I’m not a programmer. I’m a user. Sometimes I’m a power user. Sometimes not. Mostly I’m just a user. Like you. Like my dad. Well, not exactly like my dad. He’s 91, and his “user” experience consists mostly of forwarding other people’s emails and jokes, and sending me blank emails by mistake. Not sure if you have a relative like this, but I’m guessing you probably get the idea.
Unlike my dad, I really love software. Not to just sit there and play computer games hour after hour like my kids. I love software for its power to get things done and to make our lives easier.
It takes a lot for software to impress me. It has to be customizable and flexible so it can easily meet your needs. It has to be multi-user and collaborative to allow people to work together on things. It needs to be easy to use and intuitive so you can be up and running quickly with a minimum of training. And, so that down the road when you want to learn how to do new things with it, you don’t need an act of Congress to figure out how to do it. If possible, it should be transformative; that is, software that cleverly and easily helps you transform your company from an old way of doing things to a new, better way of doing things. And, of course, the software needs to be cost effective and affordable.
Over the years, I can count on one big hand the number of packages that have made me feel this way. The first time I saw the DOS version of MAS 90 I felt that way (scary I know). The first time I used Lotus 123 after toiling with Visicalc and Supercalc was another. My first Blackberry made me feel that way too. And then there was an old suite of software called “PFS” including PFS File and PFS Write. It did a mail merge before mail merge was mail merge. Wow I loved PFS. And now, SugarCRM is giving me the same feeling. It not only has all the things I need to be impressed, but it’s also portable and quick to get up and running. We were up and running internally with Sugar the same day we bought it. You can’t do that with a lot of software.
None of these packages were/are perfect pieces of software. They had bugs, and they lacked features at times. However, they were perfect in their purity of purpose and in their purity of execution. They did what they did, and what they did worked.
What’s on your list that makes you love software? Don’t have a list? Get one. At least before you purchase your next software package.