Meet The Former Harvard MBA Student And His Classmate Who Invented The Very First Spreadsheet
In 1979, two classmates had a dream to bring their Texas Instrument Business Analyst calculators to life. That’s how the very first spreadsheet was born. Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston went on to create Visicalc, the world’s first spreadsheet, before Microsoft’s Excel was ever conceived of.
Visicalc is an amalgam of ‘visual calculator’, and that’s what they sought to build when they conceived of the world’s first spreadsheet. The two met at MIT where they were classmates, and they had no idea how much this one tool would change Business forever.
The actual vision for Visicalc was slightly different than what they ended up creating. They conceived of something much more handheld than a spreadsheet, but sometimes the best of ideas present themselves as an iceberg with only 90% of the idea hidden below the surface waiting to be discovered.
I kind of love that these dudes take shots at Bill Gates for using Harvard’s computers illegally for free when they paid up front to use the computers in a time-share setup where they were forced to work at night because it was significantly cheaper. I also can’t really wrap my mind around doing work like this and know you were on the verge of building a tool that could change the world forever.