Snively's corrections to King of the Seven Dwarfs
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Separating Fact from Fiction

 

A critique of

 

Homer R. Oldfield’s book, KING of the Seven Dwarfs

 

by

George E. Snively 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            Homer R. “Barney” Oldfield’s book, KING of the SEVEN DWARFS, was written in the genre of a historical novel.   Unfortunately, there is a conflict in this genre between the novelist’s requirements and historical accuracy.   Barney could not avoid this conflict and had to make many concessions to historical accuracy to maintain the fascinating flow of his tale.   What I hope to do, without distracting from the tremendous effort and considerable insights represented by Barney’s book, is to set the historical record straight.    I had extensive correspondence with Barney during the writing of the book – some of it the minutia that historians applaud and novelists abhor – but understood that Barney was primarily writing a novel and an apology, not a history.   While Barney expresses many opinions on GE’s management and their attitudes with which I disagree, I will attempt to limit my corrections to the facts.

 

            Barney had two conflicting objectives in writing the book.   One was to correct my statement that he had been fired[1] and the other was to criticize GE’s management.   He wanted it to be known that he had resigned for “personal reasons” but then castigated GE’s management like a “damsel spurned”.   He should have been proud of what he created rather than critical of it and GE’s management.

 

            Barney “bootlegged” the GE computer business and was fired when GE’s Chairman, Ralph Cordiner – who had consistently rejected proposals for GE to enter the business - learned of it.   Barney, in order to refute the statement that he had been fired as a result of “bootlegging” GE into the business, concocted a tale about Dr. George Haller, the General Manager of GE’s Electronics Laboratories Department, coming to visit him in Palo Alto with word that Dr. Baker, the General Manager of GE’s Electronics Division, wanted Barney to bid on the Bank of America ERMA system.   This tale does not stand up under scrutiny for a number of reasons.  

 

First and foremost, Barney was the manager of the Microwave Laboratory and the Laboratories Department, of which it was a part, had no authority to bid directly on any projects or programs.   All such business was obtained through the auspices of one or another of the operating departments.   The Technical Equipment Department, which had just recently prepared a business plan to enter the computer business (fathered by Clair Lasher and in which I participated) would have been the logical organization to pursue the ERMA project.

 

Secondly, had Dr. Baker, for some very unusual reason, given the assignment to the Electronics Laboratories Department[2], Dr. Haller would certainly not have assigned it to the Microwave Laboratory as:

·        The Electronics Laboratory, which reported to Haller, had recently completed the ORAC computer (a logistics computer for the Air Force) and had a section of experienced computer engineers, headed by Charlie Wayne[3].   ORAC was completed and the personnel were available.

·        Dr. Haller had discussed building a computer laboratory at Penn State, where he had been Dean of Chemistry and Physics.   He had hired Dr. Robert Johnson in anticipation of this laboratory.   ERMA would have been an ideal project to use to implement this plan.

·        A new Industrial Electronics Laboratory, reporting to Dr. Haller, and which included Don Garr’s Computer Section from the General Engineering Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, had just been announced.  (It later formed the nucleus of the Industrial Computer Section’s engineering function) and had far more capability to handle such a program than did the Microwave Laboratory.

It just doesn’t make sense that Dr. Haller would have assigned the ERMA project to the Microwave Laboratory, which had no computer experience or expertise.  As it was, Barney needed to call on Bob Johnson, Dave Zhaeb and Jay Levinthal from the Electronics Laboratories Department and George Jacobi, from the General Engineering Laboratory, for help

 

            Barney also engineered the clandestine move to Phoenix.   Apparently not willing to admit it, he refers in numerous places to appropriation requests to build facilities in Phoenix as an indication that he had authorization for the move.   Barney always carried several appropriation requests in his “pocket”, (often to ratify actions he’d already taken) most of which were never submitted, waiting for an appropriate opportunity to present one or another of them.

