Back in the mid 80’s I was a polo shirted, mullet wearing, snakeskin booted dork. And like a lot of my dork friends at the time a fax machine and a “car phone” was about as high tech as it got. Computers were a total mystery. Back then all I cared about was working, partying, getting laid and windsurfing.
Thankfully my brother was bigger dork than I was and got into UNIX computers at college and then into the new IBM DOS computers later on. At one point he brought over a PC Clone and showed me a couple things like DOS, Wordstar and Lotus 123. It made a big impression on me.
I went out and bought a Epson 8088 PC clone with MS DOS and an upgraded green screen monitor with CGA resolution and a 10mb hard drive. I totally understood how this could change the way I worked but I had to spend the time learning how to use the tool.
I poured myself into it at the expense of partying and windsurfing. My friends used to give me all sorts of shit because I would not leave the house or office. I was in the zone and I did not want to leave. Remember these were the days before the internet, Windows and all the other things that we take for granted. I was blazing a new trail and my buds didn’t get it at all.
Once I got DOS figured out I bought version 1 of Quicken (DOS). Before quicken I had never balanced a checkbook in my life. One I got my financials straight I went back to Egghead (remember them?) and asked about some sort of database so I could keep track of my customers. He came back with Symantec Q&A http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_&_A_(software)
Now I was hooked. I holed up for a couple of months and owned that app. I created a full on, macro driven contact management and estimating software program. I was able to bust out perfect quotes in minutes. When we wanted to do a service special or promotion mailer all I had to do was press a single button and the print labels. It got so efficient that I bought more licenses and put it in a LAN so we could share information throughout the company.
I just realized that I have been involved with CRM and estimating software for about half my life and the majority of my adult life. Automating repetitive business processes just seems natural to me.