Memories are made of this

Dave Wilson remembers some folks he met twenty years ago and discovers what they are up to today.

‘A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.’ – Henry Ford.

Twenty years ago, I was the Editor of the prestigious journal Digital Design over in Boston, MA. And I was looking for a Technical Editor to join the publication. Like you do, I cast my line out into the employment sea looking for some suitable talent. And it wasn’t long before I got a bite.

The lady in question, Brita Mung, was a Princeton Graduate no less. And she arrived for the mandatory interview with more than the required level of enthusiasm. I only had to speak to her for ten minutes before I knew that she was the person for the job. I hired her right there and then.

That year, we both found ourselves at a computer OEM trade show Down South. Ms. Mung was all over that show like White on Rice, attempting to discover who had come up with the really neat stuff…and who hadn’t.

One morning, she physically hauled me over to meet a chap called Jim Truchard. She said that Jim had something ‘cool’ for me to look at, and when I got there, I wasn’t disappointed.

Jim, you see, had come to the conclusion that there had to be a more friendly way for OEMs to build control and instrumentation systems. And so, his team had ripped the hardware out of the freshly introduced Macintosh computer and placed it onto a VME board, providing a nice Mac-based programming platform for designers who were struggling to develop solutions around the somewhat less friendly PC/DOS operating system.

That was twenty years ago. And things have moved on a bit for some of us since then.

Dr. James Truchard is (still) the President and CEO of National Instruments, a company he co-founded in 1976.

Last Christmas, I made contact with Miss Mung again and caught up on what she’d been up to. She’s now forsaken the world of journalism to become a photographer, selling celebrity photographs for thousands of dollars to those glossy magazines that focus on unravelling the beautiful details of beautiful people’s lives. And she’s now a mother too – another candidate for Princeton in the making, maybe.

But for Jim and I, things are pretty much the same.

Jim’s still running that same old company that he started all those years ago, albeit the fact that it’s now just a bit bigger than it was. But from what I hear from the fellas that work for him, his still got that bee in his bonnet about making life easier for designers of control and test systems. But then, he would.

As for me, I’m still here writing down my thoughts about the industry – albeit on the Internet rather than on bits of paper like I used to back in those days. And funnily enough, I’m still writing about Jim.

Dave Wilson