Dan Bricklin: Meet the inventor of the electronic spreadsheet
Dan Bricklin - Software pioneer
Dan Bricklin helped fuel the rapid growth of the personal computer industry. Full bio
an electronic spreadsheet,
with a spreadsheet by hand,
printing business in Philadelphia?
for hundreds of years.
I started working on an idea
called an Apple II personal computer.
had really changed when, six years later,
and maybe even were using it.
propelled the industry forward."
more than any other single event."
for some other computer,
somebody else right now."
personal computers on business desks.
to make it be what it was?
back in 1966, when I was 15 --
after this photo was taken.
to computers in those days.
and an awful lot of perseverance,
computer time around the city.
I went off to MIT to go to college,
I worked on the Multics Project.
interactive time-sharing system.
and Unix operating systems?
as interpreted computer languages,
in noncomputer fields
while seated at a computer terminal.
Digital Equipment Corporation.
of computerized typesetting.
replace their reporters' typewriters
to places like the Kansas City Star,
and get feedback.
than what I saw in the lab at MIT.
word processor, again a new field.
was crafting a user interface
for noncomputer people to use.
to work for a small company
cash registers for the fast-food industry.
a company with my friend Bob Frankston
as much as I could about business.
at Harvard Business School.
percentage of students
in computer programming.
sitting in the front row.
we learned by the case method.
describing particular business situations.
and exhibits often have words and numbers
for the particular situation.
laid out in ways that made sense.
we got really close to our calculators.
dressed up as a calculator.
the professor would call on somebody
they would explain what was going on
that the professor would transcribe
in the front of the class,
is when you've done all your homework,
only to find out that you made an error
you did were wrong.
in the class, I got to daydream a lot.
worked on mainframes,
payroll systems and bill-paying systems.
on interactive word processing
about paper printouts and punch cards,
and wrote a new thing in,
would automatically change,
had mouse hardware on the bottom of it
like in a fighter plane.
and circle it, and press the sum button.
I'd be able to get the answer.
and turn it into reality.
the placement on the page
that he was printing.
to get feedback from customers
off to the presses.
version of what you're trying to build
to those problems much less expensively.
Harvard's time-sharing system
that I ran into was:
then type in some somewhere else,
point where you want the answer.
point to the second,
What should I put in the formula?
the computer knew what to put in.
where on the screen it referred to.
the programmer way of doing it.
to type in a unique name.
that was going to be too tedious.
make up the name and put it inside.
the order in which you create them?
that if you had more than a few values
on the screen where things were.
allowing you to put values anywhere,
the row and column in as a name.
across the top and numbers along the side,
where it was on the screen.
in yourself, you'd know what to do.
helped solve my problem.
like the ability to have ranges of cells.
any formula, in any cell.
almost 40 years later.
going to build this product together.
how the program was supposed to behave.
to act as documentation.
that the user interface I was defining
and clearly to regular people.
he rented in Arlington, Massachusetts.
on a terminal like this.
to a borrowed Apple II
using an acoustic coupler,
for this case about the Pepsi Challenge.
so I had to copy everything down.
so every time it crashed,
again, over and over again.
I got called on, and I presented the case.
I did all sorts of different scenarios.
VisiCalc was already useful.
about our secret program.
and subtracted that."
why didn't you use a ratio?"
that wouldn't have been as exact!"
"Divide isn't working yet."
we did finish enough of VisiCalc
announced VisiCalc to the world,
Computer Conference in New York City.
a humorous article about the conference.
what seem religious rites ...
are adding to the pantheon,
in giant black on yellow.
"All hail VISICALC."
of the electronic spreadsheet
for about two years.
that looked like this.
running on the Apple II.
more to this story,
to commemorate what happened there.
your unique backgrounds, skills and needs
and work out the key problems,
About the speaker:Dan Bricklin - Software pioneer
Dan Bricklin helped fuel the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.
Why you should listen
Dan Bricklin is best known for codeveloping VisiCalc, the pioneering electronic spreadsheet, while he was a student at the Harvard Business School. VisiCalc, codeveloped with his friend Bob Frankston whom he met at MIT, is widely credited for fueling the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.
Bricklin helps create products that make it easier for business people to build mobile applications in his current role as CTO of Alpha Software Corporation. He is also president of Software Garden, Inc., a small consulting firm and developer of software applications that he founded in 1985. Its most popular products are Note Taker HD for the Apple iPad and before that Dan Bricklin's Demo Program for IBM PCs. In the past, Bricklin was cofounder of pen computer application developer Slate Corporation and founder of website builder developer Trellix Corporation.
Dan Bricklin | Speaker | TED.com