Questions and Answers
In this section I'll try to answer some of the questions that
I am most frequently asked -- about business and about life.
Q. How many companies have you worked for?
A. At this point in my life and career, I've stopped counting. I stopped counting when I got to 1,000. I've worked for companies in over 80 countries around the world, on every continent except Antarctica. I've had clients in 49 of the 50 United States - no one from Alaska yet, and every province in Canada.
Q. Why don't you have a list of all the companies you've worked for?
A. I suppose I could, but it would be a very long list. Remember, I've been "promoting" software online since 1983. So, from my perspective, it would serve no useful purpose to create a long list for you to admire and ponder. Companies who had software I promoted in 1990, for example, would probably be of no interest to you now. If you feel you want references from people I've worked for, I'll be happy to give you some. Just ask. But, for those who feel they really want to see some kind of list, here are just a few of the companies I've worked to promote:
Buttonware, QuickSoft, GeoWorks, Qualcomm, Mijenix, Jasc Software Inc., Fookes Software, SmartDraw Software, Mustang Software, Eclipsit Corporation, MicroVision Development, TechSmith Corporation, TuneUp Software, Cottonwood Software, Rhode Island Soft Systems, Dewqs Tribes, Canyon Software, infacta Ltd., CAM Development, Kiss Software, Wilson WindowWare, Soleau Software, askSam Systems, P & A, Inc., Salty Brine Software, bvba Woodstone, Ground Zero Tech Works, Baseband Technologies, Barefoot Productions, Oakley Data Services, Mystik Media, InterTimes, RomTech, Pharos Games, Goodsol Development, and well over a thousand others.
Q. How did you come to take on the name "Dr. File Finder" ?
A. Well, in the early days of computers, users tended to help each other as much as possible. I would participate in the message areas of bulletin boards and later in the message areas of The Source, an early online network. And I have this unusual memory, called "eidetic" memory, so I remember a great many things very easily. I remember things visually, so, for example, I can see a page in a text book I've read. In those early message areas, people would be looking for different kinds of software. Sometimes they'd have a program name or sometimes they'd just have a description of what the program would do. Well, I'd not only remember if I'd seen it, I'd remember exactly where! Then I'd go off, download the file in question, and upload it to the site where the question had been asked. I'd then post a note telling them I'd found their file. Numerous people commented that I was a real "file finder." So, I decided to have some fun with it. Make myself into a a comic book character. A computer version of "The Flash". I started calling myself "Dr. File Finder" and I always signed my name like this:
Dr. File Finder~~~~~~~~~~~~ -- trying to indicate speed. All of this while using a 300 baud modem mind you. The name caught on and then I started signing my program reviews the same way. It was all a lot of fun and the rest, as they say, is history. Almost surprisingly, "Dr. File Finder" is the name I'm most recognized by -- not Michael Callahan. Funny how life is.
Q. Have you really evaluated over 250,000 software programs?
A. Yes, I have. When I was ill it was what I did to give myself a purpose. And in the early days, I not only evaluated them, I kept a copy of every program I looked at. My office was filled with disk boxes that were all labeled. When I started out, "ARC" was the compression format of choice, so all my disks had the name ARC plus a number. ARC 27, ARC 392, etc. I also had a list that contained every program found on every disk. So, I could rapidly search and find out which of my disks a certain program was on. Since 1983, I've evaluated a minimum of 200 programs a week, all for free. Some weeks more. If you just go with that number, it works out to 10,400 programs a year. I've maintained that pace all these years. Bob Wallace wrote me a little program to keep count. I feel that evaluating so many programs and beta testing so many products over the years gives me a unique perspective on software. I've learned what users like and what they don't. What they find confusing and what they find intuitive. And in 25 years of evaluating software I have never charged anyone for doing it. It wouldn't be cool -- I'm Dr. File Finder and evaluating software is how I started out.
Q. How did being severely ill change your life? And do you have a philosophy of life?
A. It changed my life in many ways beyond just the physical changes. It altered the way I look at things. It helped me to come to appreciate every day, and every moment. To me every day is a good day whether it's sunny or rainy or cold. It helped me to hear the song in the laughter of children, the melody in the sound of the falling rain. For all intents and purposes, the person I was 'died' and the person I am now was 'born". I think I'm a better person just because of what I've been through. I think I have a deeper understanding of people, especially myself, and that helps me to be more compassionate. More understanding. Recovering from strokes taught me patience. I put much more emphasis on helping others and much less on material things. The possessions you have, the looks you have, the physical abilities you have are all transient. They all pass away. The only thing that endures is love. And kindness. And friendship. As for a philosophy, I would say it can best be summed up by the words of Stephen Grellet. He was a French nobleman who became a Quaker missionary. And he wrote these words:
I expect to pass through this world but once;
any good thing therefore that I can do, or any
kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature,
let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again.
These are words I try to live by. I believe that the good things you do come back to you. I know they have in my life. When I started looking at the first "shareware" in 1982, all I really wanted to do was be helpful. To keep myself busy and maybe help a few people. It gave me a purpose, it gave me something to do. And it gave me pleasure to know that I had helped someone succeed in their work. I promoted others, and without ever meaning to, I ended up promoting myself as well. It gives me great pleasure to know, deep in my heart, that I have helped so many people. It makes me a very rich man, in all of the ways that really matter.
I've tried to answer the questions I get most often, but if there's something you'd like to know, please feel free to ask.
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