Ken Olsen

February 8, 2011 by staff 

Ken Olsen, Kenneth Harry Olsen (February 20, 1926 – February 6, 2011) was an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with colleague Harlan Anderson.
Kenneth Harry Olsen was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in the nearby town of Stratford, Connecticut. His father’s parents came from Norway and the parents of his mother in Sweden. Olsen began his career working summers in a machine shop. Fixing radios in his basement gave her the reputation of an inventor neighborhood.

After serving in the U.S. Navy between 1944 and 1946, Olsen attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a BS (1950) and MA (1952) in electrical engineering.

During his studies at MIT, the Office of Naval Research U.S. Department of the Navy recruited Olsen to help build a computerized flight simulator. Also at MIT he directed the construction of the first transistorized computer search. Olsen was an engineer who worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the TX-2.

In 1957, Ken Olsen and a colleague from MIT, Harlan Anderson, decided to start their own firm. They approached American Research and Development Corporation, a venture capital firm at the beginning of capital, which was founded by Georges Doriot. In the 1960 Olsen has received patents for a saturable switch, a transformer circuit diode door, magnetic core memory, and pad printing online.

Ken Olsen was known throughout his career for his paternalistic style of management and promotion of technical innovation. Ken Olsen promotion of innovation and technical excellence created and popularized techniques such as matrix management techniques that are widely used today in many industries.

In 1986, Fortune Magazine named Olsen “America’s most successful entrepreneur,” and the same year he received the IEEE Engineering Leadership Recognition Award. Olsen has been the subject of a biography, 1988, the contractor Ultimate: The Story of Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation, written by Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar.

Olsen died February 6, 2011, aged 84. Gordon College, where he served as trustee and board, announced his death but did not reveal the cause of death. His family has also made no comment on the details surrounding his death.
Let me tell you a story about how I almost dumped Ken Olsen in a frozen pond.

In fact, he was the second incident involving the founder of Digital Equipment Corp., an interview and water. By the way, he tried to get people to call numbers, but it will still December of hundreds of thousands of people who were involved as employees, customers or observers.

The first incident came in the mid-1980s, when a national publication has a profile of Olsen and Olsen investigator discovered that popular canoeing. Thus, a photographer Sat Olsen in a canoe on a river. The installation is not going to see Olsen as a giant in the industry increased, so that the photographer had her about six feet, something standing in the canoe.

When the photo ran, the flame mails came in hard. “Everybody knows you do not stand in a canoe…. blah, blah.” Look, the boat was safely planted on a shallow sandbar. He was not going to fall.

In my case, we reduced further.

I worked for an IT-focused publication, and we profile some of the pioneers of the computer industry. I spent several hours at the factory with Ken Maynard.

If you do not know where Maynard is, it is near Concord. Better yet, talk to a dozen business leaders in New England are in no way related to computers, anywhere in the group of 45 to 65 years of age. Eliminate the three who did not link to December Draw a circle around where other companies are, and Maynard is near the center.

This is where you will find The Mill. Olsen built some brand new buildings along Route 495 in December heyday of the 1980s and early 1990s, but the mill – a classic red brick structure in the 19th century with a lot of dust – was the seat of Ken. Ken was an engineer, so a sturdy old mill was fine for him. Ah, yes, the good old days. Olsen, his brother Stanley and Harlan Anderson founded in December 1957. They built what became known as mini-computers, alternative service-sized to giant mainframes offered by rivals such as IBM and Burroughs and Honeywell, known collectively as the peloton. By the late 1960s everybody mini-computers, construction, and built the mini-economy of Massachusetts. Enter the photographer, who quietly took Ken shirt and restored order. Picture of the saved log. PR person retains employment for at least a little longer. CEO saved, but shoot over. So now you know more about Ken Olsen and the day we almost emptied the CEO. Olsen died at the weekend at the age of 84.
[via Wikipedia and online sources]

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