Today Sage North America announced the 25th anniversary edition of ACT!, the contact management software.
What were you doing for a living 25 years ago? That would be 1987 and I can remember vividly. I was selling software for a company whose offerings ran on DEC VAX and PDP-11 mini-computers. We had a fax machine, VT-100 terminals on everyone’s desks and we were thinking about getting a phone system. Remember those pink message slips?
The VAX was the primary development machine and it hosted all the people in the company for things like word processing and spreadsheets. My company had been founded by a smart programmer which meant the VAX was his and we just lived on it. Whenever he wanted to compile a program the lights dimmed, screens froze and we went out for coffee.
I saw an ad for ACT! in an in-flight magazine next to some ads for steaks flash frozen in the mid-west and rushed to your door. As a sales guy, the load of paper on my desk and in my briefcase was killing me. I’d experimented with keeping data in a spreadsheet but it seemed like more work than it was worth. I’d also recently taken a relational data base course and dreamed of a simple database that could track my contacts and remind me when to call them again. I’d gotten far enough to convince my SE to write something like it. I almost got fired for using precious resources in such a profligate way too. Good thing I was crushing my numbers at the time.
Ah, the good old days. I looked at the ad with longing but knew that our CEO would never let a PC into the building and ACT! ran on DOS so all I could do was look and wonder when I’d be able to get my hands on it.
Twenty-five years is a very long time in this industry and it is a testament to ACT! and Sage and Pat Sullivan who invented it that ACT! remains relevant. Sullivan got it mostly right when he built the first version and Sage continues to keep it relevant for a large and loyal customer base that needs just what ACT! delivers. Congratulations to Sage.