 

In view of the above, Homer R. “Barney” Oldfield’s exploits in “bootlegging” the ERMA project and putting GE into the computer business are all the more remarkable.  His audacity and courage were admired by those of us who were watching and it is too bad that he didn’t want to take the credit for his ability to make it happen in the face of considerable opposition and without authority to do so.

 

 

 

CORRECTION OF FACTS

 

Chapter 2: Pre-Proposal Activities

 

            Page 9, next to last paragraph:  “As of now, Connie Krehoff is the executive secretary of the Industrial Computer Section of the Electronics Division.   The only other employee besides myself is George Trotter...”  

Fact: There was not yet an Industrial Computer Section and these people were on the payroll of the Microwave Laboratory.   The Industrial Computer Section was not formed until after the receipt of the letter of intent for ERMA from the Bank of America.   It was then when Ken McCombs established the bank account and set up the payroll with himself as the first employee.  (This action, which Ken took on his own initiative by calling Banking Services in New York as the new Manager-Finance of the “Computer Department” and requesting that a bank account be set up, effectively established the Computer Department.)   Second on the payroll was Owen Lindley as National Sales Manager.   I was the third person as Manager-Budgets and Measurements.  Barney was put on the payroll of the Technical Equipment Department as none of his superiors were aware of the existence of a “Computer Department” payroll account and it was a number of months before he was added to it.

 

Page 16, last paragraph:  “Okay, Barney, go to it.   You’ve got fifty thousand bucks and two months to bring home the bacon”

Fact:   Barney made the proposal and “brought home the bacon” without being funded.   Once GE had accepted the bank’s letter of intent, Doctor Baker authorized $50,000 to turn the letter of intent into a firm contract[4].

 

Chapter 3: The Proposal Team is Formed

 

            Page 19, last paragraph:   “And so the ERMA proposal team was created: one engineer turned entrepreneur, one digital computer engineer, one analog computer expert, one accountant with a technical education, and one radar salesman.”

            Fact:   I, “the accountant with a technical education”, was not a member of the proposal team.  I did not join the organization until several months after the acceptance of the letter of intent.

 

Chapter 4: The Competition is Joined

 

            Page 21, next to last paragraph:   “That sounds great, Chuck.   I have to go into Syracuse in a couple of weeks to go over our cost figures with George Snively.   I’ll give you a call when I know my schedule.”   In a number of places, Barney skillfully wove my name into his narrative in a flattering manner – I assume to blunt my criticism.

            Fact:   Until Barney later asked Ken McCombs to hire me, he carefully kept all numbers away from me.   Barney always had two sets of plans: one to use as a decoy to divert the attention of the likes of me, and one the “real” plan which he may have already implemented!

 

Chapter 6: Down to Earth

 

            Page 38, Paragraph beginning “The Oldfield family…left Los Altos…by mid-afternoon of the second day…   They limped into Phoenix…  went to dinner at the Green Gables, a restaurant on Camelback Road…”

            This story, which the Phoenix media always printed when writing about the selection of Phoenix[5] by the Computer Department, does not make sense – particularly in a non air-conditioned car.   The direct route from Los Altos, California to Syracuse, New York would have been Route 30 via Salt Lake City and Chicago.   If, for some reason they had taken the southern route (400 miles longer – which was a long day’s drive in the days before freeways), they would have transversed Arizona on route 66 and would have stopped in Flagstaff - not Phoenix.  To have swung further south to go through Phoenix, would have added over 200 more miles.   It would have taken nearly three days – not a day and a half – to get to Phoenix in those days.

            Fact:   The Green Gables Restaurant was on East Thomas Road at 24th Street – not Camelback Road.

 

Chapter 7: The Exodus to Phoenix

 

            Page 52, first paragraph:   “By mid-1956 the Oldfield family was on the road…(to) Phoenix…”

Second paragraph:  “…Oldfield made a beeline for the KTAR television building where Barclay’s people had rented fourteen thousand square feet of office space…”

            Fact:  The site selection had not been made “By mid-1956…”.   The first Phoenix site, occupied in November 1956, was not the KTAR building.   We moved into the First National Bank of Arizona’s new headquarters[6] at 401 North Central Avenue (one block north of Van Buren at Polk Street)[7] at the same time as the bank’s people – they on the ground floor and GE on the fifth floor.

