Dan Bricklin's Web Site: www.bricklin.com
Biography
Backgrounder on Dan Bricklin
4/2012

Long Form:

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, helped introduce the world to the capabilities of electronic ink on pen computers,  brought new types of easy web site authoring to regular people, and continue his work with electronic ink on the Apple iPad. 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, which became the leading provider of private-label web site publishing technology and managed hosting services to top online providers for small-business and personal web sites. Its main product was Trellix Web Express, a server-based web site authoring system private labeled by web communities and hosting services. Previously it produced Trellix Web, a PC-based web site creation tool bundled on over 35 million devices from companies like HP, Dell, and Kodak.

In early 2003, Trellix was acquired by Interland, Inc. (now Web.com), a leading supplier of business-class web hosting solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Dan served as Chief Technology Officer of Interland, working out of Interland's Trellix office in Corcord, Massachusetts.

In early 2004, Dan returned to Software Garden where as president he is doing software development, speaking, and consulting for a variety of companies.

Software Garden's most popular current product is Note Taker HD, an app for the Apple iPad that Dan programmed.

Mr. Bricklin is a founding trustee of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council) and has served on the boards of the Software Publishers Association and the Boston Computer Society. Mr. Bricklin has received many honors for his contributions to the computer industry, including the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Entrepreneur Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Software Publishers Association. Along with VisiCalc co-creator Bob Frankston, he received the 2001 Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers. He has received numerous other awards, including from groups like the ACM, the Boston Jaycees, and MIT, and from publications like Computer Reseller News and PC Magazine. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Newbury College in 2001, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


Short Form:

Dan Bricklin is currently president of Software Garden, Inc., a small consulting firm and developer of software applications that he founded in 1985. Its most popular product is Note Taker HD for the Apple iPad.

Throughout his career, Mr. Bricklin has created innovative, cutting-edge products. Bricklin is best known for codeveloping VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet, while he was a student at the Harvard Business School. VisiCalc is widely credited for fueling the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.

In late 1995, Dan founded Trellix Corporation, a provider of website publishing technology. In early 2003, Trellix was acquired by Interland, Inc., a supplier of web hosting solutions for small and medium sized businesses. Dan served as Interland's CTO through early 2004 when he returned to Software Garden to do software product development and consulting.

From 1985 through 1989, Mr. Bricklin served as president of Software Garden, Inc., where he developed a variety of software programs, including Dan Bricklin's Demo Program. The program, used for prototyping and simulating other pieces of software, won the 1986 and 1987 Software Publishers Association Award for Best Programming Tool. In 1990, Mr. Bricklin cofounded Slate Corporation to develop application software for pen computers.

Mr. Bricklin also founded Software Arts, where he served as chairman of the board and executive vice president from 1979 until 1985. Prior to forming Software Arts, he had been a market researcher for Prime Computer Inc., a senior systems programmer for FasFax Corporation, and a senior software engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation. At Digital, he was project leader of the WPS-8 word processing software, where he helped to specify and develop one of the first standalone word processing systems.

Mr. Bricklin is a founding trustee of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council) and has served on the boards of the Software Publishers Association and the Boston Computer Society. Mr. Bricklin has received many honors for his contributions to the computer industry, including the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Entrepreneur Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Software Publishers Association. Along with VisiCalc co-creator Bob Frankston, he received the 2001 Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers. Mr. Bricklin holds a BS in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Newbury College, and was elected to be a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


Even Shorter:

Dan Bricklin is currently president of Software Garden, Inc., a small consulting firm and developer of software applications that he founded in 1985. Its most popular product is Note Taker HD for the Apple iPad.

Mr. Bricklin is best known for codeveloping VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet, while he was a student at the Harvard Business School. VisiCalc is widely credited for fueling the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.

Until early 2004, Mr. Bricklin served as CTO of Interland, Inc., after it acquired his previous company, Trellix Corporation, in 2003. Prior to founding Trellix in 1995, he served as president of Software Garden, Inc., where he developed a variety of software programs, including Dan Bricklin's Demo Program. Mr. Bricklin also cofounded Slate Corporation, a developer of application software for pen computers, as well as Software Arts, the developer of VisiCalc. Prior to forming Software Arts, he had been a market researcher for Prime Computer Inc., a senior systems programmer for FasFax Corporation, and a senior software engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation.

Mr. Bricklin is a founding trustee of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council) and has served on the boards of the Software Publishers Association and the Boston Computer Society. Mr. Bricklin has received many honors for his contributions to the computer industry from the ACM, IEEE, MIT, PC Magazine, the Western Society of Engineers, and numerous others. Mr. Bricklin holds a BS in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Newbury College, and was elected to be a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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