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WANG is the only company I worked for that the boss had to tell the employees to go home. I often found myself at the office at 10PM and EVERYONE was still there, from the secretaries on up.

"What a tyrant of a boss you must have had", you say. Not at all! Everyone was there because they were so caught up in the excitement of Wang's success. NO ONE was asked to work late ever. They all simply lost track of time in the excitement of the office.

In the 70's when the OIS, 2200, and VS were so obviously superior to anything else on the market, the excitement in a Wang field office was more than palpable. We did demo after demo, and install after install, where the customers were open-mouthed at the features and performances of the systems.

I can recall many times when the results of a demo, like asking for a sorted list, was so fast that we had to prove to the customer that it was not faked.

The VS was a dream COBOL system. If you took the time to learn the VS, rather than trying to shoe-horn in DEC COBOL, MCBA Apps, or something else, it was unbelievably fast. Again to the point of open-mouthed disbelief.

I found that if I set the record size to the workstation 2K block-size, and designed from the that point of view, it was instantaneous.

When you spent the time to look through the tech manuals on the 2200 and OIS there were dozens of advanced microcode schemes, bus architectures, and communication protocols making those systems unbelievably robust as well.

I can recall being in a meeting with other field office people that Dr. Wang addressed. He was asked about the impact of the PC. He dismissed it as something with limited scope. At the time, many of us were surprised to hear this. Unfortunately this turned out to foreshadow some of Wang Labs future problems.

Wang had some superior technology in the PC space but were not able to bring it to market as effectively as they might have. I am not sure they understood the strength of their products in that market.

I attended many sessions were Fred Wang spoke, and met Courtney Wang, his other son. They were so far away from Dr. Wang, in vision, that his transition to them was doomed from the start. As I am sure you know, many Oriental families have a tradition of passing the wealth and power to the oldest son. So in one way Dr. Wang was being a responsible parent.

If there is a lesson here, maybe it is that superior technology creates the opportunity but many other factors can enhance or overshadow it. An effective organization is needed to help it succeed in the long haul.

Well these are my ramblings to get started with ...

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Comment by Thomas Junker on April 28, 2009 at 7:08am
Thank you, Dan, for sharing this! The experiences of VS veterans are useful to those who are newer to the VS, and some day may be invaluable to those considering the New VS but who have no experience at all with any VS. The numbers of people who have sterling things to say about the VS and the VS environment speak loudly for the value of the VS.

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