Lee Felsenstein

The Homebrew Computer Club was just commemorated on its 26th anniversary and I was there. I took over running the HBCC meetings at the fourth meeting and conducted the meetings until we closed down in 1986. Homebrew was a direct spinoff from PCC, via the late Fred Moore.

As a freelance design engineer (LGC Engineering and later Golemics, Inc.) I designed several early personal computer products including Pennywhistle 103 kit modem (1976), VDM-1 alphanumeric video display adapter (which I argue determined the architecture of the personal computer as a computer with a widow into main memory) - 1975, the Sol-20 computer (now in the Smithsonian with my name attached), the Osborne-1 (1980 - likewise in the Smithsonian) - 1980, and a few more that never saw the market. I spent 1978 - 1979 building a huge digital video processor on contract (which ran out of money).

In 1981 I Co-founded Osborne Computer Corp. and served as VP Engineering and R&D Fellow (kicked upstairs) 1981 - 1983. After the bankruptcy in 1983 I returned to contracting through Golemics, Inc. and tried a startup in 1986 called Upstart Corp. doing a workstation-on-a-card and failed to get beyond the seed funding. Retreating to deal with creditors, I explored the possibilities for dealing in PCs with Russia (1989, 1991) as Glav-PC, and built a wearable CD-ROM-based computer which showed in 1991 but never went into production.

The formation of Interval Research in 1992 saved me from bankruptcy or worse. I was the first employee there (an alphabetic accident) and lasted all the way through as a researcher in charge of prototype design and development. Moved from Berkeley to Palo ALto during this period and joined up with Lena Diethelm, whom I met on the WELL.

I received the EFF Pioneer Award in 1994, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Computer Museum of America (San Diego) in 1998. When Interval closed down in 2000 went freelance again, but the ripple from the dot-com crash knocked me out of freelancing and and I am now closing in on a director-level job managing product development.

PCC served as an agora where people from various backgrounds could encounter each other and develop synergistic relationships. It was extremely effective in this role. Thanks to Bob Albrecht and everyone who made it happen!

Lee Felsenstein

CONTACT Lee Felsenstein
Last Modified: Tue May 15 15:16:43 2001