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History of Marketing Materials, Manuals and Boxes
In 1988, we designed a box for the product that was a 'telescoping box' made of very thick cardboard. The product name at the time was The Entrepreneur's Edge. Partner Pete said that a colleague of his in another business recommended that name.

Joint venture launch with Virgin Mastertronic in Costa Mesa
In a brainstorming session, when we entered the joint venture with Virgin, there was unanimous agreement that the product should be named 'Success, Inc.' We were all interested that there be no confusion with the Success magazine, so the counsel at the meeting immediately contacted Success magazine. A verbal confirmation from the magazine's counsel and a search for any similar titles verified that it was available. The firm in England that was used by Virgin for box design immediately was contacted for some prototypes. Within days, the now-familiar box was proposed. The original printing used red letters and serif type, which was immediately changed upon the objection of Success magazine. After 6 months, all representations of SUCCESS, INC were very bold, in sans serif type and the INC was rotated ninety degrees to be the same height of the SUCCESS type. Years later, gold foil was used on the boxes. The new folding boxes were printed in England, and a platform supported the 2-5.25 floppy disks over the spiral-bound manual.

Virgin Material     Martin Alper and Virgin Mastertronic became Virgin Games, which became Virgin Interactive Entertainment. As you can see from the marketing material on the left, Clue, Monopoly and Risk were well-known board games. All of their other products were recreational and considerably cheaper than Success, Inc. Most of the Virgin Games had an MSRP of less than $20. Martin also targeted products through sport celebrities and semi-commercial offerings for MacDonalds and 7-up.

Games have a short life-cycle on the shelves, so swaps from retail were supplied largely with our software. This helped get us on the shelves quickly, and because Success had a long shelf life, everyone was pleased.

Productivity software was quite different from games, as it is today. Spreadsheets, like VisiCalc, SuperCalc and Lotus were on the shelf next to word processors, like Word Star and Word Perfect. Desktop publishers, such as Quark and Adobe's PageMaker, were another relatively high-end group. The challenge that was met by Success, Inc was to be 'productivity software' that had a soul. By launching with Virgin, creating the new genre was grossly simplified.

For a while, there was more creativity in productivity software than there is today. Although Windows 3.1 spirited a lot of products from the Apple environment, the release of Windows 95 in 1996 did a lot to discourage creativity. In order to crush Lotus for Excel and to crush Word Perfect for MS Word, the transition was made quite difficult. By the time Lotus and WordPerfect reached the market, their share had already been taken by Microsoft's application software. There was a lot of attrition among the products at that time, but Success Inc jumped that hurdle. Concomitantly, there was a lot of emphasis on the use of Microsoft's components for any product that did word processing. This still remains a public expectation today, although users are adapted quite well to simple text forms because of internet and HTML limitations.
The brochure and the back of the box used the exact copy that was used on the back of the Entrepreneur's Edge box. I was excited to see the enthusiasm of Martin and his people as they 'hatched' the last line in the brochure: In a fiercely competitive business world, Success, Inc will do everything in its power to get you across the finish line first. The DOS version was released in September of 1988.

At that time, there were only 2 million computers in the country. Most software was distributed through the 2000 mom-and-pop retail computer stores that sprang up all over the country. Sears was among the first large retail chains to carry computers. This was largely due to the way that a vendor maintained their shelves for books. Handelman and Leiberman were 'rack-jobbers' who extended their book products to software. They merged with Micro-D, who continued distribution through their being bought by Ingram. For a while, Ingram was called 'Ingram-MicroD.'
Virgin Catalog
Success Boxes Original Dynamic Pathways Logo
In 1991, the boxes were published directly by Dynamic Pathways of Newport Beach. A 'Sales and Marketing Planner' was added soon afterward. The same look-and-feel was retained. The UK version was simply called "Success", and was externally identical.
Marketing Success in Russia The Russian version was also called Success... in Russian. That is pronounced ooh-spee-uh. The Cyrillic character that looks like a 'C' is pronounced as an 'S', the character that is similar to the Greek 'PI' symbol is, in fact, pronounced like a 'P'.

We had 2 translations done in Russian. The second one was done by the University of Moscow, who, to our surprise, started selling the product as soon as they translated it. I had hoped to see some of the proceeds, but we did have the satisfaction of spreading free enterprise into a communist country. We also helped them democratize through a group organized by Tom Kemp.
Success User Manuals Since the first release with 2 floppy disks, there was always the need for User's Manuals. Gaining the confidence of the user was an important pre-sale and after-sale priority. Because the software was unlike any other, it was important to secure user confidence. There were no problems as there are today with 'instability' due to variations in components. The only DLL that was expected by Success, Inc was the 'common dialog' library that contained (and still does) the dialog windowing for disk file access and saving. Most users never needed these facilities, and if the libraries weren't present as usual with the 'Operating System', DOS-based code could take up the slack.

Across the Finish Line First

Users were interested in having a hardcopy of the planning information. In 1995, I finished 600-page workbooks for both the Business and Sales Plans. In order to have room in the box, a new larger box was designed. There was obviously an additional 'added value' that could be perceived by a user as soon as he could feel the weight of the box. Sales for the early Windows 95 package were very heavy for several reasons. One was the weight of the box. Many users who had pirated copies of DOS and early windows versions wanted the new edition and were willing to pay for it. There was now an ever-increasing number of computers sold each day. Retailers were very aggressive and shrinkwrapped products were in high demand. When we began selling to CompUSA, they only had seven stores. During their expansion, they needed longer terms and higher volume purchases. We were very patient with many of the retailers in the exploding market.
Boxes of Success The demand for software in the early 90s attracted several disparate groups of people into the field. The high-cash situation attracted business sharks with little concept of contributing in trade. Even IBM bought Lotus for 70 times earnings. Greed enforced speculation similar in scale to southern California real estate. Many groups of consultants learned how to pump venture capital into unrealized concepts. Increasingly, the children who grew up playing on computers began to consider themselves programmers. Every parent knew stories about how some child had used computers and made a lot of money. Even today, with entry level employment difficult to find, parents encourage children to "learn computers."
Originality is easiest in an environment where nothing exists. Branson recognized that when he chose the name 'Virgin' for his company. Products in a market niche tend to become similar. Operations personnel have little concept of a world without the status quo. The target functions of the TQ System and collateral planning products were never reached. Basic needs of customers can be satisfied more fully through the application of technology in original ways. The myopia of today's development teams can never fulfill that vision. The distraction of feature development and middleware will erode current managed efforts. Like 3-M and Virgin, when markets mature, it is probably time for the originator to move on. Dynamic Pathways was destroyed in 1997. Is there a future for Success? SXSexpress
The Media is Not the Message. Success Express
Although 'features' are important, benefits are the reasons people buy a product. In trade for their cash (and time spent earning it,) I save them time and help accomplish their objectives quickly. Marketing materials are the token for that exchange.

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