Monday, April 11, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

John Roach, RIP

Sam Roberts (via Hacker News):

John Roach, a marketing visionary who helped make the home computer ubiquitous in the late 1970s by introducing the fully assembled Tandy TRS-80 for $599.95 or less through RadioShack chain stores, died on Sunday in Fort Worth. He was 83.

[…]

Mr. Roach already had college experience fiddling with refrigerator-size mainframes by 1967, when he joined the Tandy Corporation, a Texas conglomerate that was founded as a leather goods company and included RadioShack and its thousands of franchised dealers in electronics farrago.

He was instrumental in prodding Tandy to venture into the computer market. At the time, most small computers were sold as kits to be assembled by hobbyists, but Mr. Roach believed that consumers would welcome a model that they just needed to plug in.

John Gruber (tweet):

The links in the passage above are not to be missed, including this 1977 Times story on home computers. But the last one is the most interesting — it’s a YouTube video of a speech Roach gave just last month.

As a kid, I had fun writing BASIC programs on a TRS-80, though I preferred the Apple II. I never had any problems with it, so the Trash-80 nickname always seemed unfair.

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