            This was a big media event, amply reported by the Arizona Republic newspaper.   Yet, when on later occasions the same newspaper recounts the history of GE’s Computer Department in Phoenix[8] – they also have us initially occupying the KTAR building.   It was actually about six months later that we moved into the KTAR building.

Page 53, second paragraph – last sentence:   “Jacobs was one of the most important people in Arizona, and Oldfield was somewhat in awe of him as he approached the meeting at the Stock Yards Restaurant.”

            Third paragraph:    “John Jacobs, it turned out, was as casual as an old shoe.”

            Fact:  John Jacobs owned approximately 2/3rds of the 1000 acres that we had under option, at an above market price, on Black Canyon Highway at Thunderbird Road and for which GE had paid John Jacobs a generous option fee.   I don’t know if Barney was aware of this, but John had every reason to treat Barney with respect.   However, John was always a fine gentleman and, as Barney put it, “as casual as an old shoe”.   (Barney seems to have been in awe of individuals with personal wealth as evidenced by several places in the book where he makes derogatory comments about Clair Lasher’s wealth and social status.)

The next to last paragraph:   “‘in addition,’ continued Oldfield, ‘we have a plan to include a computer center …  If the college can furnish us with a building…’”

            Fact: Months before Barney supposedly had this conversation with John Jacobs, Dr. Herbert R. J. Grosch had already made a deal with the Arizona State College (not yet University) and installed an IBM 702 computer, with a military priority, which he had diverted from GE’s Jet Engine Department in Evendale, Ohio.

            Page 55. The caption under the clipping from the Arizona Republic with the headline “G.E. WILL COME TO PHOENIX” reads “…September 2, 1956”.

            Fact:   The dateline on the clipping reads “Phoenix, Arizona, Friday, November 2, 1956.”   Barney’s narrative often mixes events with incorrect dates and presents them out of sequence, which is the novelist’s prerogative.

 

Chapter 8: The New Boss 

(Chapter 7 had us in Phoenix, but this chapter backtracks to Syracuse without so indicating it.)

 

Page 58, first paragraph:   “…in mid-September, 1956 Oldfield was holding the regular Monday staff meeting…  They were putting the finishing touches on the appropriation request covering the purchase of land and the architectural design of the first permanent facility to be erected in Phoenix.   The site…consisted of 160 acres on Black Canyon Highway…”

Fact:   GE’s policy at the time was to acquire 1000 acres for any contemplated plant site.   This was the result of GE finding a number of their plants hemmed in by expensive land (whose high value they had created) when they tried to expand. Consequently we had options on 1000 acres.   However, it would be several years (not mid-September 1956) before we would prepare an appropriation request to build on the Black Canyon[9] site – at which time GE had experienced a cash crunch and we only exercised the option on 160 acres.

Page 58, next to last paragraph:   “…as a means of implementing Harold Smiddy’s concept of a professional manager.”

Fact:   It was Peter Drucker’s concept – not Harold Smiddy’s, and by this time Cordiner’s reorganization of GE in line with these concepts was essentially complete.

Page 60, paragraph beginning “I’m calling a staff meeting…” and ending “Incidentally, I’ve approved the appropriation request for temporary space, which came from Snively.”

Fact:   It was mid-November (not mid-September) when Barney hand carried the appropriation to Harold Strickland waiting for the proper moment to present it to him.   Several days earlier he had sent the manufacturing people (Earl Kittle, Stan Brown and Bob Bentley) on the road to Phoenix - to acquire and set up space - with orders to call in every night for instructions about whether or not to keep going.   This small ($5,000) appropriation request was written to cover a “sales office” in Phoenix for liaison with the Bank of America.   When Strickland signed it Barney ordered everyone involved to get out of Syracuse and Schenectady and told to head to Phoenix and to not answer the phone after he hung up.   He was to be unavailable for two weeks.

