1968 – 1971 Production Data Systems
After leaving Burgmaster I immediately formed Production Data Systems Inc, (PSDI) and started marketing my products. I had my boxes of tab cards that were the entire MRP system and I also made a deal to lease the computer owned by Data Systems of San Diego (DSSD. I made a deal so that the computer and facilities would be essentially mine from 6 PM every Friday till 6AM Monday morning. Don Weber, the owner, agreed and the deal would start when I got my first customer.
In this way, I could honestly say I had an operating computer center located in San Diego. There were a couple of times when a potential customer wanted to see the operation so during the visit we changed a few signs and the programming staff was instructed to agree they worked for PDSI. If I did the same thing today, I’d probably be charged with some kind of fraud.
I could sell the system in parts or as a whole system. I looked for new customers by looking in the Want Ads in a number of newspapers. I was looking for any company that advertised for an Inventory Clerk, Stock Clerk, Scheduler, Production Control or Material Control Manager. I would then contact the company and tell them I could automate their inventory control system for less than a new clerk would cost them. It was true, I could do that, but it was a very basic bare bones system and they would surely buy some of the added features.
I pounded the pavement for nine months before I closed my first account. In other words, I wasn’t making any money. I was living with a girl at the time and things got so bad she and I even had to leave our fancy apartment in Culver City. We had to move in to a small apartment in Inglewood and I got behind in my car payments so I had to park my Mustang blocks away from the apartment so it wouldn’t get repossessed. To make sure, I would remove the rotor cap so the car wouldn’t start.
During the nine months without money I had to do something to generate some cash because I was basically living off her paycheck. We broke up before I sold my first account because I think the strain was getting to her.
Anyway, I got an idea for a computer dance program that would match people based on answers to a questionnaire. It asked questions about what you liked or didn’t like in your favorite dance partner and the program would match couples together for ten dances.
It ran on a Burroughs 6000 so fast it took less than three minutes to run.
It actually matched eight of the ten but it would make sure that everyone got to dance with at least two people who didn’t get any matches. I would sell the program to high schools and singles apartments for about a dollar per person. I didn’t sell very many but it helped with the hassle a little before that magic day I got my first customer. And when that magic day came, it was all worth it.
A fledgling company had been talking to me for about six months when a product they had developed was received so well they had an explosion of customer orders. The company was Data Products, a company that became a very successful computer printer manufacturer.
The day they called they were in a panic and asked one question, “How long will it take you to give us an MRP system that will explode our requirements?” Because I had been reviewing their company off and on for six months I had the answer they needed. THIRTY DAYS! A one-man company, competing with the likes of IBM, Control Data, TRW and others had won the account.
We immediately started inputting the Bills of Material, inventory records and Sales Order records. They had not bought the Shop Floor Control function and that allowed us to get the data loaded really fast.
The first weekend we ran the system real time with the real data I went to the data center and basically had a ceremony turning on the first run. We didn’t use the Burroughs and I can’t remember if the computer we used were IBM or not. I think it was. It did have three or five large tape to tape drives and watching the system run was quite amazing. The tape reels would spin in one direction and then the other in a constant motion as it ran the MRP system I had designed.
The programmers and I actually slept in the computer room so any emergency would be taken care of and coding errors fixed on the spot. Fixing an error required finding the lines of code in the tab boxes and re punching a corrected tab card. A real pain in the ass.
The monster program had started running at about 7:00 PM on Friday and it completed around 5:00 AM Monday morning. We were all there the entire time.
Without going through any more details, we celebrated the fact that the program had completed, reports were printed and I delivered them to the customer located in Torrance CA. We were up and running in the thirty days I had promised and they received the material requirements reports as needed.
I consummated the deal I had made with Don at DSSD and I was back on the top of the mountain having survived the nine-month valley of the poor and broke.
That one customer put me back on top and I moved into a high-end condo complex in Fox Hills called The Meadows and I bought all brand-new furniture. I also bought a 2 Door Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Life was good.
I eventually hired a female assistant and she picked up all the daily transaction documents from the customer and would send them to San Diego. On Monday, she would pick up the weekly reports and deliver them to the customer.
Nineteen Sixty-Nine was a year that was pivotal for this country and also in my life. From a business point of view I had proven to myself that I had value that I could market. I learned that I didn’t have to work under a corporate blanket and need a check every Friday.
It had actually started when I gave the presentation to the Burgmaster board of directors when I was hired to implement a better Material Control/Production Control system. When they approved the project:
“As I was standing at the end of the conference table with the systems diagrams and flow charts behind me I was looking at all who were seated there in front of me. They had just voted to give me the approval to proceed with the system I had designed.
