In 1983, David A. Isacowitz founded AIM to develop systems for resale in selected industries. The plan was to build upon his expertise in rail/motor freight transportation systems (having worked in that capacity with a leading consulting company for 12 years) and complement that with healthcare applications. Well, in the 1983-84 timeframe AIM did indeed design and develop various custom systems for clients such as: Southern Pacific Transportation (sales/marketing management), Tiger International (international purchase order tracking), Conrail (sales/marketing management), Ryder/ PIE Nationwide (sales/marketing management), Sun Carriers (assembly/distribution rating), Computer Psych (psychoanalysis tracking), Smithtown Asthma/Allergy Center (food allergy diagnosis), et al.
But as the story goes, AIM's focus was forever changed in the spring of 1984 when Orbis Communications was just getting started and Ethan Podell (who is also credited with coining the "Harpoon" name) called his sister-in-law at AIM to come in and see if we could develop a system for Orbis' budding barter and domestic television syndication business. Our "yes" answer resulted in a working system within 90 days. The nascent Harpoon® software was installed on an NCR/ADDS Mentor 2000 Pick- based computer with four users,14.7 Megabytes of disk storage, and a 6 MHZ Z8000 processor. Over the next few years, Orbis' business soared and soon the Harpoon software was running over 60 users and 20 printers!
It was 1986 when Scotti Bros Pictures Distribution hired AIM to develop a theatrical distribution system, AIM's second entertainment system. In that year, AIM started exhibiting Harpoon at NATPE and word spread of our newfound expertise. By 1987 Orion Pictures, Worldvision Enterprises, Independent Television Network, Syndicast and The Saul Group all implemented Harpoon systems. By now, AIM validated unique system development strategies and refocused attention on the rocketing television syndication and film distribution industries.
The next seminal event occurred in August 1989: Twentieth Century Fox agreed to implement Harpoon to help manage their worldwide television syndication operations. The initial 64 Fox users and printers quickly grew to a 212 node network that would also handle all residual payments and barter syndication operations. By the end of 1997, the Fox/Harpoon system was also handling the processing needs of recently acquired companies: New World Communications (including Stephen J. Cannell and Genesis) and The Family Channel (including MTM Enterprises). Also, when Fox first licensed Harpoon in 1989, AIM committed to opening an office in Los Angeles, which has been operating continuously. In August 1999 AIM's West Coast office moved from Sherman Oaks to Beverly Hills.
Implementing Harpoon to Fox's standards has been a never-ending process. By 1992, Harpoon was clearly the only fully integrated studio class rights licensing and financial system in the industry. The news traveled.
The '90s brought continuing success to AIM and Harpoon. AIM began implementing the now robust Harpoon application software at leading industry giants including: CBS Enterprises and Eyemark; Televisa, Protele, Visat and Saral; Tribune Entertainment and Tribune Media Services; and Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Tristar Television. Harpoon also was implemented at the "rising stars" of the '90s: Carsey- Werner Distribution, Martha Stewart Living, New Line Cinema, MTV Networks, et al.
Then in 1998, the third defining moment in the history of AIM and Harpoon happened: The Playboy Entertainment Group agreed to become the Beta customer for AIM's next generation of software: CS/Harpoon®. By combining the best of modern software technologies with the tried and true Harpoon application software business logic, the future of AIM, Harpoon and the thousands of industry users is now assured for many years to come.
Since 1983, AIM never compromised its credo to provide Quality Systems, Service and Support! To this day, AIM maintains and services every customer system, including those installed before our marketing strategy focused exclusively on entertainment companies. Eight such customer systems installed by AIM between 1983 and 1987 are still fully functioning; five of these customers still maintain support agreements with AIM. Our "unsung heroes," non-entertainment companies who helped AIM get to where we are today, still expect and receive the same quality support we believe in so strongly. These customers include: Great Neck Park District (a first-class operation with commuter parking lots, adult education, ice rink, tennis courts, swimming pools, marina and park card registration all run on AIM's system), Hamburger-Woolen Company (uniform fabric and police equipment distribution), Kemp Metals Products (precious metals casting), The Henry Mali Company (a 170 year-old billiard fabric and accessory distribution company) and Omni-Trade (importer/exporter of industrial components).
This is our story, and we are very proud to share it with you.