What the computer industry means to me. (Reminiscence - software, stores and magazines) David Gordon.
I guess you could say I'm a gizmo freak. With my background in business--I was a tax accountant for 14 years--I had had a lot of experience with computers. So, in 1977 when home computers were first introduced it was not surprising that I was "bitten by the computer bug."
At one point I actually had made full deposits for both a Commodore Pet and a TRS-80 computer, hoping to buy the first model that arrived. Then in December 1977 Apple Computer reduced the price of their home computer from $1795 to $1995 and I was able to buy an Apple--at the time the Cadillac of the home computer industry--by collecting my deposits on the Pet and the TRS-80. I took the plunge and joined the microcomputer revolution.
The field of microcomputers has always appealed to me for two reasons--making money and having fun. I think it is important to have a good time. The microcomputer industry has given me the opportunity to turn my hobby into my vocation. There are times when I have to pinch myself to believe that this is all really happening.
Microcomputers have been very, very good to many, many people. They have allowed us to create an industry and have a great deal of fun while doing so. Each and every successful microcomputer company has at its helm an entrepreneur/technician who had the ability and foresight to let his hobby become his livelihood.
The computer industry awakened a "sleeping giant" in me--my ability as a marketeer. I never knew I had that ability. I had relegated myself to being a pencil-pushing bean counter, but getting into the computer industry allowed my latent marketing ability to take over.
I realized that I had creative talents and natural inclinations about where the market was going. I jumped on the bandwagon and quickly became known as a maverick in the industry. Soon I learned that the marketeer in me would not allow me to do anything in a traditional manner. My reputation as a maverick grew.
I got my start in the computer book field by publishing a book that had been rejected by several publishing companies as being too "machine specific." That title turned out to be a best seller. Later I published a book that was rejected by the world's largest publisher as being too "age specific." That book is currently Datamost's best seller, and more than 300,000 copies have been printed to date in the resulting series.
Games were my first love. When I entered this industry I had an enormous library of computer game software. On one of my first trips to Apple Computer in 1978 I took with me a simple maze game called Escape by a fledgling company called Muse. Apple had 50 or 60 employees at the time and I created a work loss of approximately 60 man weeks because everyone at Apple was playing that game instead of working. They were charting out the mazes and trying to solve the puzzle. In the beginning the industry was made up of people who wanted to have a good time. Today people are still having fun, but the definition has changed.
Now it's 1984 and to be honest with you I haven't booted up my computer in one solid year. I am, however, still having just as much fun as ever. It's just that my definition of fun has changed. Instead of playing games, I play with the deals I make; instead of playing with a joystick, I am directing a company; instead of traveling through an adventure game, I travel the world; instead of ruling the world in Hammurabi, I rule a company. The computer industry has allowed me to do what I never dreamed was possible--to build a company that started out as my hobby and to make a valid contribution to the future of computing.