fulfillment but rather extensions to the IBM OS. This model has served us well over the years. We’ve averaged a new software product coming to market about every 2 years while keeping current offerings maintained.