In the early 1980s, I worked for a start-up called Auragen Computers based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. We were making a 68K based fault tolerant UNIX based on a smart idea by Sam Glazer. Most of the software engineers lived in New York City and commuted out. Start-ups with New Yorkers have a different “culture” than start-ups with Californians. One of the senior technical staff was once asked to meet with investors to talk about why development was taking so long. After some fruitless attempts at discussion he explained, kindly, “I don’t think I can make this clear in 5 minutes. It took me 10 years to understand this stuff and I’m a lot smarter than you.” Auragen did some good work, but failed to get the product out to market in time. A good lesson to learn.
Auragen gave me my first job in the computer industry and a great education in operating systems. I still remember sitting in a room with Jim Baumbach, Anita Borg, David Arnow, and Sam Glazer soon after I started there, and confronting the reality that everyone in the room was a lot smarter, better educated, and more witty than me (my only consolation was that, in their early 30s, they seemed pretty damn old).