And my friends said… You spent $20,000 on WHAT!


OK… so sometimes I fall into Circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum’s camp of “There’s a sucker born every minute!” Sometimes I’ve just gotta be the first one on my block – when it comes to technology.

The year was 1983, and on a warm June summer day Apple Computer, Inc. introduced its first GUI (pronounced “goo-ee”) computer – the Apple Lisa. Rumor has it that Steve Job’s named it after his daughter Lisa. But Steve told us that the name stood for “Local Integrated System Architecture.”

The Lisa was Apple’s new business machine. It had new high capacity “Twiggy” floppy disc drives, a graphical user interface, and the first of Apple’s mouse based software applications for word processing, spreadsheet analysis, painting, drawing, project scheduling and more. It used a mouse, and had a high resolution grey-scale screen.

To sell the Lisa to business Apple only authorized selected computer stores where the sales and support staff had received specialized training. The closest store was in East Lansing, Michigan about 50 miles away from Grand Rapids where I lived at that time.

Of course I needed a Lisa for work, and also one for home. In those days Apple had not built a laptop – tablets and smartphones were just dreams in Steve Jobs’ head. You gotta continue your work at home – right?

Each Lisa was sold at list price – no “deals” were available (at first). For the great price of just $9,995 each – I soon had two Lisa’s delivered, installed and setup. The Lisa was truly amazing. Gone were the green screen consisting of a flashing cursor and simple text. Replaced with pictures, graphs, different fonts, and lots of other “cool” stuff.

This was all about six months before Steve introduced the Macintosh in January of 1984. A machine that was lighter, smaller, semi-portable and significantly more technology advanced the Lisa. And did I mention that it was 1/4 the price of the Lisa – about $2,500 (lets see that is eight Mac’s or two Lisa’s… hmmm).

Oh well, I’ve always been on the “bleeding” edge of technology. I make far fewer bad technology decisions today as a “geezer” than I did 31 years ago. Hopefully I won’t make one on the new Apple Watch being introduced in April of this year. The projected price of the Apple Watch begins at $349 – a long ways from the $9,995 price of a Apple Lisa.

3 thoughts on “And my friends said… You spent $20,000 on WHAT!”

  1. I can vouch for you being on that “bleeding edge”, Tom. I remember you forcing me to turn in my PC for a Mac at AWS in the mid-90s. Dragged me kicking and screaming into that other world. But in the end, it was painless and all was well. Good luck with the Apple Watch, which undoubtedly has more power than ol’ Lisa did!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank goodness for beta-testers like you! Without your willingness to sacrifice your hard-earned dollars to weed out the good stuff from the bad the rest of us would will be wondering what to buy. Seriously, I appreciate your advice on all things Apple.


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