John J. Cullinane

“Proof that David really can compete in the same arena as Goliath”

Recently named by the Wall Street Transcript as a top executive in the computer industry, John Cullinane is living proof that David really can compete in the same arena as Goliath, for his company, Cullinet Software, Incorporated (formerly Cullinane Corporation), has thrived by selling software exclusively for IBM-compatible computers.

In 1965, while working for a small computer programming company, Cullinane helped develop a concept for a generalized payroll software program for several banks. He had an idea: why not repackage the same system and market it to any bank? The fixed price could cover the amortized programming costs, marketing and support expenses, plus a healthy profit.

Three years later, armed with a software products company proposal, Cullinane headed for New York. He raised $500,000 from 25 investors, and Cullinane Corporation was established.

By 1972, however, Cullinane’s dream was rapidly becoming a nightmare. All that remained of the original half-million dollars was $500, and he had to meet an $8,500 payroll in one week. Fortunate, a check from a customer arrived in time to save the company.

Within a year Cullinane acquired the rights to market the B.F. Goodrich data base management system, which he reworked and renamed Integrated Database Management Systems (IDMS). Combined with a new product called Integrated Data Dictionary, IDMS gave the company a new range of customers and a competitive edge against IBM’s outmoded data base system, IMS.

In 1978 Cullinane became the first publicly traded software company and in 1982 joined the New York Stock Exchange. Today there are more than 9,800 Cullinane installations worldwide. Cullinane has established the National Education Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, a complex of 18 classrooms and five computer labs, which 7,000 students are expected to attend in 1984, its first full year of operation. In addition, the firm has opened regional education centers in 13 U.S. cities, offering Cullinet customers the high quality curriculum available in Framingham.