Designing a software product in the pre-Windows 95 era

Before Windows 95 came out, people in the Serbian market struggled to find good and affordable software for everyday tasks such as organizing contacts, notes, and calendars. Products like Windows 3 were expensive and text processors like Chi Writer too specialized. Buying hardware and software was a significant expense and DOS environment was alien to most people. We saw an opportunity here.

At the beginning of '90, I paired with a software engineer to work on this opportunity. What if we create software that is cheaper than alternatives, and have basic tools to help people organize their work? We collected several stories from people who worked in various environments and used them as our lighthouse.

We created a software that contained a contact organizer, a simple text processor with printing capabilities, a calendar management, a calculator and a reminder. That certainly doesn’t sound impressive today, but this was an era of poor software offerings, limited by monochrome displays with 80×25 character “resolution” and no-mouse environments. It was a huge success for us. We sold the software to more than 50 organizations until distributors started to sell hardware with preinstalled Windows 95.


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