Preferred Solutions - 30 Years
The story of Preferred Solutions – established in 1991
PREFERRED SOLUTIONS TIMELINE
Celebrating our stories over the past 30 years
Preferred Solutions has been around for 30 years. But where did this all come from? Well, where do all good stories start? At the beginning of course…
Life really has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. We’re talking about a time when an entire company’s data could fit on a 800 KB floppy disk, Pastel still worked on DOS and South Africa had just hosted and won their first Rugby World Cup.
I know you folks have mixed feelings about prequels. But I assure you, this will be good, trust me. It all starts round about the time when Preferred Solutions first came to the scene, with a twenty-something couple stepping out of a beat-up golden Jetta onto the fynbos flats of the Cape Peninsula.
Now, some of you might know Engen Petroleum, you know, the guys that supply a decent part of the fuel used in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yeah, that Engen. In 1997, Pastel Accounting was adapted by Preferred Solutions for the Engen Depots to manage their bulk diesel sales to many farming communities.
Ok, sometimes I forget that I’m a fair amount younger than some of my colleagues (don’t tell them I said so). It doesn’t come up very often but when your boss calls you into his office with a suggestion for the next chapter of the story you’ve been writing and he starts talking about MS-DOS and the changeover to Windows in the 90s, it becomes fairly apparent.
A first-person narrative: a mode of storytelling in which a storyteller recounts events from their own point of view. Generally not a very reliable point of view, as the protagonist can be biased to some degree, but it is relatable as the protagonist is wont to be. So let me take a leaf out of Gandalf’s book and invite you on an unexpected journey.
Here’s an interesting thought experiment. You know that the technological and societal demise of the human race is immanent. Your time in a “normal” world is limited before chaos and anarchy become the supreme governing factors of this new dark age. What do you do?
We’ve had loads of soft reboots in the last couple of years. Between Blade Runner 2049, Star Trek and even a little Halloween, there’s no shortage of fresh takes on existing intellectual property. And we’re getting to the point where I can regale you with the story of our own soft reboot in 2001. The early days behind us, the true adventures can begin.
Heroes are a staple of nearly every story ever written. Knights that slay dragons, warriors that battle great armies and the strong that defend the weak from certain doom. But not all heroes wear capes, don gleaming armour or sport lustrous golden hair that flows dramatically in the wind. Some are normal, everyday people that do their best to build, nurture and protect those around them. And this is where we start our adventure…with forty thieves.
Circles are pretty cool, if you haven’t noticed. People have been fans of circles for nearly as long as we’ve known what circles are. The original origins of the word circle is from Homeric Greek which we can pin to circa 8th century BCE but people have been messing with round stuff for much longer than that.
Now, the word Evolution has wider implications in the Pastel world. In 2003, the release of Pastel Evolution changed the playing field forever. The available products of the time, like Pastel Partner for example, were great accounting solutions. But Pastel Evolution was a business solution, providing a wider range of capabilities to manage your entire company, not just the money side of things.
So, I like globetrotting adventure movies as much as the next cinephile. Crowded cities, car chases, rappelling down skyscrapers and such, you know what I mean. Now, not a lot of people get to experience this in real life. But, as per, it happened to us. Gather around the fire people, time for a story.
In 2005, Preferred Solutions was invited to a Pastel event in Johannesburg. Now, these events were legion around that time, so it wasn’t weird for us to get an invite. But this one was different. The glamorous event commenced, food was eaten, drinks were had and the chit-chat went thick and fast. After a while, the bigwigs stood up and headed for the stage.
And this is where our story for this week begins, with the last two pairs of wellington boots at a co-op in the distant town of Bredasdorp. In 2007, two of Preferred Solutions’ employees, Jenny Huxter and Sophia Brand, made the arduous (that means really difficult) trek to this economic and service hub of the Southern Overberg region.
In classic writing, there are 12 literary archetypes that are common characters in many written works of fiction. Archetypes like The Lover, The Hero and The Magician are literary staples, but today I would like to focus on one archetype that has made up a substantial part of Preferred Solutions’ story, The Explorer. The Explorer is a character naturally driven to travel and explore the unknown. A curious, driven, and motivated character, heroes like Odysseus, Huckleberry Finn and Sherlock Holmes make up members of this group.
Why do we tell stories? I know that few of you have considered that question. It isn’t particularly important to daily existence these days and probably doesn’t take up a lot of cognitive space in the minds of any outside of scholarly circles. But I’d like to take a second to think about it, and I would appreciate it if you joined me in this thought experiment.
I recently finished The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while but never got around to. Now, as per the series, all of the characters are pretty great but the dynamic between two of them stands out to me. The characters of Will Smith and Carlton Banks display the love-hate relationship between ‘siblings’ really well.
Castles are pretty cool right? I mean, what's not to like? Massive structures built to withstand weather and war for ages and ages yet maintaining that rich aura of history and adventure. Whether we’re talking about real castles like The Forbidden City, the Palace of Versailles or Bran Castle (the castle said to be the inspiration for Dracula’s castle) or fictional ones like Camelot, Minas Tirith or Drangleic Castle, these monolithic structures enforce this idea of importance and grandeur by their presence alone.