Photo: IEEE Computer Society
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), died Sunday. Here’s his Boston Globe obituary.DEC was the original “microcoputer” company (back then, microcomputers meant computers not bigger than a cupboard), beating out IBM’s mainframes and paving the way for the miniaturization of computing. He proved before anyone else that smaller, nimbler companies could beat seemingly invincible tech juggernauts.
DEC was also the first venture-backed company to go public, proving out the venture capital model that many people were thinking was crazy. He was the original man to leave a safe academic track at MIT to pursue what we would now call a startup, paving the way for hundreds of other entrepreneurs. He decided to run DEC like an academic lab, not a buttoned-down company, a management philosophy that can be seen at countless startups and tech giants like Google.
So it’s safe to say we all owe something to Ken Olsen directly or indirectly.
A practicing Christian, Olsen was also highly respected personally and professionally.
Sad day. RIP.