We’ll call it the Bobby McFerrin era of the “don’t worry, be happy” mid to late eighties. The Tulsa MicroAge franchise dominated the state-wide Oklahoma technology channel for hardware, software, and services. Major players like Microsoft even had satellite offices at MicroAge. Competing PC clone shops and contenders like Computerland had fallen away. Even IBM was on the way out, reduced primarily to AS/400 sales. Meanwhile, major accounting and ERP software was dominated by ePartners. Correspondingly, technology jobs were primarily from major universities like Tulsa University and OU/OSU or “groomed on paper” by the staffing firm of Robert Half.
During this time, a network administrator from Memorex Telex (bankrupt in 1992) would start a training company for NetWare and eventually become a prominent regional Microsoft Certified Training Center. Soon MicroAge would decide to buy out the Tulsa franchise and almost immediately begin to fail. In tandem, key employees from both Robert Half and ePartners would begin to put out their own shingles. The ensuing vacuum created an ultra-competitive and vicious technology channel:
- Today, the Oklahoma technology channel is dominated by nearly a dozen staffing firms virtually all spawned from betrayal and bitter battles with Robert Half.
- Technology support has the most sorted stories: sales people and consultants fraudulently signing employment documents with fake names and invalid dates, theft of client files and contracts, and blatant copying of brands.
- Certified Trainers from NET would break employment contracts and bloody each other to the point of Chapter 11 with current viability even further challenged by Community Colleges.
- ePartners eventually collapsed under its own weight nation-wide as key employees broke away to start their own financial software services firms – four of which are in Oklahoma.
The true stories of the Oklahoma technology channel could fill a library. The above bullet points have been greatly sanitized and loosely summarized. The losers in this story are Oklahoma customers, who unwittingly may hire unscrupulous characters and firms.