Jul 21 2001

2001 SIAF banquet opening speech

Yours Truly exercises his speaking skills at the Shareware Industry Awards
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Jim Button and Andrew Fluegelman started the shareware movement in 1982. Coincidentally, I joined the United States Air Force that same year. Programming computers, of course. (Duh!)

Now, I joined the Air Force purely on a lark. I didn’t expect to make a career out of it … it was just a way to do the things I always wanted to do. You know: travel to exotic places, meet interesting people, and bomb them from 30,000 feet.

Button & Fluegelman started shareware purely on a lark, too. They never expected to make a career out of it … it was just a new way to distribute the software they wrote.

Shareware was young in 1982. Brash. Full of life. Just getting started. Challenging the status quo with new ideas. My first year in the Air Force was much the same way. And boy, was I naïve.

Rob emcees the 2007 SIAF ceremonies

Rob emcees the 2007 SIAF ceremonies

As the shareware concept took off, so did my own Air Force career. Things quickly changed from “a lark” to “a job.” Button & Fluegelman found themselves facing responsibilities. Facing decisions. I found myself facing similar responsibilities & decisions. People looked to Button & Fluegelman and said, “all right, what next?” As the Air Force’s view of computing changed in the 1980s, they, too, looked at people like me and asked the same question. “Now what?”

Things changed as the years progressed. Colleagues came & went both in the shareware world and in my simple little Air Force life. Some people went on to do great things; others never really left their mark.

Shareware didn’t turn into a career overnight — it happened over time. Slowly. Likewise, my job didn’t just turn into an Air Force career overnight — it, too, happened over time. Slowly.

Both shareware and I started to plan our careers, and we made some interesting career changes along the way. Things which seemed all-important way back when suddenly didn’t seem too big when viewed from hindsight. Other things not taken as important in the earliest days … well, those were the things we should have heeded.

As I look back on the 19 years of my Air Force career, I wonder — would I do things differently if I could live it all over again? The answer is, “you bet!” As we look back on the 19 years of shareware, we wonder — would we do things differently if we could live it all over again? The answer, of course, is “you bet!”

I made some mistakes in my Air Force career, but I’m only human. I made my mark with many personal triumphs. Shareware is made up of humans, too. Yeah, shareware made its mistakes, but it, too, made its mark with many, many triumphs.

I’m no longer the teenager who started out on a lark in 1982. Shareware is no longer the brash young concept it was in 1982. As the 20th year of my Air Force career barrels toward me — yeah, I wonder what lies ahead. (Besides a receding hairline, I mean.)

And as the 20th year of shareware barrels toward us — yeah, we wonder what lies ahead. But we shouldn’t worry, because shareware is still making its mark on the world. We started on this incredibly long journey on a lark … and it doesn’t look like our journey will end anytime soon. I don’t know about you — but I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Shareware Industry Awards. I’m your Master of Ceremonies, Rob Rosenberger. Tonight, we honor the industry’s cream of the crop in the year 2001. This event was conceived to honor the very best products written by Shareware developers.

If you look at your printed program, you’ll see the many winners of past years. These are the “Flying Aces” who fought the good fight in earlier times. Tonight we honor the new “Top Guns” who break new ground and set new standards of excellence in this new millennium….