Update News for January 2021
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
Happy New Year
Zip Code Renewals Must Be Paid By
January 8, 2021
Zip Codes Available At 12 Noon EST
January 11, 2021
Do Some Preparation In Advance
I Still Don’t Trust The Internet
Our Current Programming Plans for 2020 and 2021
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
Everyone here at Compulife would like to extend to you and your family the very best wishes for 2021. It is hard to imagine that this is the 39th time that we have been able to say Happy New Year to our first customers.
Like so many, for a number of reasons, I am glad to have 2020 in the rear view mirror. While many will agree that 2020 was CRAZY, I suspect that 2021 will be more of the same. In fact we may be entering a time of great craziness on a number of different levels.
I read a recent article that said that covid has FORCED businesses into the future whether those businesses like it or not. Having noted that, business has really not changed for Compulife in 2020. Every one of our employees have been working from their offices, in their homes, for at least the past 8 years, some longer. All our products have been available for shipping by internet for the last 15 years. Those who have brick and mortar businesses, that rely on walk in traffic, are really suffering and we are very sympathetic.
January 8, 2021
As we said last month, nothing compels you to renew your additional zip code listings and you will continue to be listed in those zip codes until January 8, 2021 in the event that you elect not to pay those renewals.
IMPORTANT: If your payment has not been received by the end of business on January 8, 2021, the additional listings that you have will LAPSE and be made available to other subscribers at noon on January 11, 2021.
If you believe that you did not get sufficient email contacts (as per our 3 for 1 warranty) and that we will need to make a warranty adjustment to your invoice, please contact us immediately. We’ll review your total number of email contacts and weigh that against the number of zip codes that you have, and the number of email contacts that you are entitled to. If you are short, we will determine the credit that we need to make against your invoice for 2021.
January 11, 2021
The land rush begins at noon, January 11th EST.
As it is every year, the second Monday in January, at 12 noon EST, is the best and busiest zip code purchasing time of the year. The zip codes of those who did not renew their previous listings will become available on a first come, first served basis.
To keep this fair and equal for all, we have a HARD starting date and time to ensure fairness. Every year someone complains because someone else beat them to a zip code that they wanted.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT call or email zip code purchase instructions before 12pm EST on January 11th. If you do, your email will be ignored and we may not have time to respond. If you call early to buy zip codes, and get through, you will be told to call later.
Because the phone lines will likely be busy that day it is BEST to do your homework in advance and email your instructions for new purchases or changes as soon after 12 noon as possible. If you have questions then call or email us the week before.
NOTE: You have two basic options for acquiring new zip codes. You can either pay for and ADD zip codes to your current list, or you can trade/exchange zip codes that you already have for zip codes that you think are better. There are limits to the number you can obtain, and you can call to discuss that if you need to.
Available zip codes (ANY zip code with less than 3 agents listed) will be available on a first come, first serve basis. The new list will be published on January 11th early that morning. You can review available zip codes here at that time:
Any additional zip code purchased on January 11th, must be paid for immediately. The cost of the zip code will be 11 X the monthly fee ($1.50 for the first 75, $2 for zip codes over 75; standard licenses only). Once your new zip codes are added, the remainder of the month of January is free.
If you are switching zip codes for better zip codes we will need specific instructions. Tell us what zip code that you want to add and which zip code that you are giving up in exchange for it. If you don’t know what zip codes you have email us at email@example.com and ask for a list of those zip codes ASAP.
Once again, you can research zip codes at:
If I was you, I would print a list of zip codes in the areas that you are interested in, IN ADVANCE of the 11th.
IMPORTANT TIP: You can use the column titles to sort the list of zip codes.
Typically, when I am assisting subscribers in finding great zip codes, I will sort by the 4th column: “Zip Code Income (Millions)”. The number in that column is a result of multiplying column 5 times column 6 (Number of Households times Income Per Household). You will need to click that column heading twice. The first time you click it sorts from smallest number to the largest. The second time you click it sorts from largest to the smallest.
TIP: In densely populated, urban areas, increase the “Number of Listed Zip Codes” from the default number of 100. This will enlarge the area of the state that you are looking at.
Once you have the list that you want, print that list. I would then highlight the zip codes that you would really like to get. Once again, make sure that list is done in advance of the 11th.
On the morning of the 11th you will want to replicate the list again, doing the same search and sort. Check your old list with the new list to see if zip codes that previously had 3 subscribers listed now have 2 or less. If that happens, and it’s one of the zip codes that you want, fire off your email at 12pm to:
TIP: Don’t wait too long after finding zip codes that you want. You can send multiple emails. Remember, first come first served. I promise you, if you wait too long, some zip codes that you want will be gone by the time you ask for them.
Make sure that we have your name and phone number in the email. Once we get to you in time order, we will call you and ask for your credit card information.
IMPORTANT: Compulife keeps no credit card records for subscribers. If we don’t have your credit card number, they can’t be stolen from us. Every purchase by credit card, requires the credit card again.
It appears that the RV bomb in Nashville targeted the AT&T building and it worked. AT&T phone service, which we use for our cell phones at Compulife, was knocked out all during Christmas day. The bomb demonstrated how vulnerable our modern hi-tech communications are, and how it can all come to a grinding halt.
If just confirms for me why Compulife will continue to focus on autonomous solutions for our quoting services. Having a Windows PC software program, where the software and database are installed and run from your autonomous PC computer continues to be our number one product and you can be sure that you are able to do quotes no matter what happens to the internet.
