A Telephone Man

15. September 2011 Uncategorized 0

Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?  I’m sure it’s different for everybody… some people finish school with a target trajectory firmly in mind. I suspect most people were like me, only knowing what they didn’t want.

I kicked around Europe for a couple of years, doing odd jobs, occasionally running small printing presses, and playing backgammon with tourists.  Monte Carlo was a  particularly good place to play backgammon. I just googled it, and it’s still there…if you’re ever in Monte Carlo, check out Jimmy Z…

In 1980, I was back in Vancouver, and somehow I managed to talk my way into a sales job at the very first RADIO SHACK Computer Center, on East Broadway. People lined up to see their first demo of a “spreadsheet”, on a Model II or III running TRS-DOS. VisiCalc was proclaimed to be the “Tail that wagged the dog!”. Turns out VisiCalc was the first, “Killer App”, although that term came years later.

When the IBM PC launched in September of ’81, it immediately divided early computer dealers into two groups… authorized dealers for IBM PC’s, and everybody else. I’d moved from retail to outside sales with a small dealer selling multiple flavours of IBM PC clones. The Victor 9000! The Lion! The Eagle!   Many of the early cloned PC’s were made in Taiwan and named after animals.

If you were in the second group, you were in a lot of trouble.

We were, and I was.  Last day of work, I was standing in our office with two other (newly unemployed) computer sales people, when the technician repossessing the office phone system looked over and said, “Hmm, sales people… we need sales people…Hey, any of you guys want to sell phones?”

I started the following week with BTSI, one of the very first interconnect telephone companies in BC.

Life is passing strange… I had never figured out up to that point what I really wanted to do…but phone systems, telecommunications, the analog to digital transition, the whole shebang of switches, trunks, circuits, lines, handsets, wiring, wireless, voice mail, long distance… somehow it all intrigued and fascinated me… it still does.

Purely by accident, I had finally discovered what I wanted to be when I grew up…a telephone man.

The story doesn’t end there… 1999 was the last big year for telephone hardware sales, as thousands of companies changed out their old gear in anticipation of the YEAR 2000 computer apocalypse. It’s easy for people to say now they weren’t concerned, but at the time it was treated seriously by many.

Voice, Video, Text, Email, Social Networks… it’s all about human communications on two tangents… wireless mobile, and the cloud services that connect and backs it all up.

Several years ago, I “hung up my phone”, and joined Skyway West Internet. I’ve enjoyed the steady progression from telephone man to Internet geek.  “Fascinating” doesn’t begin to describe it.

Most days, I’m helping businesses optimize their bandwidth; most nights, look for Dark Dervish fighting online to rid the world of the evil Chimera in Resistance 3.    

One could even say I now live in “The Cloud”. Come up for a visit, anytime. SKYPE digdaytona.


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