In 1983, at 6:00 am one Saturday, I got a desperate support call from Saudi Arabia. I plugged my Jupiter Ace into the TV, and debugged the problem over the phone. Since then I have been hooked on boosting personal productivity with computers, which probably explains my love for Unix and NeXTSTEP.
I started working with NeXTSTEP in 1990 through Compuserve, of all places. For the first couple of years we mixed NeXT development and training work with PC and Unix training. I was a guest speaker at the first couple of NeXTWorld Expos, and NeXT Europe had asked me to do their admin training for them. However, in August 1992 I did some consultancy work in Houston with NeXTSTEP. Almost by accident, I got them to try a new spreadsheet for NeXTSTEP, called Mesa. I then spent half a day writing a add-in for Mesa that hooked up to their data feed (from Kapiti), and they got very excited. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the break-through sale for Mesa.
Back in England, in December '92, the author of Mesa called up and asked if I'd be interested in distributing his product in the UK. Great! That was a couple of months before NeXT stopped making hardware, but business was at least tolerable until September, when things started to pick up again. One bad mistake I made was to join a company with a no-hope who everyone else had told me was dangerous. They were right and I was wrong. Fed up with unpaid salary and invoices, I walked out and started back on my own business. I won the law suit. And the appeal.
Since then, we have done pretty well. We are now the biggest reseller for most of our suppliers, and have more demand for consultancy than we can really handle. Our biggest problems are the mind-numbingly stupid blunders made by NeXT, who wouldn't know a channel from a hole in the ground.
At one time I ran a world-wide network of mainframe software distributors. I have done more than most; for a few years, I even ran a software distributor in the Middle East. Still, that market doesn't exist any more, and I don't think anyone is sorry for that.
Software has been my sole living in the past seventeen plus years; during that time I have done most things, from product development through support to marketing and sales. Strangely enough, most of the companies I have worked for ended up being sold to Computer Associates.