- Hardcover: 236 pages
- Publisher: Prima Publishing; First Edition edition (June 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0788199919
- ISBN-13: 978-0788199912
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,134,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Almost Perfect: How a Bunch of Regular Guys Built Wordperfect Corporation First Edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is written by a WordPerfect insider from the early days: W. E. "Pete" Peterson, who went from office manager in 1980 to executive vice president before he was essentially fired in 1992. From his own descriptions, Peterson sounds like the kind of boss that no one wants to work for. He comes across as a killjoy who is not interested in the individuality of the employee, but rather seems to desire a team of robots who will come to work, do what they're told and be loyal to the company. Of course, any boss can be a jerk. There are the Steve Jobs, who are obvious jerks, but have such vision and charisma that people wanted to work for them anyway. Peterson is not that kind of boss.
Peterson throws out sayings like "While it would have been easier to always give the customers what they wanted, I had a hard time believing "the customer is always right." In fact, I had come to the conclusion that the person who coined the phrase had actually meant to say, "the customer always gripes..." (location 2675). So, it sounds like he had a problem with both his own employees and the company's customers. Of course, to Peterson's credit, he admits near the end of the book, "I took myself and my job too seriously" (location 2828).
The book, while interesting in points--especially to anyone who used the software or kept up with WordPefect Corp. in its heyday--suffers from a lack of significant editing.Read more ›
He explains why "reliability was more important than price" (p.41). A word processor is a means to an end, not an end in itself. A $1500 product can be less costly than a $500 product that breaks down, once you include the effect of lost production and schedules. He says the demise of word processing departments in the mid 1980s was unexpected (p.60). Yet this happened to key-punch departments a decade earlier when on-line terminals were adopted. [Will Internet E-mail reduce the market for word processors in turn?] The problem of printer support in WP was solved by the use of tables; but this resulted in slower printing. [Are separate executable modules more efficient?] One very important item of their success was their evaluation of their product by consulting with the secretaries who used it. This is much better than an ad-hoc committee of non-users. His evaluation of other companies (p.100) is interesting. Using a "lines of code" rule alone may result in bloated and redundant code, which can lead to higher maintenance, overhead, and support costs. The story of the "free Hawaii trip" (pp.131-2) illustrates the difference between "goals" and "objectives". A fixed cash bonus is a goal, a Hawaii trip an objective.
In July 1991 Pete was informed that he was too hard on people and too many people were afraid of him.Read more ›
Author W.E. Pete Peterson's Almost Perfect is a first-person account of life at WordPerfect, from the time in the 1970s when word processing was still fairly new. It describes his rise from a $5 per hour part-time job to traveling sales manager and eventually to WordPerfect's executive vice president, from the times when the company had a handful of employees, to when it grew to command more than 50 percent of the global word processing software market, and that was on multiple computer platforms.
But mistakes were made, many of them, and the biggest of those was in not recognizing the rapid growth of the emerging Microsoft Windows operating environment. WordPerfect was in the enviable position to become the world's word processing standard, and was available on almost every hardware platform. Microsoft Word was only on two of the then-lesser ones, and mighty IBM's DisplayWrite was only available on IBM machines. Regarding the upgrade release of his company's flagship program, author Peterson wrote: "If we could get 5.0 right, we had the potential to stay on top for many years to come."
The author spent twelve years with WordPerfect before he was let go in 1992, seemingly the first victim of the company's tough battle to fend off the increasingly popular Microsoft Word.Read more ›