• Prime Mover (unregistered)

    This was the Dancing Paperclip, yeah?

  • (nodebb)

    Yeah what program was this

  • Allie C (unregistered)

    You know what they say: innovation is bad for business

  • Hal (unregistered)

    Given we are talking about something that apparently ran more or less stand alone on a PC. This seems like more a marketing failure than anything. All they should have reasonably needed to do keep the cash rolling in was create a new SKU that bundled a free upgrade license to version 2; whenever its released. Charge 20 percent over the base SKU for version 1.X so recent buyers of the original don't feel like they are getting short shrift. If the software was really that good the slight up charge for 2.x upon release offset by the opportunity to start using 1.x today should have been an easy sell.

  • mac (unregistered)

    It's called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect And it's the fight with partner that was fatal.

  • Randal L. Schwartz (google)

    Someone once remarked that they were jealous that I had two Wikipedia articles written about projects I created. This is about one of them.

    One could argue that you're even more famous when there's a Wikipedia article about you. You don't have to ask me how I know. :)

  • Argle (unregistered) in reply to Hal

    Without a doubt, yes. I didn't care what my partner did to sell existing software, just as long as he didn't make the deadly announcement.

  • Argle (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster

    The Excalibur BBS.

  • Yikes (unregistered)

    For this type of situation alone, it's got to be vicious and complicated to operate in the auto manufacturing industry.

    btw, I remember the exotic concept of a BBS actually being connected to the internet.

  • Fire Mountain (unregistered) in reply to Argle

    Wait... was that the graphical BBS thing that tried to take off just before AOL hit the scene? I remember looking at it back then and thinking it could be kind of neat. I always just assumed it died because everyone jumped on the AOL bandwagon...

  • Argle (unregistered) in reply to Yikes

    I feel I have been using them forever. I worked at a big firm and discovered we had a lonely dumb terminal with an acoustic modem and a phone on a WATS line next to it. This was back in 1978-1979. I had fun connecting to BBS around the country after hours.

  • Argle (unregistered) in reply to Fire Mountain

    Yes. That was the one. Some trivia regarding it:

    Jack Rickard of "Boardwatch" magazine did an editorial about how it could never run. He said Windows could never handle more than 2 BBS connections. However, his experience was trying to run DOS based BBSs under Windows. He's correct: that doesn't work very well. But Excalibur was a pure Windows app and could handle 9 serial ports (the limit on Windows 3.x). It also handled connections as an internet server. Protocol was binary, so tended to be fast even on dialup which was still prevalent at the time.

    The late, infamous Larry Flynt made some public statements about using Excalibur for online marketing and sales. This would eventually happen on the WWW, but not many people at the time recognized the potential.

  • mihi (unregistered)

    As others already wrote, the best marketing strategy would be a bundled upgrade or "get upgrade to 2.0 for 5% of the price if you bought 1.0 after day XXX". Forte incorporated (that usenet software) was in a similar situation when they announced their version 2.0, and they quickly went that route.

  • see sharp (unregistered) in reply to Yikes

    The automotive industry has long understood the strategy of dribbling new features into each model year and not announcing the next model year too early. That way, buyers aren't overly incentivized to wait for next year's model, while still having a motivation to buy the latest model when it comes out. Also, the stale model year gets progressively more discounted as inventories linger into the newest model year. Translated into the world of software, it can be better to dribble out updates with modest improvements rather than rolling it all into a big release, lest the feature set leak out early. If the new release is going to be big, then pricing /upgrade privileges need to be planned in ahead of time to keep sales going until the new version is released.

  • WTFGuy (unregistered)

    One hopes Argle explained to the biz partner beforehand why announcing imminent V2, especially when "imminent" was really 12+ months away would be fatal. Although admittedly the IT business was still learning about such issues then.

    Though I'm in no sense famous I too was the tech partner w a sales-goof for the biz-side partner. Coming as he had from large corporate B2B commission sales, he really didn't understand that what mattered was not the number of closed deals, but the collective margin on them. He proved ineducable and our business slipped beneath the waves of most deals sold at a loss when the actual costs of promised per-customer customization were factored in. Oh well.

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