When Steve Jobs died, there was a mass outpouring of grief for the man
who introduced Apple to the world.
And while I’m an Apple user, it wasn’t my first experience with a computer or game console.
The first piece of computer equipment my family owned was a Sega Master System II. The one with Alex Kid pre-installed in it. That game was awesome.
But the first piece of mass technology I played with, was in fact, it was the humble Commodore 64.
I remember as a kid, wanting to go to my cousin’s place because he was the one with the C64. That massive chunky keyboard. The large floppy disks. The massive joystick. And the games! California Games was my favourite! Hacky sack! Remember that? Then there was the Olympic Games and Labyrinth.
I used to spend hours on hours on the damn thing, and wonder how the games were able to exist on a floppy metallic disk. The technology behind it fascinated me.
The C64 was introduced in 1982, and it’s sustainable competitive advantage at the time was quality for a cheap price. It was a low priced machine, aimed at the home market, and born at the same time the Apple II was being marketed.
17 million units were sold, which lead the Wall Street Journal to call it the industry leader in the early 1980s.
The man behind the company behind it was Jack Tramiel. He was born to a Jewish family in Poland, and soon after he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was rescued, but his father passed away. He then immigrated to North America.
Eventually, Commodore International was created in 1954. One of its first claims to fame, was the engineering of a sub-$10 watch. Until, the Commodore 64 came along. He built it up, then left the company to lead Atari.
Well, I must admit, I was surprised to learn that Jack Tramiel, aged 83, died on Sunday.
I’m not surprised at his death per say, because I didn’t even know about him until yesterday, rather the lack of awareness of his passing, especially when compared with that of Steve Jobs.
Granted, Steve Jobs and his Apple empire have a much greater impact on modern technology and lifestyle in general and has a much larger imprint on the way we lead our lives today, Jack Tramiel was the man behind what many people in my generation consider their first experience into the world of technology.
Long live the Commodore 64.