[TUHS] Sytek (was Re: 8th Edition timeline)

Jon Forrest nobozo at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 01:06:54 AEST 2020

On 3/30/2020 7:41 AM, Clem Cole wrote:
> Jeremy -- Sytek - that was it -- thank you.   Sunnyvale/Mt. View -- who 
> can tell the difference?  ;-)

Here's a story about Sytek (I hope I haven't told it before - I'm
starting to forget who I've told stories to).

In 1977/1978 I was an extremely junior engineeer at Ford Aerospace.
I was in the group that was both acting as the main Unix promoter
in Ford, and also was making a provably-secure version of Unix
called KSOS. The group had a bunch of excellent senior people (e.g.
John Nagle, Tom Berson, Ken Biba, Mike Pliner, Mike Padlipsky).

This was my first real job in the software industry so I didn't know
what to expect. After about 6 months I noticed that there were a lot
of closed-door meetings going on. I thought this was normal. One day
I was walking by an office when the door opened up and I was invited
in. I didn't know if I had done something wrong and was about to be
fired, or what.

I turned out that I had nothing to worry about. What was happening
was that some of the people in the group were going to leave Ford
to start their own company. They needed some junior people also,
and they asked me to join them. I gave it some thought but turned
them down because I didn't want to live in Silicon Valley anymore,
and wanted to return to Santa Barabara where I belonged.

The company that they started was Sytek, which got the contract
from IBM to create NetBIOS. They also did other networking work
that has been mentioned in this thread.

If I had gone to Sytex I would have been employe #8 with lots of
stock options. I often wonder how my life would have been different
if I had done this. I suspect many people on TUHS have similar stories
about the ones that got away. In fact, this might be a good topic
for a new thread.

Jon Forrest

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