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The Ultimate Entrepreneur: The Story of Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation Hardcover – October, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two editors of Computerworld magazine here profile DEC, the entrepreneurial electronic phenomenon launched 30 years ago by a trio of M.I.T. engineers in a defunct factory near Boston. The leader was Ken Olsen, whose informal hands-on management style contrasted sharply with the structured methods at IBM, a soon-to-be competitor. Digital startled the industry in the 1960s with far-seeing minicomputer development, the authors recall, and later survived expansion problems, the defection of top people and a clumsy lunge at the personal-computer field that was pre-empted in the event by IBM and Apple. Olsen and DEC won renewed top-rank success in the late 1980s with an imaginative computer-networking program that gave a new dimension to information electronics. Rifkin and Harrar, in this long and sluggish business saga, write for technological cognescenti without explaining to lay readers the computer's many-faceted functions and uses. 60,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Contemporary Books; Edition Unstated edition (October 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809245590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809245598
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,645,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lincoln Han on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those who got into computing before the DEC (Digital Equipment Corp) and Compaq's merge, DEC's VAX/VMS, Alpha processor, elegant workstation and notebooks are way too familiar. This book gives an insight to the making of Digital. Ken Olsen and his people who took a $70,000 investment and turn Digital into to a Fortune 50 company worth over $25 billion.
This is not today's silicon valley IPO thriller that an unprofitable company is worth $50 billion overnight. This is a book about a company in a competitive emerging market that survived and thrived.
Digital has an irreplacable place in computer history. When IBM missed the minicomputer trend, Digital took it. Then both missed the PC trend (first IBM, then Digital). When Apple's order processing system run out of capacity, they was put on wait list for Digital's PDP-11.
It is an interesting reading for anyone who is interested in computer business and history in general. Even if you are not going to become an entrepreneur in the computer business. The lessons in the book can be invaluable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anyone who worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. It’s the story of DEC from 1957 to 1988. You will not find any reference to why Digital is no more but you may come to your own conclusions of how DEC made any money in the first place. We all know DEC made wonderful (the best in class) products but the book goes into tremendous detail on subjects ranging from “Matrix Management”, The Consensus Decision process, The Product Lines, and Olsen’s Entrepreneurial management style. Chapters on the VAX/VMS Strategy, missed PC opportunities, and behind the scene politics for just about every major decision DEC made were also presented. A wonderful read for those of us that got up every day and worked in a place we thought would never end.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Kallis, Jr. on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kenneth Olsen revolutionized the world of computing. Prior to him, computers were huge, batch-processing devices, with all computation being done out of the control of the user.
Olsen came up with the idea of interactive computing, and made a seminal impact on the industry by He developed what became the world's second-largest computer company, from modest beginnings to a worldwide company that was in the Fortune 50 (not 500) listing.The book was written when Digital Equipment Corporation was at its prime, and Mr. Olsen was one of the most influential leaders in the computer industry.
The book gives an overview ofMr. Olsen's caareer, and provides a perspective of the industry through the later 20th Century. For those interested in high-tech, the book will provide a great insight as to how things developed in a vibrant industry.Mr. Olsen's design and managemwnt style are presented, and the book provides a sense of the corporate culture of Digital Eqwuipment Corp. For most readers, most of the names of employees within the company will not be familiar, but to former employees will recognize.
Digital Equipment folded after the book was published, and after Mr. Olsen was ousted by trhe company's Board of Directors. Mr. Olsen died in 2112, but his visdion can be found reflected in all of today's interactive computers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I worked for DEC and this book covers all you will want to know. Digital Equipment Corp. was the best company ever!
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