Page 61, paragraph beginning “The relationship between GE and IBM was the subject of much speculation within GE.”

Fact:   Such speculation didn’t begin until a number of years later when it became generally known that Cordiner had had a long standing objection to GE entering the computer business.

Note: In mid-1956, I was asked to make an analysis of IBM as a possible acquisition by GE as a way to enter the computer business and to support the ERMA effort.  At that time, as measured by the comparative revenues and net worth of GE and IBM, it would have been a modest acquisition.   However, GE’s management was incredulous about the market value for the stock of a company with minimum earnings, heavily in debt and which didn’t pay a dividend. (The “new economy”, “hi-tech” company of this time.)

 

Chapter 9: Complications of Early Growth

 

            Page 66, paragraph 7:   “This is Fred MacFee, Mr. Oldfield.   It’s been suggested I contact you about a personnel matter relating to one of our employees, Mr. Herb Grosch.   Perhaps you know him?”

“Sorry, I don’t recognize the name.”

            This was a “cheap shot” by Barney, who disliked Herb’s penchant for personal publicity and self-promotion.   (Throughout the book Barney reports events, often out of historical sequence, in such a manner as to discredit Herb Grosch[10].)

            Fact:   Months before the date of this presumed call, Grosch had set up the computer center at Arizona State College (not yet University).   The tale that Barney sets forth on pages 68 and 69 is essentially true –except that it took place before the move to Phoenix by others, and without Barney’s knowledge, approval or his participation.   Herb made the trip to Phoenix and broke the news of GE’s selection of Phoenix to the Arizona Republic[11] prior to Strickland’s signing of the $5,000 appropriation request and before the rest of us had begun the exodus to Phoenix.

            Fact:   Herb Grosch made a presentation at the June 28, 1956 Computer Symposium sponsored by the Industrial Computer Section that was held at Electronics Park. (Long before the selection of, and the move to Phoenix.)   I don’t know if Barney had ever met Herb prior to this meeting, but at the cocktail party following the meeting they were observed closeting themselves in a private meeting.

            Pages 69, next to last paragraph.   “… Oldfield, acting on John Jacobs’ advice, decided to visit William Douglas in Tucson…” and fist two paragraphs on page 70.

            Fact:   William Douglas was also on the board of the General Electric Company – something that Barney apparently was unaware of.   (Following Herb Grosch’s premature announcement and during the hiatus while everyone was moving to Phoenix, Douglas tried to get hold of Cordiner to divert the Computer Department away from Phoenix and to Tucson where he controlled the banks.  However, Cordiner was secluded with his general managers[12] in his annual planning meeting and was unavailable.   Barney, being out of contact during this period, must not have been aware of this activity.)

 

Chapter 10: The Visit of the New Boss

 

            Page 72, first paragraph:  “It was an especially hot day in early October, 1956, as Oldfield watched the huge TWA Constellation settle down on the ten-thousand-foot runway of the Phoenix Municipal Airport…”

            Fact:  Strickland signed the $5,000 appropriation request for the Phoenix office space on November 20 1956[13], after which, Barney was to be unavailable for two weeks.  The earliest that this meeting could have taken place was on December 4, 1956.

            Fact:   The Phoenix airport was called “Sky Harbor”.

            Page 73, third paragraph:   “They turned right at the next light, ’We’re now on South Central Avenue…’”

            Fact:   It was North Central Avenue.

            Page 73, seventh paragraph: The temporary offices of the Industrial Computer Section were on the second floor of the KTAR Radio and Television building.”

            Fact:  The first temporary offices were on the fifth floor of the First National Bank of Arizona’s building at 401 North Central Avenue.

            Page 77, third paragraph:   “The plan tomorrow is for Ray Barclay to pick you up after breakfast and take you for a tour of the leased factory building on Peoria Avenue…”

            Fact:   It would be nearly a year from this time before the Peoria Avenue plant would be built.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11: The Product Charter[14] Battle

 

          Page 82, second paragraph:   “…During one of those trips he met Arnold Spielberg.”

