Re: Re[2]: <No subject given>

Subject: Re: Re[2]: <No subject given>
From: "Mark W. McBride, President" <spcsinc -at- TYRELL -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 01:11:20 GMT

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com wrote:

>Perhaps there's an illusion at work here. If you make it simple, and at the
>time make it appear simple, then it won't sell. On the other hand, if you can
>make it appear more complex than it is, you'll make a fortune, regardless of
>simplicity (or lack of it) of your product.

Hello Arlen!

Simple *does* sell -- we proved it in 1990+ with our plain language
tutorial "John C. Dvorak's PC Crash Course and Survival Guide." It has
been followed, but never equalled, by many. It received, and continues
to receive, very high praise, not only from our customers, but also in
reviews from publications as diverse as The New York Times, Fortune,
Entrepreneur, Family Circle and New Choices (senior citizens

That being said, simple doesn't sell well enough. The problem here is
that *simple* doesn't sell to some MIS personnel who fear they will
lose their jobs if things became *too* easy. And simple doesn't sell
to hardware manufacturers who bundle software and realize that if
efficient products are sold in high numbers, few would have reason to
upgrade their iron.

Everything we design is based on basics. All our DOS software, even
our most recent stuff, will operate on a 1982 vintage PC, DOS 2.0+,
and 384K RAM or less. Our windows programs, specifically the RDBMS,
operates on a 286 w/1MB (NSTL verified) and fly on a 386. That's the
fastest system we have in-house and I'm running more than half a
million records through it. Install space on the database is about
2MB - not less power, just very tight code - a fuel efficient sports
car compared to gas guzzlers. The 14 MB of install space you don't
use with our product is equal to 30,000 records fully indexed nine
ways to Sunday.

So why aren't we selling as many copies of our software as Microsoft
is selling of its? Marketing budget and mindshare. If I recall
correctly Microsoft on average spends something like $10 million
monthly on advertising -- more when it launches products like Windows

People buy Microsoft because they know about Microsoft, because they
can buy Microsoft on their retailer's shelves, because their customers
use Microsoft. You won't find our stuff on retailer's shelves and you
won't find our database on a federal government computer, despite the
fact that we are the only Vietnam-era veteran operated small business
publishing a windows RDBMS and that fact alone says Uncle Sam ought to
be buying a few products from us. Marketing budget and mindshare.

A friend of mine recently purchased a copy of MS-Excel for Windows for
one reason only. One of his largest customers - one of the Big 8
accounting firms - started sending him purchase orders in MS-Excel/Win
format. And if he wanted to process those orders - which he very much
does - he had to buy Excel. I know for a fact he won't use it for
anything else *but* processing those purchase orders.

Let's say Microsoft started making software as easy to operate as ours
and software that would operate on minimum hardware requirements as
ours does?

Where would all its technical support people go? What would it do with
it's buildings? It has gotten to the point where it cannot *not* make
its products difficult and still maintain its size -- which it
obviously wants to.

What about all those companies that provide training and support and
programming for the products - trainers, VARs, programmers, etc.? And
what about the companies that manufacture Rolaids and Tagamet and
such? Or where would the technical writers go? If the software were
so simple to use, you wouldn't require a manual. And, if manuals
weren't required, wouldn't software piracy increase? (I met a
programmer from Estonia - he said that while pirated U.S. software
abounded in his country, there were very few manuals available - and
the manuals sold for very high prices.)

The persons who were most happy about Windows '95 coming out, other
than Microsoft, were the hardware resellers. They knew that as soon as
that package hit the street, people who wanted to use it would have to
upgrade their hardware - get a larger drive, more RAM, a faster
processor, a CD-ROM to install it or mess with two fistfulls of floppy

Yes, simple sells ... or we wouldn't be in business. It sells to
those who, by necessity, are forced to do the job pretty much by
themselves -- the small businesses, the small tech departments, the
home office, etc.

But it doesn't sell nearly as well as "difficult as all get out and
close to impossible." And that's where the money is - for just about

Best, Mac
| Baton Rouge, La = 504-338-9580 not low tech, just |
| 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Central M-F the *right* tech!" (R)|
| WWW: | E-Mail: spcsinc -at- tyrell -dot- net|
| Alternative WWW address: |
| Alternative E-Mail address: mark -dot- mcbride -at- sbaonline -dot- gov |
| Snail mail to: SPCS, Inc., P.O. Box 3156, Baton Rouge LA 70821-3156 |
| Publishers of: John C. Dvorak's PC Crash Course and Survival Guide(tm)|
| SPCS' PC Crash Course and Survival Guide (tm) for Windows |
|Computer-based writing aids: Readability(tm) Plus & Corporate Voice(tm)|
| SPCS PrimaBase(R) - Windows RDBMS uniquely offering barcode support! |

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