Jul 17 2010

2010 SIAF banquet opening speech

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Ladies and gentlemen. Recently, two major organizations and one event have gone through a name change. The Shareware Industry Conference has become the Software Industry Conference. The Association of Shareware Professionals became the Association of Software Professionals. And now the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation has changed its name to the Software Industry Awards Foundation.

Essentially: the “shareware” concept is 28 years old, and the concept itself has undergone a name change.

Now, industry associations change their name from time to time. Companies do it, too. And women change their names, of course. They take on their husband’s surname, signaling a key change in their life. Now, back when I was a young woman, I took my husband’s name on our wedding day—

You know, I think Mister Clippy is responsible for that typo. “Hey, I see you’re writing a speech! Maybe I can help you compose something pithy!”

Look, I’m only going with the woman’s side of this because it fits my analogy, and perhaps maybe because the man’s decision to keep his own name is callous & uncaring, especially when it’s 11 letters long like “Rosenberger” when he could just take his wife’s much shorter name. That’s why “software” should change its name to “shareware,” not the other way around, but hey! Shareware is the woman in this relationship and her husband insists it’s traditional for her to change her name…

Okay, I tell you what: let’s skip that analogy.

You know what we did in just 28 years? We made a global impact on how software is sold. We — little ol’ us — we did something truly incredible: we democratized software. So let’s use a different analogy. Let’s compare our 28-year struggle to nothing less than the democratization of America. If we look back in history, we see it took roughly 28 years for the roots of democracy to culminate in a name change … to the United States of America.

All right, so shareware is 28 years old. It’s at this age — in your very late 20s — after your name change — when you actually start to ponder your long-term future. It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman, or a company, or an industry, or a nation. This is the time, in your very late 20s, after your name change, when you start to feel some trepidation. You start to ask: “what does my long-term future hold?”

So. What does our long-term future hold?

I don’t have a specific answer for you.

But I do know this — George Washington didn’t rest on his laurels after he led the fight to democratize America; and I know that our own George Washingtons won’t rest after they’ve fought so hard to democratize software. I know that Thomas Paine didn’t rest on his laurels after his pamphlet influenced the democratization of America; and I know that our own Thomas Paines won’t rest after they’ve blogged so eloquently to influence the democratization of software. I know that Benjamin Franklin didn’t rest on his laurels after he pleaded the democratization of America to powerful allies; and I know that our own Benjamin Franklins won’t rest after they’ve pleaded so hard for the democratization of software to our own powerful allies.

So. What does our long-term future hold? I don’t have a specific answer for you. But I do know this. We changed our name, we won the struggle … and now it’s time—

ooooo! If you know what it’s time to do, then we need you. Why? Because you know specifically what our long-term future holds. And we need you to make that long-term future come true.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 19th Annual Software Industry Awards. I’m your Master of Ceremonies, Rob Rosenberger. Tonight, we honor the industry’s cream of the crop in the year 2010. This event was conceived to honor the very best products & services written by software developers.

If you visit the SIC website, you’ll find URL links to the many winners of past years. These are the Founding Fathers who democratized the software industry. Tonight we honor those who set new standards of excellence — and who lead us in new directions — in the computing age.