            Contradiction:    The above is under “1957 activities” and contradicts the third paragraph on page 76 reporting on the October 1956 meeting “…we hired a senior engineer from RCA’s Bizmac project…”

            Page 85, first paragraph.  “’Okay,’ said Oldfield, ’Let’s go after the Jones & Laughlin job and see what happens.   We may end up having a Product Charter fight with Industry Control, but the best way to win it will be to have a detailed technical proposal completed and costed out as soon as possible.   I’ll start probing the Product Charter procedure…’”

            Comment:   Barney’s “modus operandi” was to ask for far more than he anticipated receiving.   Knowing that he was going to have to initiate a Product Scope discussion with the Industry Control Department he opened the procedure wide up by claiming scope over all of the GE products which incorporated or used computers.  This encompassed military computers (including tactical systems, missile guidance, fire control, etc.), plus the military research and development contracts.   Barney wrote a letter[15], with copies to the General Managers of the businesses involved, staking his claim to their turf.   This letter elicited prompt and extremely forcible responses, particularly from the Heavy Military Equipment Department and the Light Military Equipment Department.   The crescending uproar resulted in Harold Smiddy calling for a comprehensive product scope meeting in Phoenix.

            Uncharacteristically, Barney does not appear to have recognized the significance of this meeting that brought together many people and General Managers from a number of diverse GE businesses – many of whom were unaware of the existence of a “Computer Department”.  This three day very comprehensive meeting ended by providing us with legitimacy by approving the charter for a “Computer Department”.

 

Chapter 13: Problems at Palo Alto and at Home

 

          Page 91, third paragraph:  “We’ve just finished a routine audit of Herb Grosch’s expense account… They’re way out of line, as George Snively suspected,…”

            Fact:   I was Manager-Budgets and Measurements and not in the “expense account” loop.   Herb reported to Barney who would have personally approved Herb’s expense accounts before they were ever submitted to accounting.

            Page 91, last paragraph:   “Informed that the job was filled, he (Grosch) settled for the position of manager of the planned GE Computer Center at Arizona State University (College).”

            Fact:   There was no such center planned.   Herb Grosch implemented it without Barney’s knowledge.

 

Chapter 15: The Change in Management

 

            Comment:   Several times I asked Barney to have Lasher[16] review the manuscript for his comments, corrections, etc. as being as knowledgeable of events as either of us, but he never did.  Probably because, except for the reference to Barney’ wife’s (Sofia) illness, the first six paragraphs of this chapter are fiction.   I can understand why Barney was not very complimentary of Herb Grosch throughout the book, but I don’t understand his many unflattering comments about Lasher.

            The story he relates beginning with the second paragraph on page 102 is what happened after he was fired, except for the fourth paragraph on page 102: “Okay, we’ll appoint Lasher acting General Manager so we can evaluate him for a six month period before making a firm appointment.”

            Fact:   It was contrary to GE’s management philosophy to appoint someone “acting” for “evaluation.”   When Lasher was appointed “acting” General Manager it was because (a) Barney’s leaving was abrupt and someone had to be holding things together until a replacement could be selected and (b) he was given a specific assignment to downsize the business to a strictly process computer business – which then might be too small for his talents.

 

Chapter 16: Planning for the Future

 

            Page 108, third paragraph:  “The recommendation concerning the computer business was rejected by President Ralph Cordiner…”

            Page 108, fourth paragraph:   “Despite the turn-down from Cordiner, Clair Lasher was given an OK to spend much of 1956 developing a business plan aimed at launching GE into the computer business.   This proposal was submitted to Mr. Cordiner at about the same time that Barney Oldfield was authorized by Baker to bid on the ERMA program”

            Fact:   The Metcalf Report was a market study and did not make “recommendations”.   It was Lasher’s business plan, in which I participated, that was rejected by Cordiner.

            Page 108, parenthetical statement beginning in the second line from the bottom “(Some years later, when Oldfield wrote Cordiner for a letter of recommendation, he discovered that Cordiner had a long memory.   He received a blistering reply…)”

            Comment:   This response of Cordiner’s would seem to confirm that Cordiner had fired him – such a response would not be anticipated if Barney had resigned for personal reasons and had left GE in good standing.

