Ken Olsen, RIP

Today’s Globe carries the obituary of Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital. I never met Olsen and never worked at DEC, but the story reminded me of the glory days of the computer industry in Massachusetts in the 1980s with Digital and Wang serving as the global leaders in that field. The history of the rise and fall of those two companies and all the local spin-offs they created, will be a fascinating story. My own view is that they bet everything on proprietary systems that sought to prevail at the expense of everyone else. In the end, open systems and interoperability prevailed.

2 Responses to Ken Olsen, RIP

  1. Nancye says:

    I remember seeing Ken Olsen at some event I was covering in Boston many years ago. He seemed a bit disheveled but was very pleasant and unassuming, despite running the behemoth Digital corporation. And then, the most amazing thing to me was when the event was over and I went to my car in the garage, there was the same Ken Olsen getting into his transportation home. It wasn’t some snazzy Jaguar or BMW. It was a beat-up sedan of some sort, I am thinking a VW now. Nothing pretentious or uppity on his part. That image has always stayed in my mind whenever I’ve heard his name. RIP, Ken.