What Went Wrong in the Computer Industry?

It became an industry – devoted to making a profit.

I can remember this well. I was an unemployed Electronic Engineer (U of Illinois, 1959) when Television made me obsolete, in the Seventies.

None of us realized this was happening at the time – we only realized that we had no jobs. And, like everyone else – I set about finding one. And ended up working in the Computer Industry, as a Technical Writer, in Southern California, in the Eighties.

What a transition! To this day, I can hardly believe it – and no one else can believe it either.

But there I was, in a computer company that was being taken over, and destroyed by outside investors. This became a familiar pattern in company after company. The smart money saw where the money was going, grabbed as much as they could – and left the company to die.

There were a few exceptions – Apple and Microsoft, and later Google and Amazon. That became hugely wealthy. They succeeded because they invested in their companies, and their technologies – they didn’t just raid them, and walk off.

Because of these companies, huge technical advances happened. The Personal Computer was born. The Computer I am using right now, to write in this blog.

I just downloaded What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counter culture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry. This is about the changes that were happening, in what became known as Silicon Valley. Changes that changed the whole world – without its being aware of this at all.

Let me repeat that – huge changes were happening, but no one was aware of them!


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