            Comment:   It is my belief that the events related on pages 109 and 110 are fiction.

            Page 111, second paragraph:   “When Lasher returned to Phoenix he convened a weekend planning session to be attended by his key section heads, and top technical people.   He chose the quietly sumptuous Camelback Inn for the meeting, a rather rich setting for a fledgling organization… Each attendee had a private room for Saturday night, and all meals and drinks would be on the house”

            Comment:   I don’t believe that such a meeting ever took place.  If it did, it was following the events noted in Chapter 18.  He is critical of “the rather rich setting” – but he must have forgotten that these are the very same arrangements that he had made for the Product Scope meeting, held when the organization was even more of a “fledgling”. 

            Page 112,-second paragraph:   “George Snively, manager of credits and collections, sat at the foot of the conference table…”

            Fact:   If such a meeting did take place, I was not in attendance as stated.

            Fact:   At that time I was Manger-Budgets & Measurements, not credit and collections.

 

Chapter 18: ERMA’s Public Debut.

 

            Page 122, paragraph beginning, “Briefly, George the dedication was a big success and the demonstrations were flawless, but Cordiner out foxed us.   Instead of giving an implied commitment to the expanded marketing plan, he recognized that the ERMA computer and its various peripherals constituted a ‘business machine’.   He was in a towering rage…”

            Fact:   Barney references my letter of June 26, 1994 to him as the source for the content of this meeting – but he neglected to include the part of the meeting where I was told that Cordiner had fired Barney and appointed Lasher as acting General Manger.

 

Chapter 19: IBM’s Dark Shadow

 

          Page 124, end of first paragraph: “…the Computer Department was becoming a social club.”[17]

            Comment:   I disagree with this characterization which Barney makes from time to time.   We were all way too busy to do much socializing.

            Second paragraph:  “The cocktail parties grew more frequent as the 1959 Christmas season approached.   The Christmas dinner was a must-dress occasion. … and invitations had gone out to all employees.”

            Fact:   My invitation must have been lost in the mail.

            Fact:   There was a Phoenix Chapter of the GE ELFUN Society, which embraced all of the GE employees in the Phoenix area – not just the Computer Department - at or above a certain management level.  They usually held a formal Christmas dinner dance.  The Computer Department employees made up about 60% of this group which included employees from the Apparatus Sales Division, Industrial Controls, GE Credit Corporation, the Appliance Division, etc. most of whom had longer service dates then the Computer Department people and ran this organization.  Barney may have been thinking of this dinner.

 

Chapter 20: The GE 225 Computer is Conceived

         

          No comments or corrections

 

Chapter 21: The “Big Look” is Approved, Sort of

 

            Comment:   I don’t understand Barney’s appending the “Sort of” to the chapter title.

Fact according to Barney: The fourth paragraph on page 134 reads, “Turning to Strickland, Cordiner said, “Harold, the business plan of the Computer Department is approved.  Get with it!’”  This doesn’t sound like a “sort of” to me.   Barney apparently wanted to give Lasher only grudging credit for accomplishing something that Barney couldn’t.

 

Epilogue:   It turned out that Cordiner was correct in that GE had no problem financing the cash requirements of the computer business.   However, even the “Big Look” did not plan for the surprising success and growth of the computer business and GE’s participation therein which led, as a result of the rental business, to much larger “paper” losses than forecast.

 

Chapter 22: Pow Wow at Apache Junction

 

          Shortly before this meeting, I was appointed Manager- Credit & Collections.   I then began spending the majority of my time on the road visiting prospects and customers in an effort to convince them to finance their GE computer acquisitions on some other basis than the standard month to month rental.  This effort was vital as the greater than planned growth of the business was generating more “tax shelter” from the rental business than GE could comfortably absorb to offset profits from other GE businesses.    Converting customers to full pay-out leases or purchase greatly mitigated this problem.

