The long strange trip with Midas
Wed 18 Apr 2018, 11:11 AM
by Ben Langhinrichs
Way back in 1997, I released the Midas Rich Text LSX, a quirky-as-hell product which made manipulating Notes rich text not only easy, but kind of fun. You could sort tables on the fly, access almost anything, search and replace almost anywhere, lots of stuff, and it didn't think of rich text like IBM did, but like its users did. Fairly quickly, Midas became a hit as developers built all sorts of interesting and dynamic applications. It didn't cost very much, either. Personally, I thought it had a window of opportunity of about four years, if I was lucky, before IBM would swoop in and create something that would put me out of business.
My youngest son was 2, and crawled all over me while I answered support calls. Fast forward 20 years, past a great many enhancements and additions and an eventual rename to the Midas LSX, because it does so much more. The biggest reason people buy Midas these days is to generate high quality HTML/MIME/EPUB/CSV/etc. Some still use it for generating fancy emails or creating tables on the fly. My youngest is out of college now.
But about a half dozen times a year, I get a message from a company who has been using Midas for a decade or more, sometimes almost two decades. They've usually fallen off our radar screen, not on maintenance, not upgrading, just running apps that enhance their business year after year. They call because they switch servers or upgrade software, and manage to lose their Midas software or license or change server names so the license doesn't work. They call because this app which is so important suddenly doesn't work. Sometimes they know it is a problem with Midas, sometimes they've long forgotten they even use the product. I help them out however I can, though sometimes the combination of Notes version and Midas version is not only unsupported but dangerous. I'm helping one now that hasn't been in touch since 2004 for a Midas license they bought in 2002. Sixteen years, that app has been chugging along basically untouched. I wonder how many others like that are still humming away.
Sometimes, such customers buy a new license. Sometimes, I give them enough information that they get restarted with the old software and license they already have. The ROI is pretty spectacular, either way. Now, with Notes 10 on the horizon and the Notes/Domino sunset seeming further off, many of these companies are happy to spend a little more money and look forward to another decade or two of use.
It's been a long strange trip, as the Grateful Dead might say, and with Notes/Domino 10 on the horizon, it isn't over yet. I sell Midas to new customers, to old customers, perhaps even to you. It is not our most successful product if you simply go by total sales (that would be CoexLinks Fidelity), though it is close, but it is the longest running success story we have.
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