Growing up. (Philosophy - how it ought to be) Adam Osborne.
For any industry, its infancy is always the most exciting time. Just as the child experiences its world so much more vividly than any adult, so in a new industry every experience becomes much larger than life. Perhaps it is because, in both cases, the environment is so small that the small becomes significant, in particular, when populated by characters whose very lack of inhibitions lead to this corporate playground.
For the key formative years of the microcomputer industry I was an amused and often bewildered observer of the emerging microcomputer industry: Watching from my vantage point as I wrote my column, "From the Fountainhead." It was a superb listening post. From this vantage point I heard from Mr. DeMears, who relentessly pursured a certain microcomputer kit manufacturer for well over a year, during which time the manufacturer confessed that they simply did not have the thousand dollars that would have put their adversary at ease. And yet, this same company was bidding for a leading role in the emerging industry. It was also from my listening post that I suddenly heard about a new 6502 based microcomputer, receiving nothing but praise, which was called the Apple I.
Few of the original pioneers are still around today, and most of those who are survived by getting acquired.
It was inevitable.
Corporate America can not afford to participate in every wild eyed scheme or emerging fad on the off chance that the fad is, in fact, a new industry in the making. They have to leave infant industries to the misfits and the adventurers. If the infant industry is, in fact, destined to grow, market forces will make this apparent soon enough. As occurred in the microcomputer industry, the validity of the product overwhelmed the incompetence of the participants, and the industry grew. Once it became clear that the microcomputer industry was going to be big, very big, the giants moved in. No longer are MITS and Imsai doing battle, or even Apple competing with Commodore. Next year it will be IBM versus AT&T. It is a giant industry, and the giants have taken over.
One may mourn the passing of the early stages of the microcomputer industry, but for American industry at large, the model is amazingly effective. No other economy gives inventiveness and stupidity so much free reign. No other economy, therefore, breeds so much unlikely success. And always waiting in the wings are the traditional segments of the economy waiting to identify the winners and pick up their success when they can no longer carry on. Perhaps this amazingly efficient system developed by chance, but America should be proud of it because it has done so much for our economy.