 

            From this point onward I was not close to what was happening in Phoenix.   However, Barney had any number of verifiable sources, many of whom are still living, for the events related from this point forward and who can make corrections if they so desire.

 

I have two further corrections:

            Page 179,-second paragraph:   “He knew GE’s conservative accounting system would never countenance a monthly rental-use agreement for a computer of this magnitude…”

            Fact:   The monthly rental-use agreement was the standard agreement under which GE computers were quoted, regardless of the magnitude of the order[18], and was the manner in which 75% of the customers contracted for the equipment.

            Page 194, third paragraph:   “Solheim’s GE career…   His garage could no longer contain the flourishing side business, and, in 1963, he decided to leave GE and strike out on his own.”

            Fact:   Van Aken, after seeing Karsten on TV demonstrating his putter at a golf tournament, requested to see Karsten’s past expense accounts.   The correlation of Karsten’s “business” trips, where he remained over a weekend, to places where there were golf tournaments was too great for Van Aken, who had been a traveling auditor for GE.   Karsten was fired.

 

 

FINAL COMMENTS

 

            I recognize that the critic’s job is many orders of magnitude easier than that of the writer and Barney needs to be commended for the tremendous energy and effort he put into writing King of the Seven Dwarfs.   He has provided a valuable and interesting story of GE’s computer business and, if nothing else, it’s a scaffold for others to use to flesh out with additional facts. 

 

I believe that it is important to correct the factual record.   History, even when historians base their interpretation on facts, ultimately metamorphoses into myth.   It happens even faster when it is based largely on hearsay. 



[1] G. E. Snively,  “General Electric Enters the Computer Business,” Annals of the History of Computing, vol.10, no. 1, pp. 74-78, 1988.

[2]   I was the Manager-Budgets and Measurements for the Electronics Laboratories Dept.     

[3]  Later to become the head of  the Computer Sciences Department at Syracuse University,

[4]  The final version of the contract was not executed until after the last ERMA system had been shipped.

[5]  It was a common theme in the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce stories of companies or businesses relocating to Phoenix that some principal of the business discovered Phoenix by being stranded in Phoenix through a medical or other emergency – in Barney’s case it was usually portrayed as a flat tire.   Barney apparently believed his own press.

[6]   They later moved their headquarters to 1st Avenue and Monroe.

[7]   After the bank moved out, it was for many years the Arizona Public Service building.

[8]   Most recently, when reporting GE’s acquisition of Honeywell, on October 23, 2000.

[9]   The site team had not done their homework well and this selection upset two large GE customers - the Southern Pacific Railroad, whose nearest spur was 15 miles away, and the Salt River Project as the site was in Arizona Public Service’s service area.

[10]   I am no defender of Herb Grosch – but you don’t need to change the facts.   His own actions and statements are sufficient.

[11]    See November 2, 1956 clipping from the Arizona Republic on page 55

[12]    Barney’s absence from this meeting indicates that he was not yet, as he pretended, a “General Manager”.

[13]    This was on a Tuesday afternoon.   I left the Les Lee Building in North Syracuse, where we had our offices, and went home.   Wednesday was spent packing and Thursday was Thanksgiving day.   We left very early Friday morning and had a second Thanksgiving a week later in Houston, Texas, which observed it a week later. 

[14]    They were called “Product Scope” but Barney thought, probably correctly, that “Product Charter” would be more universally understood outside of GE.

[15]    Barney was a powerful, very effective and confrontational letter writer.   He was also very effective when standing behind a podium.   However, he shied from face to face confrontation and came across as a “Milquetoast”.   Barney describes himself as, “Someone who shrinks into, and goes unnoticed, in a crowd.”

[16]    I also asked him to have Lacy Goostree review the manuscript.

[17]    Barney references letters from Pat Barclay.   Ray Barclay was a “beer and pickup” kind of guy and did not quite fit in with his peers.

[18]    Both Weyerhaeuser and Martin-Marietta had previously ordered much larger systems to be provided in accordance with a Use Agreement.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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