Profile: Jerry Medlin
The Association of Software Professionals started out in 1987. Our members invented modern software marketing, try-before-you-buy, and freeware and changed how software is sold.
Here’s another in our series of profiles of our members. All we asked was this: How did you get started?
Jerry Medlin, of Medlin Accounting Shareware, joined the ASP on July 23rd, 1987, and is online at www.medlin.com.
Jerry Stern, Editor, ASPects
I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Industrial Engineering. My first job was with Procter and Gamble in Memphis. I absolutely hated Memphis and decided I had had enough of the Bible Belt. So, in January ‘67 I flew to San Francisco and within a few days had a job working at the Alameda Naval Air Rework Facility, doing plant layout for aircraft over hall. I had found my place. If you remember, 1967 was the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco. I met my wife there in 1969 and worked for Lucky Breweries for a year and then C & H Sugar for three years.
I never really liked working as an “efficiency expert”; following people around with a stop watch. After our daughter was born in 1973, I decided I did not want to live the conventional life of watching my kids grow up only during nights and weekends. So, I quit my job and purchased a bookkeeping franchise. The only county not covered was Napa, so we packed up and moved to Napa. At that time, Napa had on about 40 wineries and the main employers were the state hospital and Mare Island Shipyard in Vallejo.
I enjoyed being self-employed and helping small businesses keep straight with the various government stuff. The bookkeeping franchise used a mainframe computer and I paid a hefty monthly fee for processing. When the Radio Shack computer came out, I bought one of the first 16k machines. There was no software available, so I taught myself how to program and wrote a series of accounting programs for my own use, using the Radio Shacks cheap little tape recorder to store client data. Like all software, it is/was a lifetime project. I sold the programs to other accountants in Napa, and capitalizing on their problems, I improved the programs.
In 1984, I read an article about PC-Talk and Andrew Fugleman and thought “I could do that.” In June, I sent out 100 disks to various computer clubs around the country. In November I received my first check. The business grew. Except for a brief dip during the switch from DOS to Windows, the business has grown regularly for 27 years.