Also Innovators: How one computer salesman contributed to the digital revolution

Christopher B. Yardley

Published by

Australian National University Press

ISBN

9781760460549

RRP

£28.76

Reviewed by

A P Sutcliffe PG Dip CCI, MBCS

Score

7 out of 10

There are many points in history that might be described as the “starting point” of the modern computer revolution, but it could be argued that the beginning of a wider commercial interest in the use of computing technology began in the 1950s.

This book is primarily a biography of someone that joined the industry in those early days. Like many other people since, this was not by conscious design, but rather as the result of an interest in the new field, having slightly more knowledge than many contemporaries, and more than a little luck to be in the right place at the right time. It is a fascinating insight into the way the major players at the time operated.

The author provides a detailed description of his time when working for some of the more well- known organisations of the time, and there are numerous anecdotes of the various incidents and antics that took place during the various periods of work. In some cases, it can be a real eye opener, especially when understanding how many decisions of the time were made. The book continues by charting his progress throughout the latter part of the 20th century, up to the point where he started his own business; and finally entered retirement.

Overall the book is a good read, if perhaps a bit on the long side; after a while, the descriptions of people and places can get a bit tedious. For those that entered the industry at that stage, it will probably bring back many memories of very different ways of working, and even those that joined later may well recognise some of the scenarios that are portrayed.

For those that have only been in the industry for a short time, the book may appear to describe a period of history that has little relevance to their daily work; and might even seem to have as little significance as a description of the Industrial Revolution. However, it could be argued that it demonstrates how the technology sector grew from something that was only for a very select number of major organisations, to a product and service that has become a necessity for anyone doing business in the modern world. As such, it might be a useful aid to understand just how and why computing technology has taken the direction that it has.

Overall, a decent read; and perhaps something to go in someone’s Christmas stocking.

Further information: Australian National University Press

November 2016