PC Possibilities, Inc.
Tom Satyshur Jr . . . providing PC hardware, software and services since 1987 to the Cleveland Ohio area
In 1987 Jim and Tom were employed for a number of years by a large, local, and very successful ($20M sales per year) software consulting firm called Systemation, Inc. Jim's brother worked for IBM so Jim was able to get a real IBM PC (dual floppies) shortly after it was available in 1981. Tom waited until the hard drives were incorporated. By then it was the XT. In 1983 Tom bought a Leading Edge XT with a 20 Mb hard drive. Both used their PCs to support their consulting and programming work for their employer. By the time 1987 came they were experienced in both the hardware and software of the IBM compatible PC.
Jim's degree is in Math. Jim worked in Army communications during the Vietnam war, and worked for a number of years for the smaller computer hardware manufacturers such as Pertec. Jim joined Systemation in order to get into the software side of computers. Tom's degrees are in Physics, where he first started to use computers (GE-215 and IBM 360/30) for his Master's thesis calculations. After 7 years at Chi Corporation (owned at that time by Case Western Reserve University) working on Univac 1100 mainframe software development, Tom joined Systemation. Both Jim and Tom worked on a variety of projects from mainframes (Univac and IBM) to minicomputers (HP3000, HP9000, DEC, Data General), including requirements analysis, project management, package evaluations, as well as the development of business and real-time applications. Both saw a lot of potential for the use of the Personal Computer.
By 1987 Jim and Tom encountered people (customers, acquaintances, and fellow professionals) who needed advice on how to spec and buy an IBM compatible PC. When a number of people asked who could they buy a PC from, "us" was the answer and PC Possibilities, Inc. was started. The only stipulation from their employer was that it involve after hours time and not include any software services, just hardware and packaged software sales. Because Systemation did not sell hardware or software there was no conflict of interest, especially regarding PCs.
Whenever a person asked about buying a PC our first question was "What do you want to do with it?" From the answer we were able to configure a system that had the best cost/performance for that person. At first we assembled PCs from components, installing DOS and setting up a simple menu system. By the early 1990s we started buying custom configured systems from OEMs because the profit margins were shrinking and it was hard to cost justify the time spent custom building PCs. The PCs we were buying came from California companies so the shipping charges and time for delivery were long. When an Ohio company, Infotel Distributing near Dayton, started doing business we were hopeful they had quality products so we could greatly reduce the turn around time and shipping costs. We have bought nearly exclusively from Infotel since that time.
In 1989 Systemation, Inc. was purchased by the New York division (CAP Gemini America) of a European company (CAP Gemini Sogeti). By 1993, downsizing and the recession resulted in Tom leaving and going full time at PC Possibilities. (Jim kept working for the new company, and left PC Possibilities a few years ago.) Since then Tom has subcontracted to other consulting firms and now has a number of small business/non-profit organization customers.
Most of the application development work done by Tom since 1993 has been done in Microsoft Access. In 1993 Power Builder and Paradox were two of the big names in desktop/small network database application development software. So it was somewhat of a surprise when a customer requested that their application be developed in the new Microsoft database software called Access rather than in the more accepted Paradox for Windows. It quickly became apparent that this was a product from which robust applications could be quickly developed and modified. The advantage to the software developer is that the user can get a "touch and feel" for the application early . . . a "road test" that would quickly reveal the accuracy of the application specifications. MS Access has also been used to develop "working prototypes" of applications. The advantage of a working prototype is, again, the user's touch and feel that results in their modification requests before any major software development begins. This is especially important for the small business customer where budgets and time frames are very tight. These customers do not have time for a formal "Requirements Definition"; they want to see something work as soon as possible.
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