As another year goes by, I find myself reflecting on the past year while beginning to anticipate what lies ahead this coming year. Throughout my career in technology, I’ve had amazing opportunities to work around some incredible people such as the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs and witnessed how innovation can transform businesses and economies. As an engineer, I have always been fascinated by how a simple idea can grow to change people’s lives. Here in Silicon Valley, the notion of ideas changing the world is part of the fabric and why I live here.
Early in my career, I joined IBM – this was at a time when the IBM Personal Computer had just been announced and was flourishing. We weren’t the first company to build a personal computer, but IBM helped PCs become mainstream. The company, founded in 1911, populated homes and offices throughout the world with its little beige boxes, running on what was then the most powerful 16-bit Intel processor and MS-DOS. I was part of the team that designed the first group of IBM PC printers and it was a rare opportunity for me to manage product development from design to putting the product into the market. It was never just about the bottom line or one-upping competitors. It was, to me, about seeing an idea from concept to design to reality. When you see your products being used by thousands of people, you get a sense of deep satisfaction of having been a part of that creative process of innovation impacting our culture and society.