Jul 14 2007

2007 SIAF banquet opening speech

Yours Truly exercises his speaking skills at the Shareware Industry Awards
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´╗┐Ladies and Gentlemen. It was 25 years ago — a quarter of a century has passed — since Jim Button and Andrew Fluegelman started the shareware concept. It was 20 years ago — a score of years has passed — since the first of many shareware associations formed. We have celebrated the shareware concept at 15 previous yearly awards banquets. And it was ten years ago — a decade has passed — when I held up a trial copy of Microsoft Office to prove “Bill Gates is a shareware author.”

The shareware industry is six years older than the computer security industry. In fact, the antivirus industry relied entirely on the shareware model in its early days. Nearly ALL of the gaming software sold today, relies on key technology developed by shareware authors. Shareware also made file compression software a success.

Modem software, bulletin board software, and — years later — web browser software: these products, and many more, succeeded thanks to the shareware concept.

Rob emcees the 2007 SIAF ceremonies

Rob emcees the 2007 SIAF ceremonies

In 1989, in Las Vegas, at COMDEX (then one of the world’s largest computer conventions), a group of shareware authors gathered for a conference much like this one. The first speaker was Bill Machrone, then the editor-in-chief of the most powerful computer magazine in America. The second speaker was John C. Dvorak, then the most widely read computer columnist in America. Large corporations at COMDEX were clamoring to meet with these two men the day before COMDEX — and yet they both agreed to give their valuable time to a group of shareware authors.

THAT, my friends, is the power of shareware. THAT is the reason we are still here after a quarter of a century.

It was entrepreneur Steve Lee who once said “someday, all software will be sold this way.” Ladies and gentlemen, you are here tonight because HE … WAS … RIGHT.

Welcome to the 16th Annual Shareware Industry Awards. I’m your Master of Ceremonies, Rob Rosenberger. Tonight, we honor the industry’s cream of the crop in the year 2007. 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 pioneers who paved the way for shareware. Tonight we honor those who break new ground and set new standards of excellence in the computing age….