Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy 15th Birthday Delphi - My Delphi Story

On February 14, 1995 the first version of Delphi was released.  Little did I know how much this would affect my life.  

I had learned to program using Apple II Basic in grade school.    In high school, I was able to enroll in the AP computer science program.   At that time it was taught using Turbo Pascal 3.3.   I don't really remember when I purchased my first compiler, but I do know that it was TP 5.5.   During high school I started writing shareware programs using TP 5.5 for the VBBS System.   I earned enough money to support my newly formed programming habit.   I purchased many of the libraries offered by TurboPower.

I graduated from High School in 1992, I enrolled in college with a major in Theater :-)    Little did I realize that little habit of mine was going to change the course of my life.  While in college I started working as a tech support specialist for Prodigy after a short period I was promoted helping manage the LAN with both desktop and server support.  We were running in an OS/2 environment and took my first look at C to help manage many of the things we needed to do.   I was successful but I realized I did not like the language, as much as I did with Pascal.   During this time, I was fairly active reader of the Compuserve Forums for both Borland and TurboPower allowing me to learn of a new product.   I purchase Delphi the moment it came out, I also started attending the Salt Lake City Delphi users group.    At one of the meetings I met,  my soon to be future boss, who was looking for a programmer.   The company was very small operating out of a home that was converted into an office.  I did the programming for an application that manged the bookings for timeshare properties.  It was also far enough away from my school that I had to drop out of college.

Wanting to continually improve my programming skills I attended Software and Development West in San Fransisco.   There I found the Borland booth, and I ran into the Interbase marketing manager.   I told him about the work we had done with the Interbase API to make things faster and avoid the BDE.     I told him how we had developed UDFs for InterBase using Delphi.   I remember him saying:  I did not think you could do that, do you want to come speak about what you have done at our conference.    A week or two later I contacted him and said yes to the offer to speak at the conference.     I was going to be surprised, I was still a very green programmer and I had never had attended a Borland Conference before.    I don't remember much about the conference materials.  I do however remember the way I felt during the session I presented.  I had written a couple of very large white papers on the subject, so I felt prepared.   I also felt very young and scared. When it came time for the question and answers section of  my sessions, I was blown away many of the questions were WAY over my head.    I don't really know how I scored with the attendees of that session but I do know it took a few years to be accepted to speak at any future conferences.

The big benefit was I had the conference on my resume, I started looking for a new job one that would allow me to expanding my programming abilities and pay more.     I had 5 different job offers,  I took a job with a local consulting company which more than doubled my current pay.   It was an awesome job because the Delphi market was huge.   I worked for so many different clients in the next two years I lost count.   I specialized in going into new locations that was experiencing bugs in there code and helping them debug there code and resolve what appeared to be random access violation errors.    During this time I took over as the President of the Salt Lake City Delphi users group, which I still do to this day.

In 1998 my life was changing even more, I had found the love of my life and was married.  At the same time I could see the market for Delphi opportunities was starting to dry up, so I took something more stable, or so I thought.   I then took two jobs in a row where I was laid off as business directions changed.    After the second lay off I decided the consulting business was just as stable and paid more.     I had a three clients, the State of UtahBorland, and a small embedded software developer.  The Borland contract, was awesome I was working with some of the people I had admired over the years.   However at one point in 2005 all three clients were asking for my services at least full time at the same time.  Instead of refusing work,  I tried to keep it up, but after about 4 months I crashed and burned.   It took months to fully recover, I was forced to quit all but one of the contracts.  The one contract I kept was with the State of Utah, they offered me a full time job, which I accepted and still work there to this day.

In July of 2008 I finally enrolled in school again to finish that degree that. Schools no longer teach pascal, so I have been using JavaScript, and Java.  But after many assignments Delphi it is still my development product of choice.

Just imagine the number of people that have been supported by income generated from working with Delphi.  Delphi  has supported my family from the beginning and hopefully well into the future.

To the point... I want to wish a happy 15th Birthday to Delphi.    I want to thank all of the people behind the product for the dramatic way they have affected my life!

Secondary point of the story:
In 15 years I have personally been responsible for purchases of more than 100 different licenses of Delphi.   If I had not been able to afford Turbo Pascal, I would have been forced to go another direction.  My entry level investment in 1990's in Turbo Pascal resulted in way over 100k of Delphi revenue stream.      It's time to find away back into the entry level market.


  1. "It's time to find away back into the entry level market."
    I think this point should be in bold. ;)

  2. I remember the tale about Anders H. struggling to sell Poly Pascal compiler (I once had a flopping with Compass Pascal) for .. something in the range of $150 but selling poorly. Borland and Philippe Kahn came along and doubled or tripled the price. Now people dared buy the product and the success was a fact.

    Embarcadero please read: Entry level pricing has always been a good idea. Sell bulk loads of licenses instead of relying on old folks like me buying because we are fond of the product. New blood is needed!

    So much for entry level...