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Dave Fulton

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Dr. Dave and his collection:
Dr. Fulton and his violin collection are written up in this Seattle Times article
Actually, if I correctly recall, the company was sold for around 180 million. Dave's partner (Dick La Valley), who was also the company's legal counsel owned the other half. -- Doug Dodge
Other partner's eventually got paid. See: -- link broken, try;

Dr. Dave Fulton was president of Fox Software. He sold his company for $173 million to Microsoft in 1992. (Technically, Fox Holdings and Microsoft merged).
Dr. Dave made a video-taped appearance at DevCon this year (1999) to congratulate all of us on 10 years of DevCon. He lives in the Seattle area and is involved in philanthropic endeavors, particularly the Seattle Symphony.
An anecdote about Dr. Dave and the birth of FoxBase: It is said that Dr. Dave was working on a system for a client in dBase II. One of the reports was not running up to the speed that was needed. Dr. Dave wrote a compiler to compile that report so it would run faster. It ran about 7-10 times faster than the dBase II version. Dr. Dave's partner said that if he could write a compiler for all of dBase II that was 7-10 times faster he would have a saleable product. So he did it.
Here is the version I heard:
The dBaseII system was to be marketed, but A.T. wanted $600 per runtime, and that would overprice the total price of the app. Or he wanted to sell a few hundred and didn't want to give up $100K.
And here is just another version:
Dr. Dave was also a Programming Professor at the University. Therefore he looked for some things to train and test his students. That's how they started to do a better dBase and called it Foxbase. Since they studied, discussed and rewrote each and every function, this is the reason for the superiour speed of Foxbase. The best students of each year were then hired at Fox Software, which started as a small shop in a Mall.
The version I heard is that Dave's consulting company was running into some major problems with the stability of a dBase application and that the most cost effective way to address the problems, given the body of code that already existed for the application, was to write a new interpreter that could run the application without crashing. When it was finished, it was so much faster and more stable than dBase that Dr. Fulton and Dick La Valley decided to start a company to sell it. -- Mike Feltman
Dave once told me that his "secret sauce" for Rushmore (the fast database searching technology) and for many of the advances in FoxPro (versus dBase) was this: there were many optimization techniques developed in the mainframe world for handling data, but the developers in the PC world started everything from scratch and never bothered to look at what had come before. (Maybe because the new generation was young or arrogant or both). He said he just took concepts and algorithms from the mainframe side and implemented in the PC world, and everybody thought it was practically magic.

I once got to spend a solid 4 hours with Dave as he showed me FoxPro 1 in alpha. Since I was the first person outside of Fox Software to see it, he kept showing me features and asking me if I thought developers would like them. I was blown away because he had built into the xbase language things that previously took bunches of code to accomplish.

Dave Fulton is an example and role model as an inventor/tech guru/developer who also mastered the "business thing" and was well-rewarded.
- Richard Grossman
Category People
( Topic last updated: 2015.09.07 11:22:08 AM )