And finally, StyleWare – Winter 1987

On Monday, December 14, 1987, I got up and got dressed. Had some cereal. Gathered up my two open-book, open-note, take-home final exams that I had completed over the weekend, and set out.


It was a cloudy-but-not-cold winter morning in Houston. As I drove to the campus of Rice University, where I spent four and a half years in college (and four summers in summer school growing up), I became a little wistful. I was still going to participate in the Spring semester in Rice Concert Band and Rice Jazz Ensemble, and I was going to be there for graduation in May (Rice did not do winter graduation), it was not going to be the same (although one day when I did need to go to campus, I saw the statue that had been turned).

I dropped off my exams at the correct offices on campus, drove around the loop once, and drove out to Southwest Houston, just outside of Bellaire, to the office complex that housed StyleWare, Inc.

I went into the office. My boss had me sign a W2, and gave me an insurance packet, and told me to get to work.

I was now a full-time exempt software professional.


StyleWare, Inc. – November 1987

The president of StyleWare made a formal offer for permanent employment after I spent a summer full-time, and most of the Fall semester part-time.

“The pay’s not much salary, but we will give you a 10% raise after two years. The developers will share royalties for the software sold. You will have a health plan.

“Right now, we have no vacation or holidays. We expect that once you start, you will work until we are done with the first version. We expect that to be finished in June.

“You will be working on the infrastructure of the product, taking that task over from me, as I am finishing the word processor. The others are working on their modules.

“When do you finish school?”

I gave him a date.

“Could you start the following Monday?”

I said, “Sure.”

I think that despite the fact that this was a startup, and it being obvious that long hours were expected, I did pretty well for somebody who almost failed out of college, in the Oil-Glut economy of mid-80’s Houston, and who took forever to graduate.

Besides, there was still time for something else to come along…