(re: Biography) Are there any books about you and/or by you so my son can do a biography?
The best (and worst) reference is a book called Hackers, by Steven Levy. But, that said, it focuses primarily on life at Sierra when the average age of our engineers was about 18, and I was around 21. Imagine the movie Animal House, and you have some sense of why it wouldn’t be good to give your son this book. You’ll be pleased to know that in the 30 years since Hackers I’ve matured, and am much less fun to be around.
I wrote one book on programming the Apple II – called Apple II Graphics. It doesn’t have too much biographical information in it, but is great if you are curious about how animation was done during prehistoric times.
There have been several books which have a page or two devoted to Sierra, or Roberta and myself. Doug Carlston of Broderbund wrote one. Also, the book that is out now about the founders of Id has several pages about me. My guess is that there are at least dozens of books that have a few pages devoted to Sierra’s history.
My suggestion: have your son read through this board, and type my name in on google. This will provide MORE than enough material.
PS Here’s my bio, just to make it simpler for him:
Born: 10/30/1954 in Evansville Indiana Graduated High School a year early, and straight into college at 16! After being a super-star in highschool, I did poorly in college. I was too young to be in college, and was spending too much time with my girlfriend (Roberta). I majored in Physics, and was carrying a C average. Roberta and I married on Nov 4th, 1972. I had been 18 for five days. During my third year of college, Roberta decided it was time to start a family, and that I needed a real job asap. Roberta had been supporting us while I went to school. I also worked various part-time jobs to help pay the bills. I was forced to drop out of college to go to programming school. My favorite college course was a computer programming course. This was 1973, and mainframe computers were just becoming popular. Our college had one, and it was love at first site. I attended a nine month programming trade school, Control Data Institute, in Los Angeles, and graduated top of my class. It was obvious I had a knack for programming. From about 1973, when I finished CDI to 1979 when I started Sierra, I worked for about anyone who was doing anything with computers in Los Angeles. I had a series of full-time programming jobs, and rose quickly through the ranks – but, the more interesting story is the night-time work I did. In those days, software engineers were in extreme demand. I contracted for everyone; Warner Brothers, Groman Mortuaries (don’t ask), McDonnell Douglas, Bekins, Sterling Computers, even Fredericks of Hollywood! My last full-time job was for a company doing compiler development. Roberta’s and my goal was to get out of Los Angeles, almost from when we first met. Sierra was started primarily because we “wanted to live in the woods”. Our goal in life was a quiet log cabin at Yosemite to raise our kids. Immediately after starting Sierra we moved to Yosemite, raised our family, and the company grew. We started with just us, and finished as a public company with 1,000 employees. I was Sierra’s Chairman and CEO throughout the 18 year period from 1979 to 1996. Although I was technically a bureaucrat, I delegated the paper shuffling to the greatest extent possible, and was VERY involved in building product. When the company was sold in 1996, we were the leader in consumer software, and had distribution in virtually every country in the world. One of Sierra’s greatest achievements was The Sierra Network (later renamed the Imagination Network). This was my pet project. We had 10,000 people linked playing games years before the internet was born! After Sierra was sold, I stayed on with the acquiring company for a couple of years to build one of the first internet-shopping systems. It was very successful (
) After retiring in 1998, I became quickly bored, and started a dot-com called Talkspot, to do entertainment broadcasting on the web. Our programming was awesome, and we were growing like weeds, but our business model didn’t make sense, and we couldn’t sell ads. Talkspot was transformed to a company which did paid broadcasting for companies trying to reach large audiences, and renamed WorldStream. We were doing such fun things as broadcasting trade shows for phone companies. It wasn’t the right business for me. I retired again, and the board brought in a new CEO. The internet crash happened about a year later, and took WorldStream with it. Currently, I’m mostly just travelling, although I am working on a website generator – which is the code behind this website. I don’t get much time to code, so not too much is happening with this project, and I doubt much will ever happen with it. It’s a fun hobby…. Most of my days are spent playing golf and tinkering with my computer. Roberta and I are serious about boating, and are taking our boat across the Atlantic this summer. I’m starting to put a lot of effort into preparing for that. Lastly: we live mostly in Mexico (Cabo). We have a home in Seattle, which we spend too little time at, and a boat slip in France (near Monaco) which we’re thinking of selling. I speak french, and love france, but the recent political environement has dampened my enthusiasm for living there.