Big hair, or you took the stairs

I once spent a week at the offices of Berkeley Systems (publishers of the After Dark screensaver. Millenials: screensavers were a category of software that prevented… oh, never mind)

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Berkeley Systems’ most famous screensaver and the screensaver that defined a generation: Flying Toasters

Anyway, they had a 3 story building and stacked 3 plastic single story spiral playground slides on top of each other.

Employees would arrive on the ground floor at close to maximum running speed so they had to clear a landing area around the exit and pad it with bean bags.

More seriously, large files couldn’t yet be reliably be sent or shared online, so most important work files were on magnetic media of various kinds. And when you build up 20km/hr on 200m of PVC plastic, in contact with the jeans you’re wearing, it builds up a considerable static charge…

So there was a warning sign at the top of the slide: do not ride the slide with a floppy disc, bernoulli or zip drive (Millenials: zip and bernoulli drives were… never mind…)

Everybody at Berkeley Systems had big hair, or they took the stairs.

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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