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Fire in the Valley, 3rd Edition by Paul Freiberger, Michael Swaine

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The Rise of General Software Companies

My unemployment had run out.

–Alan Cooper, software designer, on why he started a software company

After helping Gordon Eubanks write CBASIC, Alan Cooper and Keith Parsons set out to achieve their personal dream of making $50,000 a year. The two had known each other since high school. Parsons was the person who taught Cooper how to tie a necktie, a skill Cooper shelved at college when he became a self-described “long-haired hippie.” Cooper intensely wanted to “get into computers,” and asked the older Parsons for advice. “You’re overtrained,” Parsons told him. “Drop out of school. Get a job.” Cooper took the advice. After work, he and Parsons would get together and talk about starting their own company. ...

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