[PW] Kenneth Olsen Computer Quote (Quotation Query #745)

brian whatcott betwys1 at sbcglobal.net
Sun May 8 16:51:02 PDT 2016


On 5/8/2016 1:52 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:

> I explored this quotation a few years ago, but have not yet written an
> entry for the QI website.
>
> It appears that circa 1983 Olsen made a somewhat similar (but
> distinct) flawed pronouncement about personal computers: "The personal
> computer will fall flat on its face in business" in Business Week.
/snip/

While we are on the topic of Ken Olsen and Digital, I should chip in 
with something in a similar vein.
The 70's were Digital's glory days, with an annual growth rate as high 
as 25% pa at times.
It was my duty to visit Maynard Mass. each year and mingle, as well as 
visiting numerous  Final Assembly plants across Europe. Ken was 
well-loved, and people knew about his history of working the Lightning 
graphic computer at Lincoln Lab before launching a plug-in business, 
then a 12 bit processor  and soon the 16 bit processor which did a land 
sale bonanza.
          The word from the folks who worked around him at the Mill, 
and  about the only
thing anyone would say was not genius level:  when design guys drew his 
attention to the microprocessor chips - 4004,8008,8080 etc coming from 
Intel as a question of competitive  concern, it is said he called them 
"just a component".
  The design group could see a tidal wave coming.

Brian Whatcott


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