Voices from the Past

I received this in the e-mail today:

Tue Jun 10, Mountain View

Scott Cook, Doug Carlston, & Trip Hawkins with Stewart Alsop   
"Jurassic Software:  A Look Back at the Beginnings of Consumer Software"
7:30 PM Panel Discussion
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA
Free. (Suggested donation of $10.00 from non-members.)
Advance reservations required.
Please RSVP by Thursday, June 5, 2003
For more information or to sign up online go to
or call 1-650-810-1027

The entrepreneurs who created the first consumer-software companies gather to reminisce about the early days and recall the lessons learned in the founding of a new industry. Scott Cook is co-founder of Intuit; Doug Carlston is co-founder of Broderbund Software; Trip Hawkins is founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO. Stewart Alsop was the publisher of P.C. Letter and founder of the Agenda and Demo conferences. Stewart will moderate an informal discussion of the beginnings of consumer software and the entrepreneurs have promised to bring pictures and products to show and tell for the audience.

Wow, voices from the past.  I got the e-mail too late to attend the meeting though.  It is tonight.  I remember Scott Cook presenting a little program he wrote at SEF (Software Entrepreneur's Forum) ages ago.  He was a SEF member and his program was selling amazingly well, so we were there to hear his experiences.  I think Phillipe Kahn was there also talk about how his Turbo Pascal was doing.  A lot of memories from that little Hof'brau at Palo Alto golf course.

I first met Doug Carlston when the company I worked for had a baseball game with Broderbund.  I remember sitting in the shade talking to guys who wrote Loderunner and a chopper rescue game (I foget the name, but it was good).  Later, I kept running into them because the next company I worked for was into educational games.  I really admired the way Broderbund was doing business back then.  Compared to them, Sierra Online was dorky and EA was too glitzy (I wonder what happened to Bill Budge, the first software artist?).

I never met Trip Hawkins, but I remember hearing about 3DO and how much he was asking from game developers to develop for 3DO.  Yikes.  He had guts.  Too bad, the game console market turned out to be much tougher than it seemed.  He shouldn't feel too bad that 3DO crashed because Microsoft is not doing too much better than him.

If that was the beginning of consumer software, I guess I was there from the beginning.  We were naive back then, but it was exciting times.  Still we weren't naive enough to think anything will sell.  The picture is somewhat different now.  Internet, Microsoft, open source, and Bubble looms in the picture.  I can still feel the excitement though.  It is like wunderlust.  Once you have it, every little road you come across pulls you and a vision of golden cities fills you.