Scor­pio News

  

January–March 1987, Volume 1, Issue 1











Page 7 of 63











Dealer Profile – Marston Spurrier

[E4: = gata A the first of our Denter Frofites, watch we hope will be a regular ‘cure, thie time taking @ look at Marston Spurrier]

Marston Spurrier consists of Nick Spurrier plue occasional contract prograsmers and, as he are, ‘half a wife and three eighths of a dog’. So it is one of the smaller Gemini dealerships, is located in sunny Battersea and apecialives in the Challenger and GeK-US with a particular orientation towards the Mirage

Operating. Sy

How Nick got into the business is interesting because it {1lustrater # point which we are all trying 0 put across – that a computer will urually be Tavaluable in business – and also shows that once the virus which infects anyone who does Serious prograaming takes hold it does not Let go.

The time is early 1977 Nick Le Chief Executive of Argyle Securities Limited, a public company in property development, investment, retailing, housebuilding, Fertiliser manufacturing, and small-time banking, operating ‘through about 133 companies in the Uk, France. Belgium, the Netherlands, Sviteerland and the USA. ‘And he is going quietly mad, wading monthly through mounds of financial paper in order to keeps grip on precisely what is going on in each company.

Argyle i not a big company being worth just over £20 million (say £60 million Gn today’s money) but the £20 million is Tepresented dy £140 million of assets and £120 million of debt; most of the asbete are property and the property crash is by no means over. Mick needs a compuver. The problem is that there aren’t many around and there iv certainly no software to buy off the peg. 50

of the first Appies vhich as he ays ‘was pretty useless but a stop-gt Starts writing progeams {n BASIC to consolidate Financia Understandable form

‘A few months Later on # trip to the USA Nick buys # “proper* micro – a Vector MZ * based on the S100 bus and running CP/M. With some considerable efor! Knowing initially nothing about fe and Little about programming, he has home made database manager and a cash flow analyser up and running These provide che basic roole fer him to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of his operating companies and to embark on a progranne of disinvestment to stabilise the business and. produce information to keep his benkere ae happy a they could be, when similar companies were crashing to the ground st regular intervals thie is a fairy story (but true) because having access to more “instant” Information he If able to sell off companies which have inherent dangers for his group and cionitor the sale of properties and debt repayment schedules so that by io70, Argyle is turned into a “cash ghell” and sold

Coming to the Gemini connection, in 1962 Nick (now a director of Allied Suppliers Ltd, then the 4th largest food retailer in the Uk) replaces the Vector with one of the first Galaxys: This 18 In order to implement « project to Finalise the rationalisation of the property assets of Alised, which consisted Of 1,250 operating stores and over 800 “investment

Degun in 1980. He wroce the software for ti

began a “love affair” with low-level. programming and che Pascal language. He also became a Gemini fan because of the reliability of the hardware (plug. plug) and soon replaced the Galaxy 1 with a Galaxy 3 (Winchester based system)” It ts s"gad reflection on corporate life that his employers would only permit TBM Computers an the premises eo he had to buy the Celaxye himself and conceal them Word Processors This was also a fairy story (of the Brothers Crinm variety) because Allied was taken over by Argyll Foods, Mick’s project wee satisfactorily completed, and there was nowhere for him to go but out with a silver-gilt handshake | Soin 1905 he started Marston Spurrier

With a background in Larger busin and knowledge of the problems facing Organisations wishing co implement Financial Control and Information Syatens properly, Wick remained steadfastly unaffected by the lure of TAM XT/AT syst

And thelr vealth of software, believing that the future lay in true multi-user


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Page 7 of 63