Chris Espinosa on the Homebrew Computer Club

Source: Interview with Chris Espinosa, 13 June 2000.

Espinosa: So I met Steve Jobs, and from that I was really encouraged to go to the Homebrew Computer Club. I think I got my mom to drive. She'd sit in the back, reading, while all of these slightly dirty and dangerous people discussed things that she-- She wasn't alien to all this, she was head of single student housing at Stanford, so she knew the neighborhood. She had worked with the Computer Science Department to put together the program that ran the housing draw, so she knew from computers. In subsequent years she would be a sales representative and then trainer rep for Lanier word processors, and eventually from that would be hired at Apple to run training for our word processor program. She worked at Apple for ten years.

So I sat in the back with the one person I knew, Steve Jobs, and he introduced me to Steve Wozniak and this other person I had seen from high school, Randy Wigginton. Randy lived in the area, and had gone to summer school at my high school, but during the year went to Bellarmine Prep. I didn't take classes with him, but I knew him from summers at Homestead. So there was a smallish community of people from Apple who sat in the back of the room.

The SLAC auditorium was really set up geographically, and people would go to the same places. The two back rows, in the center, were Apple; Jim Warren was always five or six down from the back, on the left hand side. The processor technology people were down on the right. Lee Felsenstein was on the stage; the Homebrew librarian, Bob French, was always front and center. Then there were various other cliques, and Marty Spergel kind of moved around. But it was like a high school cafeteria: you sat with the "right people." It was very amusing. During the Random Access section of the meeting there was a lot more mixing, but in the mapping section, you really knew where to sit, unless you were new, in which case you migrated around.

Homebrew was unlike any other computer group on the planet that has ever been. It was a unique experience: very bright individuals, a unique and unrepeatable structure, and much more of an investment in diversity than focusing in a single technology. They were all over the place.


Document created on 6 July 2000;