Matt Perdue says he specializes in finding a way to make things work. A sparkplug on the OpenMPE board of directors, Perdue manages his Hill Country.Net ISP business from San Antonio, using the $7-a-month ISP as a platform for his IT consulting with HP 3000 customers both homesteading and migrating. Last month he had enough moxie to win at auction a Series 987 for less than $300, a disaster recovery system — sold new at more than $100,000 — which Perdue has put in as an upgrade at a homesteading customer’s site.
He embraced computers early in life. Perdue started working with them in high school in Maryland, learning everything he could on what the district used. After serving as a student on a school district advisory committee for educational technology, he contacted Hewlett-Packard to say “can my group come and learn on what you’ve got?” The HP of that era opened up everything it had available in its Rockville office for experimentation — including Perdue’s first HP 3000.
He began his IT career doing consulting work for HP customers recommended by HP, “since at the time HP didn’t have any internal resources for such work.” Working in an time when a customer would use a “CRT” — cathode ray tube, for readers who’ve only known “monitors” — he built a CRT interface for a client to an HP9830 workstation “so they wouldn’t waste paper.” His development missions have included applications such as accounting systems, mailing list processing, professional time and expense billing, court docket tracking, and residential design and construction management.
Perdue has served as comptroller of a company, CEO of two construction firms and a residential design firm. But his most significant post to the 3000 community might be his director’s position on the Board of OpenMPE, serving the community in discussions with HP about the future of MPE. After one very interesting year on that board, he ran for another term this spring.
With Perdue’s background in development, consulting, and supporting migration-bound 3000 packaged systems including MANMAN and Amisys, we wanted to ask him about the years to come in a homestead-migrate business, as well as how the 3000’s future looks post-HP. We interviewed him via e-mail in early May, just after HP asked again for beta-testers for its MPE/iX enhancement patches.
How have you changed your business model since HP stopped making and selling the HP 3000?
The 11-14-01 announcement definitely put a crimp in plans. Prior to the announcement I had five-year plans to release or re-release three software packages and make major marketing efforts in conjunction with HP’s software developer program. After the announcement, needless to say, that changed. Instead of updating the packages native to the 3000, a review had to be done to determine the cost and market return for those packages.
I can certainly tell you it was not a welcome announcement. As a result, two of those packages have been mothballed and may never resurface again. Our business has changed from producing or re-releasing three packages to one, supporting clients either eventually migrating or homesteading, and continuing to assist clients with business operational support. I’ve also acquired more 3000 hardware than I would have otherwise, both for my consulting group and my clients.
What is the mix of 3000 versus other kinds of work you’ve been doing?
The 3000/MPE is still the bulk of my time, probably 80-85 percent.
The rest is business support functions, project management, working
with Linux, investigating Itanium and helping clients solve whatever
they need solved.