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Dan Bricklin

1951, USA

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Daniel Bricklin

principal papers

hardware

software
Visicalc

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related subjects

keywords

spreadsheet

Achievement

Developed together with Bob Frankston the worlds first successfull spreadsheet program.


Bob Frankston (standing) Dan Bricklin, cofounders of Software Arts inc

Biography

Daniel Bricklin, a software designer, is best known as the co-creator of VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet. Moreover, throughout his career he has been creating products that explore new metaphors, sometimes with far-reaching consequences. In addition to the spreadsheet, he helped develop one of the first word processing systems in the mid-1970's, programmed the most popular prototyping tool of the MSDOS world, and helped introduce the world to the capabilities of electronic ink on pen computers. His products have proven to be catalysts that had major impacts on the growth of the computer industry.


Dan, born in 1951, started programming in the mid-1960's while still in high-school. His programs always had some interesting flair, be they for marking entrance tests at an Ivy League university or extending FORTRAN as a science-fair project.


He attended college at M.I.T., receiving a B.S. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science in 1973. There he worked at the Laboratory for Computer Science, programming various interactive systems, and where he met Bob Frankston.


After M.I.T., Dan worked at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), where he was involved in computerized typesetting and some editing hardware. He was project leader of the WPS-8 word processing software, helping to specify and develop one of the first standalone word processing systems. In 1976, he left DEC and worked at FasFax Corporation, a small maker of microprocessor-based electronic cash registers. In 1977 he returned to school, this time receiving an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1979.


It was during his tenure as a graduate student that he conceived of the idea and design for the electronic spreadsheet, teaming up with his friend Bob Frankston to do the programming. Together, they founded Software Arts, Inc., in 1979, where Dan served as chairman from 1979 to 1985. The product they produced, VisiCalc, is credited with being one of the main catalysts that brought about the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.


In his next venture as President of Software Garden, Inc., Dan developed a product called "Dan Bricklin's Demo Program", a program for prototyping and simulating other pieces of software, which won the 1986 Software Publishers Association Award for "Best Programming Tool". A new version of the product, "Dan Bricklin's Demo II Program", was announced in December of 1987 and won the 1987 award. In 1989 he released the "Dan Bricklin's PageGarden Program", for facilitating repetitive printing on laser printers.


In early 1990, Dan co-founded a new, venture capital funded, software development company, Slate Corporation, along with other personal computer industry veterans. Slate's mission was to develop applications software for pen computers. With the lackluster sale of pen computers, Slate closed its doors after four years, and Dan returned to Software Garden.


Upon returning to Software Garden, Dan developed "Dan Bricklin's OverAll Viewer", an innovative tool for displaying data visually, published by Software Garden, and "Dan Bricklin's demo-it!", a new program for demonstrating software on Microsoft Windows, published by Lifeboat Publishing.


In late 1995, Dan founded a new company, Trellix Corporation, where he currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. Concord, Massachusetts-based Trellix Corporation helps consumers and small businesses express their passions - both personal and entrepreneurial - through vibrant web sites. Its products include Trellix Web Express, a server-based web site authoring system that is private labeled by web communities like Tripod, Bolt, and BizLand; and Trellix Web, a PC-based web site creation tool bundled on over 35 million devices from companies like HP, Dell, and Kodak.


Dan is a founding trustee of the Massachusetts Software and Internet Council, and has served on the board of the Software Publishers Association and the Boston Computer Society. He has received numerous awards, including from the ACM, IEEE, MIT, and the Boston Jaycees.

 

Chronology

 

Honors and awards

 

Sources

pictures: Louis Fabian Bachrach
text Dan Bricklin; www.bricklin.com/pressinfo

 

 

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