Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 18:04:24 -0400 From: Bob Frankston
To: "Daniel Power, UNI Management Dept." Subject: RE: VisiCalc history Some other quick thoughts before I run off to a meeting: I should emphasize that the statement that Dan came up with VisiCalc is not at all an exaggeration. Just a fact of coming up with a solution to a problem and taking advantage of the consumer computing that was just becoming available. As I noted, Mattessich is creating his own myth. No need to say supposedly except that the need was the result of the general requirements of the B school rather than one particular problem set. Dan (and I) had lots of experience with interactive systems and screen editing which helped influence our thinking. We had been programming since the early 1960's. If anything, it's worth emphasizing how much commercial programming we had both been doing as well as our extensive academic computer science education. I came up with the name VisiCalc as a shortening of Visible Calculator. The term was purposely general with no ties to particular functions such as accounting, rather it was the idea of a smart calculator (or calculating assistant to use more recent terminology).