With all the nerd infestations in the valley, employment agency recruiters—commonly known as “head hunters”—were steady scouting for technical savvy personnel. They’d work at enticing nerds from well established secure jobs to transfer to another competitive hi-tech firm. The competition among them was fierce, and they’d utilize every underhanded trick to get a geek transferred.
I was approached on a couple of occasions, and eventually found out that some friends and neighbors were in on the game. Evidently, they were promised a cut of the commission by recruiters, because the companies were paying big bucks in commissions.
I also had to be leery of leaking IBM proprietary information around them, lest a competitor get an edge. Although not pure industrial espionage, an example is the technology of GOO-ee, and acronym for GUI (Graphical User Interface)—the software developed by Xerox, which was later improved on by Apple and eventually developed and monopolized into Windows, by Bill Gates of Microsoft. As is well-known today, this technology made computers more user-friendly due to the manipulation of graphic images.
|In addition, during those early days in the valley, IBM management would often cut up about some of the technological start-ups. There was the put down of the Radio Shack stores as being a less than sophisticated name for a manufacturer of computers.||
Wozniak and Jobs were criticized for tinkering in a garage on electronic hardware that was given an unconventional name—Apple. Gates was mocked for not having hardware to accompany his Microsoft operating system. After a season, IBM management had to finally concede that they were entering a new age, where being an industrial giant with plenty of real estate, equipment and nerds with technological savvy was leading to a position of jeopardy to holding the lead. However, we did eventually tramp out Tandy, and left them kicking for survival along the technological roadside.
Their struggle is told in the inset video, where they used Bill Bixby—the Hulk—as if to convey a threat to buyers if they didn’t switch too Tandy. In other words, if one insisted on buying IBM and pissed him off, he’ll proceed to show his real colors.