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The Digital Culture

So many of us grew up professionally and thrived within the famous Digital "culture" — whether in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales or services... the empowerment of the individual and innovative style of matrix management provided a foundation for all of our employees to shine.



Please see presentation by Debra Amidon from the 2008 Gordon College Ken Olsen Science Center Dedication.   This is under the Digital's Heritage Section.



Nov. 2015: Sent in by Frank Coyne of Digital Galway Ireland: 

DEC Model.pdf  (click on link)

The retrospective DEC Leadership, Legacy and Corporate Social Responsibility programme model attached is just for information, but may be of nostalgic interest to some of your diaspora/group members.


An interesting, independent follow-up article appeared in the Financial Times on November 2nd, 2010, titled: Case Study: Seventeen years after the Digital closure, new doors open in Galway, which your group members might also find interesting.   Francis P. Coyne, Executive Education and Training Consultants
Tel: + (353)-1-288 5628 - Mobile: (087) 254 2634    http://www.frank-coyne.com


Here are links to two Culture documents developed in the 1980s by Reesa Abrams:

1/12: Also on culture - Rob Dandrade sent in a document about "Leadership and Follower-ship" authored by John Fischer.

Download the "Ken Olsen Memory Book" compiled by Gordon College for their Tribute.  This is a 3.2MB file in pdf format (over 80 pp.), so we recommend that you right-click on the link and save it to your computer's hard drive before viewing it.  It is a remarkable testament to Ken's professional contributions and personal values, and overwhelmingly expresses the love and admiration we still feel for him.

The Ship of DECItaly  

Alessandro Peruzzetto (1st, right) and Angelo Bonomo (1st, left) came from Italy to attend the Tribute to Ken Olsen at Gordon College in June 2006.  Here they are with Nancy Kilty, Gary Finerty, and John Loether enjoying dinner after the Tribute.

The Ship of DECItaly  by Alessandro Peruzzetto

Friends, I want to share with you a nice story...

Once upon the time, a great cruise ship was sailing across the oceans, raising admiration and envy from the whole fleet. Its strengths were: the high technology on which it was built, the care for its passengers and, above all, the competence and team spirit of its crew.

Even on rough seas, the crew was always able to handle the most critical situations, thanks to the team harmony built on mutual trust and respect, and the passengers' expectations were always met.

Taking advantage of a slump in the cruise market, the shipowner, aiming solely at his own profit, smelled a good deal and sold the ship to a competitor, at a bargain price. A good business on paper, but too complex to manage operationally.

The new owner refurbished the vessel, turning it into a containership.

The old crew found it difficult, in most cases impossible, to adapt to the new reality and to serve under the new property; it was time to migrate towards more suitable harbors...

Thanks to the experience and the prestige acquired on the fleet's jewel, the refugees were welcomed with open arms by other shipowners: the officers became commanders of other ships, often bringing with them their most trusted team-mates; the sailors found comfortable engagements elsewhere; the most entrepreneurial ones became ship owners and skippers on their own. Within a couple of years the old crew, by then totally dispersed, was safely sailing the seas under different flags.

But, as it's well known, the sea does not divide but rather unites the people who, even if physically distant, sail it with love and respect. The old crew kept sticking to the values in which they had been believing for a long time, managed to keep in touch and, thanks to the initiative of some distinguished team members, founded a new community: a virtual one, indeed, but nevertheless even stronger than before.

I am pleased to introduce it to you: its name is DECITALY.


Alessandro with Ken in Rome in 1990


Engineers Rule -- Again? by Bill Ross:  I could not resist a quick comment on a 1/16 article in Wired on "How Yahoo Blew It" (via the Boston Globe's Business Filter). The article concludes, "At Yahoo, the marketers rule, and at Google the engineers rule. And for that, Yahoo is finally paying the price."

As a former Digital employee, I found this highly ironic: being an engineering-driven company was exactly what was usually blamed for DEC going down, down, and finally out.

"And the seasons, they go round and round...", in Joni's words. Is quoting a lyricist too cheesy? Okay, then, how about Sir Isaac Newton, the inventor of gravity? As Newton's Second Law of Psychics states, "What goes around, comes around."...

Last summer, I went to a groundbreaking at Gordon College where Ken Olsen was being honored by naming their new science building after him. I got close enough to watch as a steady stream of his former employees came up to express their heartfelt appreciations to him, and got to see the flash in his eyes. So only then, since he was gone from Digital by the time I worked there, I felt like I got to see who Ken Olsen really was. But I sure got to hear a lot about him from the old DEC people who were still there, and the story was told that when he came into the company cafeteria, he'd pass by all the execs and go have lunch with... the engineers. That stuff about Google people getting a day a week to work on their own projects? That's exactly what was going on at Digital in its heyday, and it all came from Ken.

Bill Ross
AltaVista, Littleton, '96-'98 - email Webmaster to contact Bill.

A Digital Experience - by Faye Detsky-Weil: Monster.com asked people to write to them about their best bosses.

The best boss I ever had was someone who cared about me and my future. He took the time to talk to me about what I wanted to do and where my interests were. He had me write objectives for my job and for my career. At the time I dreaded it and thought of it as punishment, only to look back and realize that he was doing me a favor. He was the first boss I had who did this for me and I realized in the years that followed that he was not typical of most managers. Many have to write up performance reviews and objectives as a job requirement. He was my mentor. I was rather young at the time, but I was not afraid to talk to him about my goals. He encouraged my talking to him and knew that I was destined for a better and more fulfilling career. He saw my potential and took an interest. After I moved on, he contacted me about a position in his department. I turned it down and have always wondered where I would be had I accepted it. We worked together at Digital Equipment Corporation, the best company I ever worked for. I am still in contact with some of my coworkers, but I regret not having kept in touch with him. I thank him for making me feel respected and empowered. That man is John Doherty.

Faye Detsky-Weil, Sept 1980–May 1986 (Tax Department and Educational Services) - email Webmaster to contact Faye.

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