On that note we continue to hear from more and more customers who are going to web based solutions for their agencies. The idea is that they place their software programs on a central server, that is “cloud based”, and then all their various employees run the software products from that server through the “cloud”.
I can assure you that here at Compulife – WE WON’T BE DOING THAT.
Two stories and examples of why that won’t be happening. First, a recent story.
One of our life company customers who uses our Compulife Batch Analyzer was complaining that the Batch Analyzer was taking too long to run a batch. Apparently a batch that used to run in a few minutes was now taking 30 minutes to run. The customer was frustrated and wanted to know what we had done to the program to make it so much slower. We hadn’t done anything and wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. We identified for the customer the files on their computer which set up the batch and had them send them those files to us.
I then took those files, put them on my own computer, and ran the batch. It took 35 seconds. I put the same files on an older, slower computer and the time to do that same batch was 45 seconds. The customer and I compared the spreadsheet results and we confirmed they were the same. Both spreadsheets had the same 5,500 lines of quotes.
NOTE: 5,500 quotes in 35 seconds, not bad. What do you think? If your a life insurance company and want to crunch numbers with your competitors, this is the tool for you.
The customer then advised that they had the Compulife program on their cloud server, and were running it from there. I suggested that the customer copy the Compulife program to a stand along computer and try it there. The customer had an old PC laptop and put it on that machine. The batch ran in under 2 minutes. What can I say?
This brought to mind the second story/example, which is actually a blast from the past.
Many years ago, when Compulife first got started in 1982, we targeted our software for CP/M based computers. In those days we often had to sell a computer system as well as our software because most agents and agencies had no computer system at all. We wanted an inexpensive computer system so there was not too big a price barrier to buying our software. We became dealers for two computer systems:
Both computers were bundled with a lot of office software. They both came with wordprocessors, spreadsheets, databases, etc. In those days a word processor would typcially sell for $600 so getting one with the computer was a big deal.
The Morrow was a two drive box that did not look that much different from the first IBM PC’s, although it was much more compact. You ran the Morrow computer using a “dumb terminal” which gave you the monitor and keyboard from which to operate. A Morrow computer, terminal and printer would typically run an agent about $4,000. A comparable IBM PC system, when they first came out, was double the price and had no software.
The Kaypro II was called a portable computer, in that the monitor and keyboard were part of the computer, which all snapped together into a single box with a handle that let you carry it with you; all 30 pounds of it. I remember the good old days lugging that around to various agencies to demonstrate our software. The cost was about the same as the Morrow and came with the bundled business software. We preferred the Morrow because you have a full 12″ computer screen, the Kaypro screen was a 9″.
Because we were the only local operation that was selling those systems, we generated some money for Compulife by retailing those computers to customers not in the insurance business. I remember one of our big customers in those days was Babcock Wilcox the boiler manufacturer. They were buying about one Kaypro a week and the margins were such that we were making some good money on each sale. The guy who was their point person dealing with us told me how the company had tried to buy word processing software program that they could run from their IBM main frame. The main frame people (the IT people in the white coats) wanted all the software centralized on the main frame where they could manage and control it. However, once they addded the word processing software to the main frame it dragged the entire system down. People that used to get things in a couple of minutes, were now taking 10 to 15 times longer; sound familiar?
Babcock had two options. Either foot the bill for a much bigger and even more powerful mainframe (hundreds of thousands of dollars) or buy microcomputers for those that needed word processors and get the word processing software off of the main frame. Reason trumped main frame politics and the company opted to ignore the white coat IT people and move to micro computers for word processing.
Needless to say, with that story in my memory, and comparing it to the new “cloud based” fad, I can only say that what goes around comes around.
I share this because we are now hearing from more and more subscribers who tell us they are moving their distributive programming (PC’s) to centralized programming (cloud based servers) which are being used the way companies used to use mainframes. While the logic of “centralized” management of software may sound appealing, it is running up against the old problem of decreased performance because too many people are asking the centralized computer to do too much. And while today’s modern computers are much, much faster than they used to be, the demand of modern software is much, much higher than the software of yesterday. The result can be a big drop in performance and people waiting for things to happen.
We suggested that our company customer with the slow batch analyzer move our program to a PC and run it from there. I think that’s what they will be doing moving forward. For those of you thinking about centralizing you systems on the cloud, be ready to “hurry up and wait“.
Our ultimate goal is to have a web based version of our product, and works just with the Windows PC version, and vice versa.
To summarize, our Compulife Basic product, the one you use for your phone and non-Windows devices, will eventually become much more powerful, and our Windows PC product will work the same way.
The following is the current order for new work that we will be doing in 2021:
- Introduction of New PC Version: CQS.EXE
- Overhaul Of Current Product Data Files
- Introduction of Compulife Basic Plus (with Pick 12)
Anyone with questions about any of these upcoming projects can call Bob Barney to discuss:
Please don’t email me essay questions, just call. If I’m not in, email me your phone number, I’ll call you.
These planned objectives will easily consume our programming time during 2021. The good news is that once the product data files have been converted, and we have introduced the new CQS.EXE, and upgraded our internet engine to use the new data files, Compulife will be turning it’s full attention to our web based, Compulife Basic software. The long term goal is to have a web based product that does everything our PC based software does.