Joseph P. Firmage looks as professional as any president/owner of a computer software company as he glides through a press conference explaining the advantages of two new programs his company has designed.
But Firmage is different than other company presidents trying to sell accessories for Macintosh computers at the large MacWorld Exposition in Washington, D.C..Firmage is just 18 years old.
But that doesn't mean the Olympus High School graduate and son of University of Utah law professor Ed Firmage doesn't have experience.
He has been working with computers and programming for seven years, "since I was 11. I've been working on the Macintosh for the past two years," he said. "But I am the youngest company president here - by far."
Before his press conference began, he told the Deseret News, "Some people think my age is a disadvantage. But I don't."
He said his company - called Notis - presently consists of himself, another programmer and marketing consultants. He said he has approached several people to possibly invest in his company, but they are awaiting results of his first attempts to market his programs at MacWorld.
He said he put up his own money for the trip to MacWorld and the chance for his company to take off.
Like the more established companies, Firmage lured reporters who cover the computer industry to his press conference with professional-looking press releases and slick brochures - and promises of refreshments that included a bar offering drinks.
Once there, reporters listened to Firmage as he used a slide show to explain his new product.
He explains that his programs help make programming easier by substituting graphics symbols for lengthy, complex codes and words normally used in programming. Basically, it tries to prove the addage that in programming, a picture is worth a thousand words.
"It allows programming without learning complex programming languages," he said.
Firmage said he has been pleased with response he has received while directing his exhibit at MacWorld.
"I've had a lot of interest," he said. "The product has been able to speak for itself - that makes it easy."