• Jan 1, 1952
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

The former CEO of Ashton-Tate, he initiated its subsequent sale to Borland. He joined VisiCorp (the publisher of VisiCalc-the first spreadsheet) as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He is credited with the successful marketing of the first productivity software for personal computing, making the way for the widespread acceptance of personal computers in business. He presently works as an angel investor in Silicon Valley, mentoring and financing the current generation of entrepreneurs and through his time and philanthropy his educational Alma maters. A native of Ohio, he graduated with a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1974. During his career at IBM, he earned his M.S. Electrical Engineering degree from Syracuse University in 1976. He then went on to earn a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School, in 1978. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of eight children and attended Normandy High School, a public school in Parma, Ohio. During his undergraduate education, he was one of the primary authors and programmers of a Management Simulation Game used to teach marketing at colleges called IMPS (Industrial Marketing Plan Simulation). In 1974, he went to work for IBM Corporation, where he designed a floating point processor for an IBM minicomputer and worked on products in the Instrument Control Systems Division that included a Textile Color Analyzer and a Film Thickness Analyzer. He convinced IBM Corporation to take seriously the nascent microcomputer chips from Intel and Motorola. He was later tasked with creating and teaching a course to prepare IBM engineers to design with microprocessors. This seminal work led to IBM announcing and shipping the IBM Personal Computer based on an Intel microprocessor in the early 80s. In 1976, when he left for Harvard Business School, he was tasked with preparing an exploratory report for IBM on the efficacy of controlling energy costs in the home with a personal computer. In 1978, he went to work for Texas Instruments in their Consumer Products Division in Lubbock, Texas working in product marketing on Personal Computers. In 1979, he was recruited by Dan Flystra to run worldwide sales and marketing for Personal Software (later renamed VisiCorp). He became the ninth employee and third shareholder. He launched VisiCalc as the first personal computer application software that made buying a personal computer for business viable. He pioneered the distribution and marketing of personal computer software as he and VisiCorp launched the first product line of productivity software (VisiCalc, VisiWord, VisiFile, VisiPlot, VisiTrend and VisiDex), the first suite of office software (VisiPak) and the first WinTel graphical user interface for IBM compatible PCs (VisiON). He took over Ashton Tate and made it one of the three leading personal computer software companies of its time (The 1980s PC Software Oligopoly of Ashton Tate, Lotus and MicroSoft). He turned dBase into one of the longest running standards in the personal computer software industry and jointly introduced SQL Server with MicroSoft. During his term as CEO, sales grew from about $40M to $311M. During this time, Ashton-Tate acquired several companies, including Decision Resources and MultiMate. He created a backlash among dBase developers by theatening to sue Foxbase who created a clone of dBase. At one point, he addressed the Software Publishing Associate Conference and threatening anyone publishing a dBase-clone to "Make my day!" After several proposed mergers including two with Lotus and one with Borland, the Board disagreed with the strategic direction he proposed and he was fired by the Ashton-Tate Board; although later the board saw the wisdom of his strategy and sold Ashton Tate to Borland at a substantially reduced price than he had originally proposed. When he joined Creative Labs, the company that brought sound (Sound Blaster) to personal computers, Creative had just concluded one of the most successful IPOs in that time frame and was enjoying unprecedented growth. Creative's sales had grown to around $30M USD under Brown-Waugh (Creative's former distributor) and some of the proceeds of the IPO were used to buy-out the Brown-Waugh contract. This allowed Creative to regain control of its distribution and marketing and as a result the company grew revenue to over $500M in 1994. He replaced Mr. Samuels in 1994 as CEO of Creative Labs, the US Subsidiary of Creative Technologies. Creative was experiencing some of the normal competition that rapid growth companies attracted. It was starting to be viewed as a "market laggard" but "current market share leader", while MediaVision was viewed as the market innovator, although MediaVision management was later convicted of 27 counts of fraud and the then CEO Paul Jain and CFO Steve Allen each received jail terms. Its relations with Wall Street, the Press and its stockholders had deteriorated due to its dual listing on both the Singapore Exchange and NASDAQ. CREAf was the only dual listed stock at the time and CREAf moved to a single exchange listing in 2003 Creative Press Release). It had strategic alliances with industry partners Intel and Microsoft; and though it struggled to create a long term strategic plan that the Singaporean founders would support, revenue and market share continued to climb. Under his leadership and that of the founders, Creative Technology (parent company of Creative Labs), enjoyed a leading position in computer peripherals and upgrades with its product line of Integrated Multimedia technology. He left the company in 1994 just as the company generated over $1B in worldwide revenue. After his pioneering work in Personal Computer Software, he has been on the leading edge of the integration of computers and multimedia at Creative Labs, the integration of computers, toys and learning at Creative Insights, the integration of computers, communication and telephony at SoloPoint; the mobilization of email and internet access at Poqet Computer, portability of Personal Computers at Poqet Computer and tablet computing at Motion Computing. He was a founding member in 1997 of The Angels Forum, a professional, Silicon Valley based group of angel investors. He also is a member of the management team of The Halo Funds, a venture capital fund focused on early stage, seed investments in medical devices, Web 2.0/SaaS, consumer/retail and green technology companies based in Silicon Valley. He also joined the Park City Angel Network(PCAN) in early 2011; an Angel Group which funds start-up companies founded in Utah. In May 2011 he was appointed as a board member of the Utah Capital Investment Corporation overseeing the Utah Fund of Funds which invests in Venture Capital Funds in Utah, California and throughout the United States. In addition, in May 2012, he was appointed to a committee of the Utah Small Business Growth Initiative responsible for disbursing about $15M in stimulus funds. Specifically he is on the committee to disburse about $5M of the stimulus funds to Utah seed funds who will create jobs and stimulate growth in Utah. He taught a course entitled “Starting and Running a Successful Startup” at the Weatherhead School of Management of Case Western Reserve University. He has been the recipient of the BusinessWeek, "25 Executives to Watch,” April 15, 1988; the Computer Reseller News, 1985&1986, "Industry's 25 Most Influential Execs."; the Esquire Magazine, 1986 Register Honoree, Business and Industry; and the SoCa Executive, "The Southland's 100 Outstanding Leaders in 1986." He currently sits on the boards of Quantum Corporation, Panterra Networks and is co-Chair of the Emeriti Trustee Committee of Case Western Reserve University. In the past he has served on the boards of Activision, Ashton Tate, SonicBlue. Pansophic Systems, Integrated Circuits System Technology and many private companies. He and his wife, Margaret (Peggy) and reside in Park City, Utah with their three children.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jan 1, 1952
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Successful marketer of the first productivity software for personal computing, paving the way for widespread acceptance of personal computers in business
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: