Welcome to The DesignWare History Thread.
For the purposes of an interview I’m giving this week, I’m going to write here about the threads of my life “from the vantage point of my company DesignWare from 1980 through 1986.” It’ll be a lot about me. Can’t avoid that, because that’s how humans experience the world. We have our own eyes and ears, and cannot be inside the heads of others. But it’ll also be relational because everything I’ve done was with other people. You could think of this as a segment of an autobiography maybe. So let’s go…
DesignWare was a company formed in 1980 that lasted into at least the 90s. I founded it, recruited a fantastic team, found investors, and nurtured it for almost seven years. For the first three years I was the sales guy, the senior programmer, angel investor, accountant, a word-processor operator, and lots of other things.
The company started in the back bedroom, took over the downstairs flat in my home, moved into a converted funeral parlor, then to South of Market San Francisco’s China Basin Building, where we were the only software company for miles.
DesignWare was active in the big growth days of personal microcomputers. And was focused on what we began calling “edutainment” software — programs for kids that used a degree of entertainment value to promote learning. We also wrote a number of textbook-workbooks for middle school and high school students, with accompanying software.
This thread will chronicle my thoughts about those times. Because a blog reads in “reverse order” it may be hard to follow, so my suggestion would be that you use this index to open each article in chronological order.
The computer gets interactive — 1969 to 1975
Computer Based Education, PLATO-IV, PDP/11, computers get smaller 1975-1979
DesignWare’s founding 1980-1982
DesignWare building a team and becoming a corporate author (also 1980-1982)
DesignWare as an integrated developer-publisher 1982-1986
The legacy of DesignWare — seeds of change
Play DesignWare games from the 1980s online at Internet Archive. Hard to believe!