MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 156 of 179

MacDirectory 155 INTERVIEW GIL NUMEROFF > A PIONEER IN THE BUSINESS [PART 2] INTERVIEW BY E.L. GRIGGS MacDirectory > We left Gil in the first edition of this article telling us how he got into computers. Now we ask him to elaborate on his journey…. Gil Numeroff > I found myself putting together a computer program for the company. While this was going on, I went to the Office Automation Expo in Philadelphia and there I saw the Apple Lisa. You couldn't help but notice it because there was this exhibition hall about the size of a high school gym with tables all around the outside and an aisle down the middle. At one end was a stage with the Apple exhibit and every attendee at the convention was at the Apple exhibit watching the demo of the Lisa. So a week later I went in to Manhattan to the only computer store, called The Computer Factory, and I saw the Lisa up close. I saw some guy fumbling around trying to demo it and then some kid, some 18-year-old kid, walked up and said, "Excuse me," and took the mouse and proceeded to show everyone how to use it. I thought then, if some 18-year-old kid can do this, how hard can it be and I ordered four of them. We started using them for copywriting in the beginning and then we hired programmers to write programs for us in whatever language was available at the time. We spent thousands of dollars on various people who just couldn't figure things out. About that time, one of the Mac computer magazines came out with pages of software, much of which didn't even exist at the time. Stuff they called "vaporware". But one of the applications listed was one called Helix. It looked intriguing to me because it said you don't have to be a programmer to use it, you just have to know what you want to do and it is easy to figure this thing out. So I said to my computer guy, the guy who sold me the Macs and later came to work for me, "when this comes out, get it for me." In November, the week after Thanksgiving, he walked into my office and he brought me a carrying case with Helix and a 128K machine and I put that thing on my back and carried it home. Over the next three months I taught myself how to use it and within five months I had written a billing program for the agency that we were using on a network. Then the Macs came out and Apple said they wanted us to test it. We were in pretty good with Apple at the time as we were one of the few business users in the city. We had the Lisa and were using them in networks so they wanted us to try Mac Works and eventually try the Macintosh. So we did this for another year or so and I started moonlighting for other ad agency clients who wanted to know, "Who did this?" for at the time no company had such programs unless they were big companies with huge mainframes. They would point people to my office and I would interview them and then I would write them a program using this "Helix." One morning in July of 1986, I was sitting down in my office with a woman who was a friend of mine for many years and who had brought me a new account, when my agency manager walked in and said, "You, I need you right away in my office." No "hello,"no courtesy at all and then he took me into his office and gave me some big lecture about something not even

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