In doing some research for my book, The Flight of a Wild Duck which will be published in September, I ran across a poster that Ken Olsen had commissioned. I had been looking for it for many years.
A few months after joining Digital Equipment in the summer of 1979, I was promoted to Senior Engineering Manager responsible for Small Hardware Systems Development. This included systems products which sold for $16K or less and included the PDP 11/23, 11/03 and PDT 150, and all PDP-8 development and maintenance.
One of these products was the DECmate which had been introduced in the market that year. It was a dedicated word processor. I did not know much about it. Stan Olsen, Ken Olsen’s brother ran the product line that was responsible for selling it.
One day, posters started to appear thought the Mill (the headquarters of Digital Equipment in Maynard MA) showing the backside of the DECmate and with the caption “Marketting or Engineering” which I took to be a question about who was responsible. Since I was now the manager of the engineering group responsible for the DecMate, I looked into who had made this poster and was alarmed to learn that it was the CEO, Ken Olsen.
I then made my own poster (don’t have a copy of it) which said:
Can you imagine what software would look like if you could see it?
But Ken was right. That is when I learned that Ken really cared about how machines looked. DECmate II utilized the design elements of the Profession Series which I managed. It was launched in 1982.