RIP Ken Olsen

Ken Olsen, who founded Digital Equipment Corporation (usually known as DEC or Digital) in 1957, died yesterday (Sunday). DEC had considerable influence on the computer industry, on New England, and on my life.

Many years ago, I joined DEC in the UK, the land of my birth, as an instructor teaching software, mainly database software. Staying with the firm and with database, I moved to France and then to New England. After a few years, I felt that it was time for a change – from the industry, but not from New England.

DEC sign DEC was acquired by Compaq, which was later acquired by HP. Most of DEC, that is. The database part was acquired by Oracle.

Years after that, I was on Newbury Street in Boston, and came across this sign. It had obviously been buried under another sign, which was in turn making way for yet another sign, at the same building. It was a rather sad relic of the firm.

That sad stuff said, I’m glad that I was part of DEC, and that it was part of my life. All the best to Ken Olsen’s family, and to everyone else who ever referred to him as “Uncle Ken.”