As mentioned in part 2, the Amiga was PowerPC based, just like Apple Computers and this lead to the purchase of my first Powerbook, the G3 Pismo (Carrie Bradshaw’s Notebook from Sex and the City, anyone?). It’s still such a beautiful computer and really showed that design matters – especially for a product you spend basically all your waking hours in front of. And this was only the millennium – still not everyone was using a computer.
Being used to it, I dismissed all the “exotic system with no software” talk, because I could do everything with the machine (yes, even Excel). I went on to get a PowerMac G4 with a ZOMG-gigantic Cinema Display. After my hardware fuddeling experiences in the 1990s I loved how you could just lift the handle to open the case and easily access all the hardware, changing a hard-drive in minutes.
Valuable investment lessons
Thanks to the ongoing iPod and iMac hype, more and more people bought a Mac around that time – all the designers and creators of course and most notably some sound engineers I knew. Despite all this and me being interested in stocks I somehow managed not to buy Apple shares – the missed opportunity of a lifetime. Nah, I won’t be so dramatic, if I count all the missed market opportunities and subtract the realized ones (yes, I have those, too), I’m doing fine.
And at that time I had to experience my first encounter with parabolic stock moves, plain fraud (e.g. the MetaBox scandal mentioned in part 1) and of course derivatives – which later became the thesis for my Diploma. Back then I wrote most of it on my new Macbook Pro, which nowadays I use to digitize all our family VHS Tapes and it is as reliable as ever.
Tectonic industry shifts
The Apple stock became even more amazing with the introduction of the iPhone. I mean, after all these years of Microsoft being the undisputed OS of the world – all of a sudden the industry got disrupted. Sure, Windows still leads the declining desktop market by far – but never in my life I would have predicted what has happened in the mobile market and that out of all companies Apple would play a significant role, yet be the world’s most valuable company. And that Nokia would go belly up (I still have my beloved 6110 and of course my 6230, which is still a perfect phone to take on a vacation).
Back when I was working at Mannesmann Mobilfunk (which became Vodafone, another stock market story I will save for later) I remember a video presentation for the UMTS standard (licenses were sold in Germany for a staggering 50 billion Euro). It showed a small portable device with a video playing on it. Yes I know there were phones that could do that and everything – but when the iPhone came out years later I was immediately reminded of that presentation.
It’s a personal moment. And I am really thankful for all the valuable investment lessons during that period of time.
I still love computers and have lots of fun creating. I also have a renewed interest in programming, which I tried to learn in school – but back then Pascal and C were just too complex for me and lets not talk about Assembler on the Amiga (only for the elite).
Learning to code has become more accessible today and this offers lots of possibilities on all levels. I have signed up at free code camp because I really like their approach of teaching and implementing what you have learned for charity to gain experience.
Being mainly a user I use lots of different software and have broad experience in many fields through my recent digital projects – especially in eCommerce and everything that comes with it. I also love the new possibilities in finance, you can now configure your own Bloomberg with all the realtime news, quotes and charting tools (i know its not a Bloomberg, but you get the point) and trade around the world with minimum fees.
My main computer is the 27″ iMac and my portable is the 11″ Macbook Air. My iPhone 4S is over 5 years old now and still has more power than my Commodore C64 🙂 I run Ubuntu and Windows for work via VirtualBox and Bootcamp. My Dreambox Satellite Receiver runs on Linux. As of 2016 I watch more Youtube than regular TV. The list goes on and on – and I love it!
For the future, I firmly believe that the computer (a smartphone being a miniature computer) is an important device that anybody should be capable of using to a certain extend. This means that the software needs to be user-friendly. My mom does not want to be able to customize her phone in every available aspect, nor does she want to study something that is not relevant to her (e.g. just look it up). She wants to get her things done (and that’s mostly shopping) and has every right to do this in a secure and easy manner. This is one of the greatest challenges for future engineers.
So, now that my history in computing is out there, I guess I won’t need to put it in my resume anymore. My next roundup will be in 30 years. I’m excited!