Techweenie’s Tech History – Apple, Microsoft, etc.

My history in tech was a matter of ‘right place, right time.’

Many, many times…

I was an ad agency guy right after the “Mad Men” era and although I started out as a copywriter, ended up being an Account Executive (which the Playboy Dictionary once listed as synonym for Son of a Bitch).

What it meant was that I spoke with clients, got to understand their marketing/advertising/communication challenges and recommended programs for them. Upon approval, I would then supervise the work.

I ended up in Silicon Valley in the early 70s, and things were popping. The hot agency in the Valley at that time had Intel, and Intel had just introduced the 8080 – cornerstone of the small computing explosion to come. The head of the agency gave me an evaluation kit for me to solder together so they could understand how easy it was for a non-technical person. It was easy. The resulting computer had 1.2 k (bits!) of RAM on board and a slot for a PROM, so I had a pal at Stanford burn Tiny BASIC into a PROM. My computer could then take a maximum of 10 instructions in tiny BASIC… but as you may or may not recall from 1977, there were no visual output devices for consumers. I had to take my board to a local computer store (there were a few) and use a Teletype machine to communicate with my “computer.”

One day in January ’77, the agency met with a couple entrepreneurs with a computer in a box. They proceeded to demonstrate the game of “Life” in color on a small TV screen. Nobody but the two Steves presenting had any concept of what we were seeing, but I liked the passion and intellect of the hippie-looking one and agreed to manage their business.

Over the next 4+ months, we developed a logo – an apple with a bite out of it – a brochure, and an ad. Probably most important, we developed a brand tonality of plain-language de-mystification of technology and introducing the concept of “personal computer” to a consumer audience.

The computer in the box was to become the Apple II and sell over 4.86 million units.

Again, lightning struck in 1983, when I was approached by another ad agency that had landed a big software company up in the Seattle area. Ultimately, I managed the introduction of Excel and 25 other products.

10 years later, I was on my own and hired by Quarterdeck Office Systems to launch their memory management tool, QEMM (which briefly became the top selling software program in the world), and one of the first HTML authoring packages.

Throughout all this – from 1977 through 1999 – I did the marketing and advertising for Automotion as a side business. Catalog design, copy, photography, illustration, production and printing. I named the “Weltmeister” line of 911/944 performance products.

Most recently, I was part owner of a Youtube channel and a software tool for content curation and distribution. I am still involved in tech marketing… and not interested in retiring.