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October 8, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

My 1987 World Series And Consulting Connection


The above image is Sphere Of Influence

Today's song is Call Me by Chris Montez, released in 1966.

In 1987, I was earning over $50,000 a year as a Data Processing Manager for an insurance industry firm. That same year I was selling my Omnis 3 Plus Database originally designed software solutions internationally for $150 to $200 apiece. It was also the year when I was contacted for a very important database consulting arrangement. I'll talk about that next.

As an Omnis 3 Plus Database Consultant, I was listed as a resource in that company's national directory. Starting in 1986, I was selling Omnis 3 Plus database solutions I designed on my Mac Plus computer, first nationally then internationally as an independent software distributor. As an Apple Registered Developer, I was having a great time and making money.

During the World Series in 1987, an engagement manager from Arthur Young (now part of Ernst & Young) contacted me because he was a huge baseball fan and he saw my name, Don Larson listed in the Omnis 3 directory. It is important to understand that the real Don Larsen is known for pitching the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956.

That Arthur Young engagement manager was part of a team hired by the prestigious law firm, Winston & Strawn LLP to work on a lawsuit. I was contacted to see if I could provide critical consulting design and advice when they ran into database issues. They gladly agreed to pay me $75 an hour for my expertise. It was a very lucrative project. That project would later become the basis for the largest fruit-juice adulteration criminal case by the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

Initially I was brought in to create some additional reports for the project using Omnis 3 that stored all the basic accounting data that had been entered into the system by a pool of data entry clerks over a month's time. The original Omnis 3 consultant had designed the database and then skipped town. Arthur Young needed me to complete some remaining items for them. I worked on this project after my regular job's work hours in downtown Chicago. Usually I worked on this consulting project from 6 to 10 pm during the week.

About a week into the project, I discovered that the database design system designed by that previous consultant was flawed. The initial consultant was not knowledgeable about how Omnis 3 worked at the lower levels of that software and made critical design mistakes. His poor design made his original database unreliable and put the project at risk. When I brought my concerns to the engagement manager's attention, a Red Alert was issued.

The next night, starting at 6:30 pm, the Arthur Young VP of this project, the engagement manager of this project, two IT managers, and a couple other support staff formed a panel whereby I was asked to explain my concerns, prove my hypothesis of the flaw, explain the ramifications, and suggest a solution. That meeting lasted until midnight. At every step I was able to substantiate everything I stated to their satisfaction.

It was decided that I should redesign the system and then import the data from the current database. That redesign took about a week's work to finish. When it was completed and the data imported, the new Omnis 3 Plus database system worked better and faster. They were extremely pleased that I had saved that part of the project I was hired for and they were all happy campers. The VP said to me at one point, Don, last night is the first good sleep I've had since I started this project. How cool!

By late 1988 all the evidence for the civil case was accumulated and verified. Then the U.S. Attorney General filed a criminal case against the defendants. The litigation support database I had designed for my small part of that project, was used to help obtain the guilty pleas by the defendants in that case.

It was a wonderful and extremely profitable project. I had an opportunity to work with highly qualified people and I learned some new database design techniques during the redesign of the flawed database. For several years afterward I remained in-touch with the engagement manager and he would often take me to lunch to keep me apprised of the project's status. That project remains one of my proudest achievements of my consulting career.

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On Saturday night, I called my good friend, Larry Dalke who lives in North Bend, Washington. Larry tells me he and his family enjoy what I offer here on this web site. Thanks, Larry!

Every day this site supplies readers from almost every state in the United States. I get a lot of visitors from various places in Washington state. Usually California, Texas, Illinois, and New York top the list.

The image below is from Google AdSense for the State of Washington results for my site on October 2, 2007. The circles represent the locations accessing this site.

Each day from all over the globe this site receives between 3,500 and 4,000 page views. It's an incredible experience for me!

The image below is from Google AdSense for the Global results for my site on October 5, 2007. The green regions are the countries visiting this site.

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I see that Paul Laudicina is now at the head of A.T. Kearney, Inc., where I worked from 1989 to 1995 and then served as an outside technical consultant until 1998. I helped Paul with a technical problem back in 1992 or 1993. He became one of my admirers after that. I have a very kind email message from him in my file I received on my last day of work there in June 1995. I think I'll send him a letter congratulating him on his promotion to head of that firm.

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This site tests your download and upload internet connection speed. My download speed between here and LA was 7,535 kpbs and the upload speed was 847 kpbs. Not bad for a cable modem network.

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Some college campuses see huge growth in Macs. How cool!

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The Wi-Fi T-Shirt detector is now available. Be the first on your block to glow!

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A new life form?

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Wow! 50 years ago I purchased my first hula hoop for $1. That was a circle of life of another kind.

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If you ever need to hand-code Spotlight in MacOS X.

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The Mt. Soledad mess can only get worse it seems. The estimates of the damage are quite high!

Don


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