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Happy Birthday Notes!

Just talked to an industry buddy who wanted to know if I was in Somerville, Mass., 20 years ago today.

Um, interesting question. What happened Dec. 7, 1989 a.k.a Pearl Harbor Day at the Academy of Arts & Sciences in Somerville? Nothing rang a bell. Turns out that was the day Ray Ozzie   Notes 1.0–at the beautiful academy right on the Cambridge line.

Pearl Harbor Day was an interesting launch date choice. And no, I wasn’t there….Infoworld buddy Ed Scannell did the honors. He interviewed Ozzie, who headed the Iris Associates spin off of Lotus formed to build the product–now the chief software strategist at Microsoft as well as Lotus CEO Jim Manzi. And Sheldon Laube, who was the first big customer and who bet big on a big Notes implementation for Price Waterhouse.

The choice of date and venue was no coincidence appartently. Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his telephone technology to academy members in 1876 The academy, as part of the Atheneum back in the day, was the site.

Notes went on to blaze a trail for what became known as groupware, then collaborative computing, and was the major reason cited for IBM’s unfriendly-turned-friendly buyout of Lotus in 1995.

Lotus launched Notes as a direct sale product but within a year or so saw the error of its ways. Notes required a long-term consultative sale. This was no shrink-wrap software package. Ozzie once told me taht the direct sales launch was something he would change if he could go back.

Anyway, not sure how many millions of seats of Notes (now also known as Domino) are out there now, but Ed Brill or someone can fill me in. At any rate, happy birthday Notes!


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