Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Technology and the world

Apollo was an electric piece of the wider world during the early part of the Wild West era, which included events like the Beatles, the Vietnam War, flower children, antiwar protests, President Richard Nixon and Watergate, and rising inflation. While the global geopolitical and social changes were significant, business leaders continued much as before. The economy was hit by oil crises in 1973–1974 and 1979, whose major impacts included rapid wage and price inflation, which slowed business growth. The combination of these conditions inspired the term stagflation. Retail sales sank, and corporate profit margins suffered.

Some big businesses suffered. In particular, manufacturing titans like General Motors and Ford lost ground to European and Japanese car makers, whose vehicles offered both higher mileage ratings and lower costs. But there was another emerging trend. New companies like Apple (1976), Starbucks (1971), Microsoft (1975), and Nike (1964) showed smaller, nimble companies might have a future.

The 1950s had laid the groundwork for 50 years of corporate myopia. The economy boomed, people had jobs, prosperity seemed inevitable, and the future appeared to stretch out into a grand undertaking (unless, of course, you were female, BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color], LBGTQ+, or a person with a disability). Corporate executives planned for the future as if the progression was predictable and linear. Some things did change, however, so businesses had to adapt, but within acceptable limits. This assumption of predictability infused everything from business planning to project management. “Plan the work and Work the plan” was the corporate mantra. This predictability and internal focus led to trends like management by objectives (MBO) and cost and schedule as the primary objectives of project management. Even into the mid-1980s, big corporations had large planning departments.

In the late 1960s and all of the 1970s, IBM dominated the mainframe business computer market. Prior to that time, IBM offered different lines of computers depending on how much processing power a customer required. Unfortunately, these computers, which had designations like 1620 and 7064, were incompatible, so upgrading from one size to the next was difficult and expensive. The IBM 360/30, released in 1964, was the first of the 360 series of computers having, among many innovations, a common operating system. Magnetic tape drives provided external storage for these early systems.

Beginning in the 1970s, IBM began delivering random-access disk drives with its 360 computers. A small configuration of 2314 disk drives, with 146 MB of storage, sold for $175,0004 (today that much storage would cost about ½ cent, not adjusting for inflation). Commensurate with the development of disk drives, IBM introduced an early database management system, called Information Management System (IMS). Random-access drives and IMS introduced new complexity, and new opportunities, into software development.

The rise to prominence of minicomputers began in the 1970s and extended into the 1980s, led by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), which released the PDP-8 in the late 1960s. DEC developed ever more powerful minis, driving Data General, another major manufacturer, to release its Eclipse superminicomputer in 1980. The intense development effort of the Eclipse was documented in a Pulitzer Prize–winning book, Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine (1981). Still, IBM mainframe computers dominated business computing during this entire era.

Interactions with computers during this time were primitive and impersonal (as illustrated in Figure 1.5). Large mainframe computers resided in specially constructed rooms with raised floors, overhead wire bins, and serious air conditioning.5 Computer operators input card decks, mounted and dismounted tape and disk drives, and gathered and distributed printouts. Because disk storage was so expensive, most systems used a combination of storage forms—magnetic tape for high-volume data, disks for lower-volume data. Online, time-sharing systems were available on minicomputer systems using Unix and some mainframes, but were primarily reserved for academic and engineering applications.

Software was poorly understood by business executives. They could see the mammoth computers, but the software was hidden. In addition, most of the vendor-supplied software during this time was included in the price of the hardware—software appeared to be free!

WANTING TO DESIGN and build rather than audit, I quit Pan Am and relocated to Saint Paul, Minnesota, to work for Univac Federal Systems Division, which manufactured computers for the Navy and Apollo ships. I was involved in designing gates and registers for computers and early communication modem design. After two engineering jobs, I began to see myself as more a generalist than a specialist and decided to pursue an MBA degree, attending night school at the University of Minnesota for the prerequisite accounting and economics courses. I had anticipated the cold weather in Minnesota but driving to work one morning, after hacking ice off the car windows, with a windchill of minus 78 degrees proved too much. Having braved the cold for one winter, I decided to high-tail it out of there.

Back to the warmth of the South in Tampa, I graduated with a master of science in management degree from the University of South Florida in 1970. For my master’s project, I developed a simulation application for analyzing barge traffic from Tampa to ports along the Mississippi River. While I was working as an intern for a local company, the model proved useful, and managers were pleased with the results. The simulation utilized a package called the General-Purpose Simulation System (GPSS). This software was new, so none of my professors could help. I learned how it worked from incomplete manuals and trial and error. Since this was still the punch card and printout era, with slow turnarounds, I spent many evenings in the school computer center. However, there was a flaw in my analysis, which one of the managers caught in my final presentation. One of the data tables contained bad data, throwing off the final results a bit. The bad data was given to me, but I should have been more diligent in reviewing it. In projects to follow, I made sure someone on the team was as detail oriented as I was big picture oriented—I sought to ensure the team had the diversity of skills required to do the work and optimize team performance.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020