At that instant I said to myself, “They just bought a system I designed and I sold it for a fixed fee, my salary.” If I had sold it as my own product I could charge one heck of a lot more. At that instant I decided to go into business for myself.”
Many people need to know and have the security that they are going to receive a check every week and that’s why most don’t try going into business for themselves. I heard somewhere that 80% of all businesses started in America go out of business within the first year. But had just verified I didn’t need that security and as I learned I had added value it changed my life forever. All I had to do was find a way to capitalize on it.
From America’s point of view more things happened in 1969: (From Wiki)
Operation Breakfast: Nixon authorizes the covert bombing of Cambodia in an attempt to destroy supply routes
Melvin Laird the US Secretary of Defense discusses a diminishing role for the US military in Vietnam
The death of Ho Chi Minh
The news coverage of the massacre of the My Lai village by US troops shocks America leading to numerous Antiwar Demonstrations
We were in the middle of the Vietnam War and that was the primary mess we were in as a country, but two other things happened.
- Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight that landed humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC.
- The Woodstock Music & Art Fair—informally, the Woodstock Festival or simply Woodstock—was a music festival attracting an audience of over 400,000 people, scheduled over three days on a dairy farm in New York state from August 15 to 17, 1969, but ultimately ran four days long, ending August 18, 1969.
I have my own theory about those two events. I believe Americans today relate to one of those two events or at least one them more than the other. I relate to the moon landing and I believe a more Left leaning type individual relates to Woodstock, i.e. Hippies. The one thing I can’t explain is I was not politically driven at all. I was probably a Democrat, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care who was president and I had never voted.
It just happens that today most of those Hippies are running most of the education system in America, especially in our colleges and universities. I believe they control the National Education Association and the National Teachers Federation as well as The Department of Education.
My point is the Department of Education (DoED) came into being when Jimmy Carter created it on October 17, 1979, it began operating on May 4, 1980.
I did not graduate from college and had already designed and marketed my MRP system ten years before the DoED was created. America had gone to the Moon, successfully landed and returned ten years before the DoED was created. I learned what I learned when On the Job Training was a way for a MAN to work his way up the ladder of success. At this point in my life I had been a Journeyman Produce Clerk, a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, a Production Control Supervisor, Bar Owner, a Materials Manager, a Corporate Systems Analyst, General Supervisor of Manufacturing Control building Helicopters and Materials Manager. ON THE JOB TRAINING (OJT) works!!!!
In fact, America, had gone from 1607 to 1979 and become the greatest nation in the world before the DoED was created. So why was it created? Every State has a States Department of Education, what does a national DoED gain for us? Is it authorized by our Constitution? In my opinion it is not. I believe the DoED was created by Jimmy Carter as payback to the teacher’s unions that got him elected. Not good at all.
During the following three to four years I continued PDSI and picked up a couple small accounts, drove around in my Cadillac and hit the night spots. I was still working out of my second bedroom and that made life a bit complex for me. I was, after all, a single man in his very early thirties.
Speaking of the Cadillac just reminded me of something funny that happened when I bought it. Not funny ha ha, but funny weird.
I had no sooner bought the car when I got an urge to see my real father. I was thirty-two and I hadn’t seen him since I was four years old and all of a sudden I get this urge. What the hell was going on?
I thought about it and called my mom. I asked her if she had a way of finding out where he was and she answered yes. She said she would call me back when she found out and I went into a thinking mode I never had before. Why did I want to see him?
I concluded I wanted to drive up in my Cadillac and knock on his front door. In my mind, he would answer the door and I would ask him, “Are you Charles Diaz?” When he would answer yes, I would then say, “I’m your son and I wanted to stop by and thank you.”
I would then turn around and he would watch me walking to my Cadillac and wonder what the hell just happened. I guess my Cadillac brought out a revenge thing I must have had. When my mom called with the information about him I said, “That’s OK, I don’t need it anymore” and that was that.
My company, PDSI, ended when I invested in a rock dance and live music cocktail lounge, named The Raintree located in Torrance CA. My bar tab had reached $1000.00 a month there and my accountant jokingly advised me to buy it. I did, in a way do just that.
My original customer, Data Products, had moved to a newly built larger plant and finally bought their own computer. With that my contract with them slowly came to an end and I wasn’t interested in pursuing any more business in that field.
After I invested in The Raintree, PDSI died and I was a full-time manager/partner of what was to become the most famous dance/ entertainment lounge in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. It was 1971.