It cost more than a mid-sized car, well equipped. It fit on a desk, as long as the desk could support the weight of about five heavy typewriters and your Uncle Ernie. It had a diskette drive as an afterthought that looked like a filing cabinet, sat on the floor, and used diskettes the size of phonograph records. It had a video screen about the size of a tarot card and was equally revealing. But, it came with the BASIC programming language built in -- which was pretty convenient, because there was no software!
After creating several economic-modeling applications, our founder created his own business to do similar work for others. Though we changed the name in a few months, we were born.
Though we worked primarily with desktop computing, we felt sharing information throughout the office was critical. We reluctantly accepted IBM's vision that the future for small businesses would be 'mini-computers', that is, very small mainframes, scaled down for small businesses (and the source of our name).
In 1980 IBM responded to the sudden and largely unforeseen explosion of computers designed for 'home' use with their 'Personal Computer', the Model 5150. Adding 'hard drives' (IBM still called them 'fixed disks') made them Model 5160's and very attractive business machines.
Middle managers began using these 'home' machines in their offices, first for spreadsheets, then word processing. We set them up for fully functional commercial operations: inventory control, accounts receivable and payable, general ledger and payroll, custom applications, and even point-of-sale!
With the arrival in the mid to late 1980's of personal computers powerful enough to serve data over cables to other personal computers, networks were here. The dream machine that could start out as little more than a very smart typewriter and grow into the equivalent of a small mainframe was a reality!
Our growth paralleled these developments, in function though not in size. We began with our own proprietary database engine (which was, incidentally, Y2K compliant -- 20 years early!) and followed the industry through various mainstream products for storing and retrieving substantial volumes of information, to today's reality of fully graphical and object-oriented Internet-integrated databases, where the 'object' to which you save work could be your computer, a printer or server in your office, or a computer on the other side of the planet!
Elegance of design is simplicity. We feel that real innovation -- a much over-used word these days -- is finding that for our customers.